Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Each year I choose one word to be my focus for the year. Typically by the last quarter of the year I already know what my Word of the Year needs to be. For example, 2016 was a brutal year that included the death of my beloved grandfather and a fierce case of shingles. Then in the fourth quarter the year wrapped up with a badly broken right wrist that cost all of independent mobility. By then I knew that my word for 2017 would be FEARLESS.
I was afraid of never getting a professional life back. I was afraid of being a burden to my family and never getting my independence back. More than anything I was afraid for my health and safety, always waiting for the other shoe to drop. What would happen next? And for crying out loud how many shoes do I have to drop?! So I focused on FEARLESS.
January 2017 rolled around and I dove fearlessly, even manically, into working to regain significance, independence and an end to inhabiting an identity of brokenness.
My business activities took off spectacularly, I traveled independently with fierce bravery, and my body was stronger than it had been in the three years since the accident. I practically strained my arms patting myself on the back for the success of my fearlessness. At first.
You could say, the shoes started dropping. I not only strained my arms, I broke them. And unfortunately I mean that metaphorically as well as physically. Over the course of the past year I experienced truly glorious failures professionally, personally, and of course physically. OUCH.
But that wasn’t all. I also experienced support, encouragement, kindness, compassion, comfort, joy and valuable course-correcting lessons. Over and over I received what I needed most precisely because I failed to get everything I wanted.
Bold, audacious, fearless faith doesn’t mean that we get what we want. It means we get what we need. When we are afraid, it’s rarely about genuine needs. More often than not we fear that we won’t get what we want..or that we will get what we deserve. But God doesn’t operate by these rules. Like a good parent God gives us what we need, whether or not we want it, and doesn’t give us what we deserve…because what we need most is grace.
As 2017 comes to a close, what God has shown me isn’t new. Jesus taught it over 2,000 years ago.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
By grace we can receive peace, no matter what the world throws our way. I’ve learned not to focus on being fearless; just focus on being faithful. As I roll into 2018 I embrace a new Word of the Year – actually I’m cheating; it’s two words – LET GO. I’ll start with letting go of fear.
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