Although my “word of the year” didn’t come to me until about April, it was clear that the Lord was leading me to embrace the word BOLD for the rest of 2018. That challenge for this year was immensely thrilling, albeit challenging for me.
2018 was a huge year both professionally & personally. I:
- Finished all my classes at UNCW (a year earlier than planned)
- Moved to Colorado (best state ever)
- Graduated with my Bachelor’s degree after a 3 month internship (REC kid forever)
- Got full-time employment with the US Air Force civilian service (great gig)
- Learned to be alone, but not lonely (this was important)
- Read the entire Bible (or will have come December 31st)
- Spent every day in relationship with God and not a man (He knew I needed this)
God stretched my faith this year more than I could’ve even imagined. I started 2018 on a trip in Phoenix, Arizona and I can distinctly remember my emotions at that time. I had not a sliver of a clue about where I would be or what I would be doing by the end of the year, but man am I glad that God left some things unknown. My grandparents prayed blessings over my future at the Prayer Pavilion of Light in an ethereal moment and throughout 2018 I watched that prayer come to fruition on a daily basis. I was bold in the decisions I made, all of which led me exactly where I needed to be, no matter how intimidating they might have been in the beginning. Whenever I could, I’d be bold in my interactions with others and I found that it would always lead to greater glory to God.
While I’ll continue to be as intentionally bold as possible throughout my entire life, I already feel the Lord pressing a new word into my heart for 2019. HOPE. It’s been nonchalantly mentioned to me by friends & family over the last couple of months, each time a gentle nudge from God telling me to hold onto it with everything I have.
This year I hoped more than I knew I was capable of with a faith I developed more each day. I had high hopes for where my internship would take me and where I might live, and that hope took me straight where I wanted to be. I hoped for healing that I would receive over many long, slow months. I hoped for things that almost happened, but ended up leaving me disappointed. I hoped for things that never happened at all.
In those not-so-happy times, I would become overwhelmed with feelings of naivety and stupidity for having “gotten my hopes up too high” about things that didn’t end up going as hoped for. There are few things I hate more than feeling that way, especially in front of people whose influence on my life mean a lot to me. But once I convince myself to move past my concern with how other people perceive me or my circumstances, I can refocus on how God sees me and my circumstances. I can begin to hear His voice again, reminding me that it’s okay to have hope. Even when it seems overly-optimistic to other people, God says “I can work with that.”
Through all of that, what I’ve learned above all is that hope in the Lord is far greater than human hope of one’s own accord. They really don’t even compare to one another. Hope in the Lord is hope that prevails even when we don’t get what we want, because we trust that God is sovereign over our lives with His own plan and His perfect timing. This year I’ve grown to be proud of myself for having hope when it seems like maybe I shouldn’t. So going into 2019, I’m going to continue to hope in the things unseen. To hope in the things I have yet to receive. And to hope in all that is to come in this new year, because I know that BOLD HOPE in the Lord will never disappoint (even when humans & circumstances do). Hold on to your hope this year.