As I was praying about what God wanted me to accomplish and tackle in 2017 I was expecting Him to give me a long list of things He wanted me to do. I was ready…if there was a butt, I was ready to kick it. Unfortunately, that is not the plan God has for me this year. There was no list, He gave me one word. Just one. The word “enjoy.” I was certain that I heard Him wrong so I would go back again and again asking for Him to stop playing around and give me a list. “Enjoy” is all I heard. I have never had just one thing given to me because that is not how I roll. I don’t sit still very well.
So I sat on that word for a couple of weeks, wrestling with what that meant and how I was supposed to apply that to my life in 2017. I am not going to lie, when I heard that word I immediately thought, “this year it’s gonna rain nuggets of gold, miracles are going to manifest everywhere I go and a glory cloud is going to lead me every day, it’s going to be glorious and I will DEFINITELY enjoy that!” But that wasn’t the takeaway God wanted me to have because honestly that is not at all how life works. If it could have gone that way for anyone, it would be Jesus and we all know how things went down with Him, but a girl can dream right?
The way God gently burst my bubble was through a friend of mine. She didn’t do it directly, God did it through something she created for me. She is an amazing artist and painted on the cover of a few notebooks I gave as gifts to some ladies in my world. However, she told me that she got paint on the pages of one of them and she wasn’t going to give that one to me. Then I felt God say, “I want you to take that notebook, that one will be yours.” I asked Him why He wanted me to have this particular notebook and He said, "because life is 'beautifully sloppy”'.
I have gotten into this strange habit of beginning each new year with the unrealistic expectation that I won’t face any trials or struggles. My mindset was there would be nothing that gets in my way and I wouldn’t experience any forms of pain because after all, it’s a new year. This is horrible theology and it’s not even Biblical. The Bible actually tells us in John 16:33 that we will have trouble in this lifetime. So there’s that…thanks Jesus (high five)!
As I held this notebook in my hands and admired the beauty painted on the cover I opened to it’s pages. God explained to me that I always want to open a new chapter, a new year or a new season with the hope that I will never see anything on the pages, except the things that I write... but that’s not how life works. Life spills over onto our clean pages and new chapters and many times there ins’t anything we could have done to stop it from happening. Reality set it, yes this year will be beautiful but I will also face trials, mountains and pain just like all of the other years I have lived on this planet. But I looked at the paint that seeped onto the clean pages and God said, “when you allow me to be present, even when life spills over onto the pages, I can make it beautiful.”
When we look forward to the things we want to accomplish, dreams we want to chase, lives we want to live and those things don't go according to OUR plan, we can never forget that God is still in control. We can trust that He has a plan and that plan is good (even when it doesn't look good or feel good). We can stand on the truth that it's His name that is above every other name, any diagnosis, any lie, any pain, He stands above it all.
This year, I have a list of things I would like to personally work on and accomplish but I can’t have an unrealistic expectation that I am going to get through this year pain free, trial free or disappointment free. Life is beautifully sloppy. Some of you reading this may have slipped into this poor theological way of thinking. Maybe you will face a mountain this year you were not expecting, experience pain you didn’t deserve, lose things or people you loved, but when we allow God to be our guide, our refuge, our beacon of hope, our provider He can turn the most hopeless, lifeless, painful, unexpected situations into something beautiful. I am not saying the pain we feel in those moments isn’t real, they are because we are human and God gives us grace but He still has all of the power to take whats broken and put it back together, restore that which was lost and bring back to life that which was dead.
So if you are a goal setter take these words into consideration. 2017 will be beautiful but it will also, at times, be sloppy. God is for you, He loves you and He has a plan for your life. Let nothing steal that truth from you. When you look back on 2017 my prayer is that you won't focus on the mountains you had to climb or the pain you had to endure, but be able to focus on how God met you in those moments, how He carried you through and how He did what only He could do. I pray that you can look back and say it was sloppy but it was so beautiful.
Every January, as I step into a new year I take the month off from social media and posting new blogs to pray and seek the Lords direction for the year. However, I will have two different blogs and a video on prayer you can check out beginning Jan. 3rd. To follow along sign up for my newsletter here!