This is my last blog of 2020.
There is a myriad of thoughts, stories, and memories going through my mind as I reflect on this past year. I could talk about the impact of Covid, racial tension, political election, or even how closing and reopening the church rocked all of us. Or, I could take the direction of emotional weariness brought on by fear and uncertainty in facing unprecedented events and circumstances. Another path could be the questions with no answers, how we all learned overnight how to work remotely, and the need for a connection online being the future of the church. A lot happened in 2020.
Instead, I am going to focus on one simple thought.
“Take me to a place I have never been to before.”
I actually use this phrase quite a lot. If I am approaching my life as a growth journey, then every yesterday is the new foundation for taking new ground. The victories, challenges, conversations, thoughts, and decisions – no matter how painful or wonderful – are the building blocks for where I could possibly go today. I can look at them as liabilities or assets. Let me break down some of the critical components of this phrase.
- “Take” To take something is to apprehend or lay hold of something. It is an active motion of moving toward something and trying to attain it. There were so many lessons and tools that I grew in this past year. I want to take even more ground in 2021. With so many new challenges and situations, I grew exponentially in my relationship with God, family, and church. I can’t sit back and let 2021 come to me. I need to be in the posture and mindset that I grow forward based on all that attained in 2020.
- “Me” All of me! Not just physically or mentally – every aspect of me. I have found if I surrender all of me to the Lord and His leading every day, I can engage all of me. I lost 25 pounds in 2020, and I feel amazing. I have more energy, clarity, and tenacity in my workouts and daily activities. I read through the Bible in one year. There were days of reaffirming my love of His word and still days where I wondered, “Where did that verse come from?” I wrestled with challenges that took me to my core beliefs and relationships. I came away scarred but not defeated. I found new passions and things that energize me. I move into 2021 with great confidence in the gifts and talents that God has given me…as long as I stay surrendered.
- “To a Place” Let me clearly say that “place” does not mean a destination or a resting spot—just the contrary. I want to explore new realms of experiences, relationships, and ministry. I don’t want to be in the same place with the ones I love or the paths ahead of me at the end of next year. I want to try new things, see it the usual from a different lens, and enjoy life at all levels. I want to use my “yes” to be open to something that will create new memories and “no” to the moments that can be stopped with love, respect, and good boundaries.
- “I have Never,” I love that God has gifted me with curiosity and a “pioneer” spirit. I am not quick to run towards the newest, latest gadget, or moment. Yet, I am learning to invite the Holy Spirit to lead my day. I am seeing that He will give me new insights and desires for my family and my church. I must be strong and courageous to move forward when He prompts me to take a step. One of the big lessons I learned in 2021 is to “Be comfortable in the uncomfortable.” In embracing His nudge, that is where fear and faith will have their most significant battle. I have already decided that faith will beat fear. Now, I must act on it.
- “Been Before” Translated into a different phrase – “Occupy the past.” This speaks to ownership and possession. I don’t want to live in the past and own it as my security blanket. I want to live in freedom, security, and confidence that I am tuned in with God because I seek Him daily. In those times, I prepare for my day. I leave my house to encounter a world that is uncertain, scary, and unknown. I bring everything that God has put into me to be His vessel of love, wisdom, and peace. Sometimes, I will need to forgive, put behind me, and believe the best moving forward. I can only control myself. I will choose to positively impact my relationships and events with the very best I can offer. If I do that well, new doors will open up, connections will be formed, and experiences will far exceed my expectations.
I share this phrase with a number of our GFC teams as we talked about 2021. I want us to take new ground in reaching people with God’s love. I shared it with loved ones because I want them to live abundantly in all they encounter in the new year. I keep it before me to challenge me to charge forward.
I share it with you…If you do it this upcoming year, what a difference this world will see in you!
Go get ’em! Happy New year!