It wasn't all bad. It was actually really big, and really great. But I would have forgotten that if I didn't take time to look back.
It's a snowy Monday morning in my town -- perfect for a cozy little coffee date chat. Join me?
This year didn't start well for me. I didn't think I wanted to share about this here, but I think it's actually a good thing for me to do.
May I live 2017 God's way. May I seek Him clearly, intentionally, whole-heartedly. May everything else fall into its rightful place with Him as my priority.
I've never been good at consistency, at creating habits that stick, at routine. I'm not great at establishing patterns in my life, even ones I know are so worthwhile and fruitful. So, this is my word of the year...
My love letter to a year that was wild and wonderful, unpredictable and unexpected, full and fun, challenging and humbling and full of more growth than I knew possible.
On June 10, I wrote a blog post about a theme I had seen occurring consistently in my life, about a thread that was weaving through every dream, every conversation, every prayer, every book I was reading.
On July 23, after praying and planning and ironing out all the details, the first story went live, and the response to it was overwhelming and exhilarating. I saw how incredible it was to put the words of someone else in the spotlight, to give their voice and their heart a space that was safe to share, to use my own words to encourage and affirm and love on them. I knew from that first story that this was going to change my heart and my life.
Since then, 14 stories have spilled out in this space. 14 people have stepped out in bold bravery to open up their hearts and welcome you in to their lives through their words. 14 people have left lasting impacts on my own heart as I've grown to see their truest, most real selves and fallen in love with their courage and vulnerability and strength.
It's been beautiful. It's been intense. It's been heart-wrenching. It's been a celebration.
I can't wait to continue swapping and sharing stories. I have a handful of stories in the works with some wonderful people, but for the next few weeks, I'll be taking a break from posting them. With next Wednesday being Christmas Eve and the week after being New Year's Eve, it makes sense to step back from this and really be present with my family and the events of the next few weeks.
Don't worry-- Story Seeker isn't going anywhere. And if you're reading this and you want to learn more about what this looks like and how you can be a part of it, I would absolutely love to hear from you. If you've been hesitating and are unsure, just drop me an email and let's chat. You have a story whether you believe that or see that or not, and I would love to just open up my heart to you and get a glimpse into yours. It won't be scary, I promise. Even if we never publish it, just speaking life into your story with your words is freeing and healing and empowering and I would love to be part of that with you.
Just fill this out and let's start the conversation! I'll be back here with a whole new bunch of stories in 2015. See you then.
New Years is my least favorite holiday. New Years resolutions are some of my least favorite things. Every year, I dislike this day and usually avoid all social media and all the "new year, new me" posts that flood it.
I think it's easy for us to make a list of New Years resolutions (lose 20 pounds! Eat healthier! Go to the gym everyday! Stop drinking soda! Find a boyfriend!) because it's December 31st and we see January 1 as a new beginning. I also think it's easy for those lists to get lost and forgotten by January 6, or February 12, or October 22. We resolve to make change, life gets busy, we forget, and it doesn't stick. The gym gets really crowded for a few weeks, and then it goes back to normal. Whole Foods and Trader Joes have longer lines, maybe McDonalds has a shorter drive thru line, but everything evens out as the year goes on. I don't think New Years resolutions as a list and a lot of self-made promises really work. Maybe for some they do, but it's a lot of hype that I don't buy into.
Why? Because I don't think we need a new calendar year to make change. Because I believe in a God whose mercies are new every single morning and who offers me new grace and new love every single day. Every day is a chance for a restart, for repentance, for renewal.
Check these verses out:
Lamentations 3:22-23 "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
Revelation 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
Colossians 3:9-10 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
We don't need a ball to drop and confetti to fly as we count down to a new year for there to be a chance for change and new life and new hope for us. What we need is Jesus.
My pastor tweeted it perfectly this week: "@peterbowell1: The Bible's formula for perseverance is not another New Years resolution but fixing our eyes on Jesus. The relationship keeps us running."
For 2014, I'm not making a list of resolutions. I'm choosing to focus my eyes and my heart and my life on Jesus.
As part of the #oneword365 community, I'm choosing to "DEVOTE" this year. That's my one word, my focus, my goal. Last year, my word was "commit." The year before, "beloved."
This year, devote. Devote my time intentionally. Devote my energy wholeheartedly. Devote my mornings to being in the Word more diligently. Devote my weekends to time with friends, time exploring and growing and going on adventures. Devote my life to following the Spirit's leading. Devote my talents to glorifying the Lord. Devote.
Happy 2014, friends. May your year ahead be gloriously filled with new mercies every morning, new hope in our Savior, and new adventures as you follow the Spirit.