Well, happy new year, folks.
2018 is well and truly behind us and we’ve settled into 2019. A new year, new opportunities and new seasons. I’ve been reflecting on 2018 and must say, it was a hard year. I remember sitting in a hotel in New Zealand towards the end of the year talking to a friend of mine in the US and she was praying for me. It was a sweet prayer, but one line stuck with me:
“Lord, would you help her because she is battle weary.”
As she prayed those words, I felt the weight and the truth of them hit me hard. Like many others that I’ve spoken with, last year was a hard year but for me it wasn’t just hard, it was one of the hardest years I’ve had in a loooong time. I felt pressed in on every side: personally, professionally, physically and emotionally. Life was just hard and I was glad to see the back of it, keen to embrace a new year with new possibilities.
But if I’m anything, it’s a realist. I know that the ticking over of the clock doesn’t change anything except the time and date on the calendar. I long ago stopped doing the new year resolutions as the whole ‘new year, new me’ and instead started picking a word that would be my mantra word for the year. I have done this for the last few years and as I thought about the year that was and the year that’s coming, I landed on the word HOPE.
I needed to have an attitude of hope in my heart.
I needed to have an attitude of hope in my mind.
After a year that was hard and draining and at times almost soul destroying, I needed to hold onto hope. I needed to shift my mindset and walk with hope in my heart believing that everything will be fine, regardless of the environment. Because that’s the thing, when our environment gets out of control, which at some point it will, we need to hold onto the hope that we have in Jesus and know that it will be okay. When things start going haywire and the plans that we set and worked towards go flying out the window, we need to hold onto the hope that is promised to us in Jesus; that He has the victory already and through Him, no matter, we will make it. It may look different to what we want or expect or think it should look like, and that’s okay because hope in Jesus isn’t about perfection but about peace and hope.
When we set our minds and hearts on Jesus, when we walk out our daily lives with hope in the One that created us, we can maintain our hope during the trials. During the storms and the valleys and the times when we feel like we are crawling through the desert we can still be at peace within because we’ve put our hope in One that is greater than us and able to do far more than we can ever hope or imagine. He is the One that can do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, after all (Eph 3:20-21).
Don’t get me wrong, having hope in Jesus doesn’t mean that life will be perfect or amazing. No. Hope in Jesus means that we can still be at peace when the world around us is falling apart.
It means being able to confidently stand and say, this too shall pass.
It means being able to know that we don’t have to do it alone, because He walks with us and we have the Holy Spirit to guide us.
And so, I am settled on hope this year. 2019 will be a year of hope and trust and belief that God has me in the palm of His hand and will never, ever let me go. It will be a year of internal peace, because while I can’t control the world around me (as much as I try to) I can control how I react and respond to things that happen to me. It will be a year where I regularly remind myself of the goodness of God and remind myself that I will yet see more of His goodness while here on earth. And thanks to some amazing friends, (thanks, Armstrong’s), I have a visual reminder of hope that will hang around my neck daily for the days when my heart and mind are struggling.
So, if you have a word for the year, I would love to hear it! And if not, I’d love to hear what you do to keep yourself encouraged and hopeful.