3 lessons from 2016 that I won’t take into 2017 [+tips for your faith journey]
The end of January is almost here and even though time has flown by in these first few weeks of the new year, God has already been moving mightily in my life. I'm so excited for all that I'm anticipating this year, but the other day I found myself knee deep into my plans for this year that I really hadn't taken time to reflect on the growth and stretching of 2016. I must admit that reflection is one area that I usually blaze through, but I'm learning to be intentional about embracing each step of my journey and celebrating the good and the not so good. I'm truly grateful for all the lessons along the way but today I'd like to share my top three lessons of 2016 that I won't carry into this new year. Through these lessons, I know that God will take me to the next level of faith and it's my hope that these same lessons can help you grow in your spiritual walk as well.
1 | GET OFF THE EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER & STOP THE PITY PARTIES
Friends, I have ridden the emotional rollercoaster too many times. Have you ever felt like your faith was a yo-you? Up and down -- just allowing the enemy to cause havoc and chaos in your life? Well, I've spent too many years allowing the enemy to get the best of me and 2016 he really worked a number on me. I found myself becoming overwhelmed, questioning who I was and and if I was enough, and then came the tantrums and pity parties -- why me God? [You're probably smiling because you've been there too...right?]
Now that I look back, the enemy was working hard to distract me because God was positioning and molding me for so much to come. The enemy knows when God is up to something and he's always lurking to kill, steal, and destroy. I know that we deal with various emotions and feelings and many times we focus on the negative ones, but I realized that we don't have to allow them to cause us to go through these "crash and burn" states of mind. The mind is the play ground of the enemy and if we allow ourselves to fall for his deception, he will get us every time.
TIP - get your mind on jesus, CUT THE EXCUSES, AND DO THE WORK
I was determined that I was no longer going to allow the enemy to get the best of me and that I was going to take back control and truly live free as God called me too. I recognized that many of my mental meltdowns stemmed from lack of trust, control, and looking for fulfillment and worth in other people or things. Been there? It's during these times that we must stay alert and have our minds on the one of our faith -- Jesus. We must take every thought captive to the word of God and allow Him to work on our behalf. This means ensuring that we're spending daily time in the word, praying and casting our cares/worries over to Him, and acknowledging that life isn't going to always go as we plan. We must replace the pity parties with praise! We must replace the excuses with truth! When we acknowledge God as the source and put Him in His rightful position, then we can stand in God's power and not from a place of defeat. It all goes back to operating in grace -- acknowledging our shortcomings and getting up doing the work with God's help. It's time to call the enemy's bluff and it's time to truly live abundant and free.
2 | ROME WASN'T BUILT OVERNIGHT...AND YOU WEREN'T EITHER!
2016 was definitely a year that God did some speaking into my spirit and downloading so many ideas and plans in my heart. I'm talking to the point where your girl was on fire and ready. And I most admit that I hit the ground running full speed ahead and then bam......depleted, overwhelmed, and stuck. I started to second guess if the vision and direction that God gave me was for me. I was wondering could I do it all and then sneaky comparison crept in and I started wondering why everyone else seemed to be walking out their dreams problem free. I was trying to figure out how I could balance being a wife, mom, homemaker, entrepreneur, church volunteer, and so many others things without wanting to throw in the towel everyday.
I put this pressure on myself trying to do it all, know it all, learn it all, and so on. But I'm so thankful that the Holy Spirit quieted my soul and reminded me to be still. It's in this stillness that I was reminded of the driving belief of my ministry that we are on a "faith journey". A journey of trusting God without borders, illuminating His truth daily, and believing that He could do the impossible in and through us. God never intended for me or for you to try to figure everything out overnight.
Tip - GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO EVOLVE
So why do we think growth is suppose to happen instantaneously? Well I guess since we live in a world with "I need it yesterday", everything is fast and quick, we can't help but to assume that our lives are suppose to follow the same pattern. Friend, God is taking us on a journey of editing our lives so that we can be a reflection of Him and to chase the purpose that He has for us. It's about giving ourselves permission to sit in His presence as He shapes our hearts and minds. It's also about learning to discern when to be still or when to move in faith, but that comes from having an intimate relationship with God. A relationship that takes time and devotion. We are evolving daily to be women anchored in our faith and utilizing our power of influence in our homes, careers/businesses, and communities. So let's not rush the process and but anticipate the goodness and glory that God is doing in and through us.
3 | DON'T ASK FOR MORE IF YOU HAVEN'T MOVED ON WHAT YOU HAVE!
For quite some time, I've been fervently praying and seeking God's face about direction for my business and how He wanted to use my platform for ministry. I must say that He started speaking to my heart about specific areas of focus such as content creation, products/services development, collaborations, etc. I started writing them all down and just excited for the amazing leadings from the Holy Spirit. But then I would become distracted by what others were doing (launching groups, conferences, webinars, etc.) and felt a "perceived need" to be relevant and chase an assignment that wasn't mine. However, it didn't feel right and I was getting frustrated that I wasn't growing and simply feeling all over the place.
Tip - MOVE ON WHAT GOD HAS ALREADY GIVEN YOU
What I realized was that God had me to experience those moments of stagnation and frustration to be reminded that I can't continue to pray for more when I haven't moved on what He has already given. His Holy revelation also spoke that His calling and timing is perfect and that I can't focus on those variables of someone else's journey. Friend, we have to move in faith day by day trusting that He will provide more instructions when the time is ready.
He has specifically given each one of us a unique calling over our lives and we have to focus on that. God knows our hearts and desires, but we can't be so quick to get ahead of ourselves that we miss the lessons and growth right in front of us. God already knows the end results, but He is looking to see if we will take that leap of faith and move on what He's given us or called us to do -- right now! Luke 16:10 shares that the one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much!