It’s the beginning of a brand new year. 2017.
Clean Slate. Clean Calendar.
New goals, dreams, planners, and power sheets.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve already found yourself reevaluating not just 2016, but your entire life, and deciding that THIS is the year that will be different. Perhaps this is the year you really follow through on your resolutions/goals/dreams. Perhaps this is the year you will try this or that, chase this or that, quit this or that. Perhaps this is the year you finally take hold of this one wild and precious life for all it’s worth.
Or perhaps it’s not. Perhaps it’s just 2017 and you’ll spend it living.
Every New Year’s I’ve often found myself wondering if this is the year that I take hold of life. In fact, I’ve sort of had anxiety over it for just about the last decade. I’ve let myself drown in worries and fears that I’m not living “the right way” or chasing my dreams enough or doing enough, etc, etc, etc. The list could go on. Every New Years seems to be the time to finally make it all right. To really chase life and begin living as I should.
But what is this right way of living that we so desperately tend to seek, made even more desperate and dangerous by this time of the year and that infamous word should.
I think our world tells us that to live is to be constantly busy; it’s more about ourselves than others; it’s doing grand things and making all these grand resolutions and plans, but in fact over and over in scripture, we can see that
To live is to be still before the Lord and wait patiently. [Psalm 37:7]
To live is to actually give up our life to Him. [Matthew 10:39]
To live is by His word and being poor in spirit. [Matthew 5:3]
To live is to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. [Micah 6:8]
To live probably doesn’t look like your neighbors (or that woman you follow on Instagram.)
It isn’t a list of resolutions or failed dreams. It isn’t a precise plan.
The right way of living is backwards and upside down from the world we reside in.
It’s a sweet Holiness that we find only when we reside in Him.
For the last ten years since I’ve been on the internet via blogging and social media, I’ve chased the wrong kind of living–thinking that more readers, the right kind of blog (I’ve been through at least eight), more followers, and trying to fit myself into someone else’s design would magically not only make me happy, but make all my dreams come true.
But, I’ve been through so many blogs that my anxiety over writing just the right stuff has caused a million redesigns and probably enough writing to equal the book I should have written by now all the while trying to live as someone I’m not.
Earlier last year though, I felt it on my heart to write again, but struggled with it because I have so many different things I want to write about. One of my dreams is to be not just a writer, but a paid author. I want to finish the book I started three years ago so I can jump into the other book ideas I have, and I really want to get back into blogging like I did in the days when I had begun. The last few weeks of 2016 I binge-listened to the Hope Writer’s Podcast and so much of it resonated with my heart and soul. My desire to be not just a writer–but a writer who brings hope through everything I write.
So I found myself “rebranding” once again and restarting here: with my name and the original design that God molded me in.I came to the decision that I’d blog about my life, some yoga, food, health and wellness, probably books, my dachshunds, my marriage, a little bit of fiction, and faith, and it might all seem like a big jumbled mess. But I’m okay with that mess because I deeply desire to share my God with you and the Hope He offers–and He is in every aspect of this life I’m living.
Along with this, I connected some work I had done through a leadership course with Holy Yoga. One of our assignments was to pray over and develop a personal mission statement. We asked ourselves What is it God has created me for? and could I put it into words?
I created mine months ago, but have still been struggling with the reason for it. My mission just didn’t make sense. Until recently, when I finally understood that this is what my soul has been searching for all these years of blogging, in resolution making, and in living. Every time I tried to come up with a new goal or a new blog complete with a tagline or a new way of “living”–it was all in search the mission God had for me.
Before last Spring, I had never really thought in terms of having a personal mission statement. Businesses and organizations have them all the time, but in going through the work, the idea of having a “concise statement that expresses my unique contribution to this world” has actually, really helped me start to start living in my design.
Through a lot of prayer and journaling, I came to the statement that
I exist to serve by cultivating nourishment (in heart + mind, body + soul) to the glory of God.
But what does this mean? Lots of things for sure, but mostly that I want to begin to filter my life through this lens. One of my biggest struggles this first third of my life has been with my identity because I’ve been so wrapped up in who I am and discovering my calling or purpose that I’ve forgotten whose I am.
As God has moved and healed me, I’ve begun to settle in the Truth that my identity is in Him … and my purpose in life is to serve Him through my mission, which is not necessarily my vocation or the theme of my blog, but instead this idea of filtering my life through the lens of cultivating nourishment.
So whether it’s in offering words of hope through my writing. Teaching Holy Yoga. Being a wife, a mother, or a friend. How I decorate my house. Sharing book recommendations. Cooking. Changing jobs or not changing jobs. Starting a family. The projects and dreams I have for 2017.
My design–my mission in Christ– is to grow and care for the things needed for health.
In the way that He often works things, my church is going through a 16-month study of Luke called Jesus period. Yesterday we looked at Luke 2:41-52, Jesus’ first recorded words. In the story, we see Jesus had been lost from Mary and Joseph for three days, and unbeknownst to them, safe in the temple, talking and listening and sharing about his Father. When they finally found Him, he replied:
Why are you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?
Some versions say, Didn’t you know I was going about my Father’s business. You see, at age 12, Jewish boys would not only start their spiritual studies, but also start learning their father’s business. And that’s exactly what Jesus was doing. He knew his identity in God and so was starting His mission.
The same is true of us, friends. When we settle into the fact that our identity is rooted in Christ, we don’t have to worry about grand resolutions, filling our calendars, or living the new year differently and “right.” We can live–and really live–in the mission He has given each and every one of us.
So this is how I will approach 2017. And 2018.
And 2019. And all of the years to come. No more individual resolutions. No more goals of giving up social media or being more of myself. Less fumbling around with what I’m going to do with my one wild and precious life (though I do still have a beautiful print of that quote and it does resonate with my soul.)
I just want to live like Jesus, confident in my mission and doing my Father’s work in every aspect of this year and beyond.