Choosing a “word of the year” was never something I did until I went all in for Jesus. In 2018, I hardly chose it anyway—it was a repeated whisper of the word “bold” that ended up echoing so loudly, I decided to invest in it. Since it was encouraging the first time, I prayed for another word to come to mind for 2019. That word was “hope,” and though I didn’t think much of it at the time (due to how commonplace it felt), the Lord used it as my heart’s preparation for the unexpected.
Something I’ve prayed over my life countless times is for God to surprise me. For Him to do wild and unexpected things in order to refine my character and allow me to know more of His own. 2019 was FULL of surprises for me—an answered prayer in unexpected ways in and of themselves. At the beginning of the year, I imagined “hope” would mean my prize for holding onto it would be the relationship I’ve craved my entire life. Perhaps a salaried job, more friends, and certainly more time to enjoy Colorado. So much to be hopeful for, right?!
I will be the first to admit that I most definitely did not want to leave Colorado—and even less did I desire to move back home. The way God led me to make the decision to do so still confounds me every time I think about it, and I‘ve craved that unprecedented feeling of being led by the Spirit more each day since. Even so, the transition of moving back home left me, well… sad. As much as I knew I was being obedient, it wasn’t what I wanted. I had to learn how to set pride aside, do what I was called, and trust that God knew what I needed.
The new season after moving to Virginia began with a misguided hope focused on my selfish desire for a relationship. Within a couple of months, I met an incredible guy with a laundry list of qualities I had prayed to find. Everything from the serendipitous way we met to the community I was becoming surrounded by were affirmations of what the Lord had promised for the relationship I desired, when I learned to trust Him with every aspect. But (there’s always a but), that relationship wasn’t “it.” I may not have wanted to admit it, but I knew it was true.
Sometimes God allows people and situations into our lives so He can use them to awaken us—and, just as I prayed for, to refine our character. That relationship opened my eyes to an entire world beyond the self-centered one I was living in. He probably has no idea how much his perspective on the world changed my own. And that leads me to my word of the year for 2020: perspective.
I had never viewed the world the way I see it today: an arena of spiritual battle, one in which followers of Jesus are called to put on their armor and become mighty warriors. God has transformed my declaration of trust into a dedication of my life for His purposes. There is so much more to this life than what we can see, and it is so much less about our own lives that it hurts to recognize how long I unknowingly lived as though it were.
New boldness. New hope. New perspective. The exhilaration of a new year—a new decade—has me anxious in the best way to see how God will continue to surprise me. I can only imagine and joyfully anticipate how my perspective will shift as a result of experiencing the things to come this year—how I might gain a perspective a little more like Jesus’.