Today we begin a new year. A lot could be said about 2020, a few words to describe it are challenging, hard, difficult, sad, joyful, slow, and full of breakthrough. The word “breakthrough” may not seem like it fits in that list, but it does! And Here’s why; before 2020 even began, I felt the need to ask for encouragement from the Lord. I am glad I did. Prior to December of 2019 I had never asked God for a “word for the new year”. I was soon to find out, this was the year I would need one! I am thankful I had this phrase throughout 2020 because it became a sure foundation during the many times I felt like I was on shaky ground. This phrase and the scripture that went with it brought me through many trying seasons throughout the year.
My theme for 2020 was The year of Impossible Breakthrough. My idea of what this would look like was a lot different than what reality had in store for the year. To start, In December of 2019, I turned 40. It’s a big milestone in life to have reached 40, and it felt hugely significant to me. There are several Biblical examples of great change and breakthroughs coming to pass after a period of forty days or even forty years! So naturally, I felt God was speaking of this type of breakthrough. After Moses led the Israelites through the wilderness for 40 years, they crossed over into the promised land. In many ways, I was expecting this kind of breakthrough moment this year. Although there were some big victories and hard-fought battles won in prayer during 2020. It was not the kind of overwhelming breakthrough I was hoping for.
2020 was challenging and stretched me in numerous ways. Change seemed to be the only constant throughout the year. Even little things upset my apple cart. Like the time Wal-Mart changed their store hours, and I felt like I had been betrayed by a trusted friend. Wal-Mart had always been there, even if it was the middle of the night, but not anymore. Now they closed at 8:00 pm and if I needed something at 9:00 I would have to wait until morning. How could they do this to me? What if I need something after I put the kids in bed? Now what? Now what? became the question of the hour for much of 2020. This year was full of shifting and changes. I was looking forward to a crossing over into a promise, instead, I kept changing course and turning in what felt like endless circles.
An unwillingness to bend and embrace change stunted my growth for much of 2020. Every time things did not go as planned I was ready to throw the whole planner in the trash. Thankfully, I restrained myself. I have no idea what 2021 has in store. But I know this, God is faithful to His promises and He keeps His word. I may interpret His word incorrectly, or get impatient and think that things should happen in my timing. This is a fault in me, not Him. If I’ve learned anything in 2020 it is that I place far too much trust in myself, and not enough in almighty God.
What are you carrying into 2021? I highly recommend spending some time this month asking and seeking God about what your word or phrase and accompanying scripture is for you this year. One year ago I had no idea how much benefit this can provide. Today I can say with certainty, you need to know what the word of the Lord is for YOU, for this year. I wish I had a magic formula or a worksheet to make it easy. I don’t, and that’s because this is a highly personal time between you and God. There are times we just need to be still and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us. This revelation can come through a passage of scripture, a dream, or through a message from your pastor on Sunday morning. After you receive it, ask God to confirm it through another source. What God speaks will always align with His word. He will not contradict Himself.
This is what I’m carrying into 2021:
Trust in God’s faithfulness.
He has been faithful
He will be faithful.
I waver and waffle. I get disappointed and easily give up. My thoughts and emotions deceive me and can not be trusted. I must lean into and trust in God alone! He must be my rock.
Here’s to a new year with fulfilled promises. My promise from God for 2021 is: this is the year of fulfilled promises. I am placing no other requirements on the year, or on God (as if I could make such demands). He makes promises and He fulfills His promises. 2021 is the year of fulfilled promises. Whatever promises He chooses to fulfill. And therein lies the difference. Although, it looks subtle on the surface, when you look deeper this is a huge shift. I am choosing to trust in God and not myself.
As we transition into a new year, I will be spending the month of January focusing on resting and leaning on my beloved. 2020 has left me tired. My natural response is to deny that and fight it. What I’m learning is that He is the only one who can restore and refresh. Admitting I need Him to restore and refresh is foundational to everything else I am called to do and accomplish this year. So, Happy New Year! Go in the confidence you can only have as a child of the Most High!
Here are some of the scriptures I”m leaning on in this New Year for encouragement and refreshing, I pray you are blessed and encouraged by them as well.
Rest: Isaiah 40:26-31, Isaiah 41: 1,10, and 17-18
Run: Hebrews 12:1-3 This year I’m asking God to help me become a “long distance runner” …….Stay tuned, More on this in the next blog.