Welcome to our final feature for our New Years Eve “special”!
I hope you enjoy it!
In December 2017, I decided that I would pick a word and that would guide what I did in 2018. My word for this past year was intentional. This year I wanted to be more intentional in how I sought the Lord and I wanted to be intentional in my relationships with those around me. As I sit and reflect on my year of intentionality, I can see how I’ve grown in my relationship with the Lord and the new depths my relationships have reached. I have strengthened friendships and built new ones where joys, successes and failures can be openly shared. I have found that through seeking to be more intentional, I have become more vulnerable and transparent in my relationships. In the upcoming year, I hope to continue to deepen my relationship with the Lord first and foremost but also continue to grow in my relationships with friends and family.
Over the last few weeks, I have been reflecting and praying about what word the Lord would have me pick for 2019. The word authentic has repeatedly been laid on my heart. As this word kept coming up, I initially struggled with accepting it. I felt as though accepting this word would mean that I was saying that thus far I did not believe I was living authentically. I then began to research what people described as authentic living and what that meant as a Christian. The more I researched, the more I felt that God was asking me to seek Him in what living authentically looked like. Around this time, I also started reading the ministry of ordinary places by Shannan Martin and in the introduction, she states “As Christ-followers, we are called to be long-haul neighbours committed to authenticity and willing to take some risks.” After reading this I began to ask the question “God, how would you have me live authentically?”
This is what living authentically in 2019 means for me:
- As I approach a year filled with excitement and uncertainty, living authentically will mean walking boldly in the promises that God has for me. A promise that I’m currently holding on to tightly is that in this next season, God will take care of all my needs (Philippians 4:19).
- Authenticity will look like continued vulnerability and transparency. I am often guilty of not wanting to lean on others in times of difficulty, but this year I have learned how much beauty and healing can come out of this. Life can be messy, but it is important to be real no matter how difficult it may be. This is an area, I feel called to continue working on. During my initial reflection, I decided that I was done learning to be vulnerable and that I had grown enough in that regard this past year. However, the Lord decided that I was not done growing and reminded me that as I grow in different areas, various levels of depth will be reached, essentially meaning I’m never done growing. As I was mulling this over, I was reminded of two specific conversations this year. One was one that I had with my cousins, in which they shared struggles that they had at one point vowed would never be shared with another soul. As I reflected on that, I was reminded of the how much healing happened in that conversation and how much better we were able to love each other once those things had been shared. The other conversation I was reminded of was one I had at camp this summer. I was talking about areas of growth and I mentioned the fact that in the past I had learned how to share just enough information people felt as though I was being open and transparent with them. My intent in that was never to avoid genuine relationships but rather to avoid feeling like I was a burden to others. God reminded me that in not being vulnerable with others I was missing out on growth and healing and also missing out on valuable relationships. If I’m being honest, there are still times where I feel like by sharing my struggles, I am a burden to those around me. I am thankful for the friends and family that God has but in my life that continue to remind me that this is not the case.
As I seek to continue to be more vulnerable with others, I am reminded of two verses. 2 Corinthians 12: 9 says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. This verse reminds me that as I share, it brings others back to Jesus because I am only able to overcome through him. Without the Lord I am evidently weak, so I will share my weaknesses and struggles and through that the name of the Lord will be glorified. Acts 2:44-47 reminds me that Christian walk is to be done in community. So, for me this year that means that as those in my community choose to share and be vulnerable with me, I will do the same. I will continue to be intentional with my relationships, taking the time to continue to love and pray for those around me.
- Authenticity means serving more. As a Christ-follower, it is my goal to look more and more like Jesus every day. Jesus came to serve (Matthew 20:28) and as a follower seeking to follow his example I must serve more. In the last few years, I have often used busyness from school and rugby as an excuse but as of late I have been feeling convicted about the importance of serving as a way of showing Christ’s love. God has laid some opportunities on my heart and I look forward to pursuing them in the upcoming year.
- Lastly, it means I will love my neighbour. I find that this last point is a culmination of everything I am committing to thus far. I recently finished reading the book the ministry of ordinary places by Shannan Martin. I highly recommend this book, if you’re looking for a new read! This book really breaks down what it means to love your neighbour. In this book Shannan talks about who our neighbours are, how we can love them and the effects of that. This book challenged me in many regards. One of the first things it challenged me to do was to slow down and bloom where the Lord has planted me. It was a reminder that I am where I am currently for a reason, so instead of wishing my current season away I am going into this next semester asking the Lord to open my eyes to those around me that need to be loved. This past semester as each day went by, I was well aware of the fact that this meant graduation was getting closer and closer. Unfortunately, this became my focus a lot of the time, so instead of being intentional about showing love to those around me, I focused on the fact that I was closer to moving back home. I made the mistake of solely considering my neighbours the people that live in Calgary and neglected the many opportunities God gave me to love on others even when these opportunities were staring me right in the face.
Another thing Shannan touched on was how vulnerability has allowed her to build such strong relationships with those around her. She shares how she loves on her neighbours through action, instead of solely sharing the word. In the words of Shannan, I must fall in love with listening without the intention of wanting to be right. As I listen to my brothers and sisters around me, I will be able to learn how to love and care for them better. In this next year, I hope to reach out to those outside my circle and walk alongside them through whatever the may be going through. My prayer has been that God will reveal those he wants me to reach out to and that I will be able to walk hand in hand with them across the deepest of valleys and that I’ll also be there to celebrate with them at the top of the highest mountains.
In this next year, I hope that we all strive to know Christ, to love Christ, to serve Christ and to honour Christ.
2018 has been quite the year. As I reflect, I have taken some time to read over some of my journal entries from this past year. This has reminded me of moments of difficulty and moments of triumph but above all it has allowed me to see how in both success and challenges, the Lord was there with me and for that I am so thankful.
Once again THANK YOU to all the people who wrote something to share on Navigating Adventure, Faith, and Failure! It means so much to me.
I hope everyone enjoyed this New Years Eve “special”. Tomorrow I will be posting my own intentions for 2019 so come back and give it a read!
Have a great New Years Eve!