I’m not a person who typically comes up with ideas quickly. In any matter of significance, I tend to sit back and mull things over. There are too many decisions in life that shouldn’t be rushed. For example, choosing words to build my year around.
Although I still set annual and monthly goals, I decided in 2017 that I wanted to choose words to help guide the year of 2018. So, I started thinking.
And I thought…
And I thought…
And I thought…
Until finally, two distinct words clearly stood out as the guiding ideas for 2018: courage and connection.
I am not necessarily a brave person. Leaps of faith are not my specialty, and any sort of move outside of my comfort zone takes much mustering of strength and quiet under-my-breath self coaching. The Lord knows that I can allow myself to be led by fear instead of by the Spirit.
“Courage, dear heart,” are words I tend to repeat to myself.
So, isn’t it fitting that courage should be one of the guiding ideas of 2018? After all, this year, my world is going to be flipped upside down. I’ll graduate college in May, and I’ll move to wherever God opens a door, beginning the next chapter of my life. Knowing all this is nearing while my remaining time at the institution I love slips away doesn’t make me feel brave, it makes me feel very, very, small.
The words God spoke to Joshua inspire me. Moses had died, and suddenly, it was Joshua’s turn to lead the nation of Israel. If I was him, I would have been absolutely terrified, and even though there’s no way to know for sure, I have a feeling he was, because when God spoke to him, the main emphasis was placed on COURAGE.
“Have I not commanded you?” asked God in Joshua 1:9. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
The same God that walked with Joshua as he became a nation’s leader will be with me as I enter into this scary new year. And, He says the same thing to me: “Be strong and courageous.”
The second idea for 2018 is connection. I am a talkative introvert, and sometimes, community is a hard thing to engage in. It’s so much simpler to keep to myself, complete what must be done, and stay in my own little world.
Yet, God created us as social creatures, and Christians aren’t called to live a communityless life. Jefferson Bethke put it best when he wrote, “Trying to live without community is like trying to live without oxygen. We weren’t created to do it.” Community isn’t always easy, but it’s always necessary and beneficial.
Especially as I move to (most likely) a new place where I don’t know people, I am challenging myself to stay connected. Even now, I want to focus on the relationships I have with people around me, and dive even deeper. Connection means deep conversation, intentionality, and serving one another, and those are all things I seek in 2018.
Connection takes courage in my life, and therefore, the words tie together perfectly. It may have taken me a couple of weeks in the new year to figure out exactly what my life needed, but that’s okay. Courage and connection are what I want to drive 2018, and I’m excited to see what comes in this year.
Do you choose words to form your year? Let me know!