Hello Friends! Yes I realize that it’s almost March, but better late than never to revisit an old rhythm. It’s been a practice of mine for the past few years to share with you “hello/goodbye” posts at the transition from one year into the next. I may be a bit late this year, but I feel that it’s taken me until now to fully wrap my head around what this year is going to look like. I blame it on my word for the year…
This is a practice that I’ve engaged in for the past 5 years or so, and it’s been a powerful one for me. The idea is that God is always speaking to us, and always has a “fresh word” for us. A word for the year becomes a practical and spiritual focus point that drives rhythms, decisions, study and growth. In past years my words have been things like “rest,” “trust,” and (most recently) “transition.” I distinctly remember each year through the lens of my word for that year, and I can pinpoint moments of growth and breakthrough that came from leaning into the word.
Choosing a word, for me, is a fairly simple process based on prayer, reflection, and-most importantly-listening to God. As the new year progresses, I study the word-both practically and Biblically. I write it on post-it notes and stick it on my mirror. I put it on my calendar so that it will inform how I spend my time. I keep it on a slip of paper in my journal so that it will define the direction of my growth. I share it with my closest friends who will pray for me, encourage me, and challenge me as I lean into the word throughout the year.
Sometimes my word for the year will lead to practical and tangible manifestations and life-changes. For example, the year of “trust” was literally a year where I learned to fully trust God. My first challenge came when I felt God inviting me to stop using an alarm clock. Mind you, it was also one of the busiest years of my life thus far. My days were filled with meetings, coaching sessions, and office time that I couldn’t be late for. I rose early in the morning to start my day, and I knew that I wouldn’t naturally wake up without the help of an alarm clock. But God’s invitation was simple- “Do you trust me?” I surrendered to the experiment, and He proved himself to me day after day as I woke up naturally (or supernaturally)-right on time. It may seem silly or simple, but this was a turning point for me. If I could trust God to wake me up at 5am each day full of energy, what could I NOT trust him with?
The year of “rest” was when I first started practicing the rhythm of regular Sabbath. I spent the whole year studying the idea of rest, Sabbath, and abiding in the vine. My identity was radically transformed and solidly secured in who I was in Christ instead of in my works. I began to find my worth and value in my identity as a child OF God, instead of in what I could do FOR God. It was a turning point not just for me, but for our entire family, as our practice of Sabbath and operating from a mindset of rest continues to this day.
Each year seems to build upon the last as well. Had I not journeyed through the seasons of learning to trust and rest, this past year of “transition” would have been much more difficult. God, in His goodness, who has seen the course of my life from start to finish, continues to prepare me and equip me for obedience one year at a time.
For 2020, my word is “simplify.” I tend to over-complicate and overthink things. It’s part of my tendency as an enneagram 1 (perfectionist). So it was no surprise to me when I sensed God whispering to me a few weeks ago “it’s time to simplify.” I’m homeschooling 3 kids, launching a new organization, and (in the spring) starting grad school. I can only imagine what “simplifying” will do for my life. I have a feeling there will be some practical simplifying of my time, calendar, commitments, rhythms, and more. I sense a pruning happening, and a laser focusing of how I spend my time, energy, and finances. I don’t imagine it will always be easy. In fact most years, my word for the year brings just as much challenge as it does invitation and growth. But the process is always worth it, and the journey always takes me into a deeper understanding of whose I am and who I am. I look forward to discovering what it looks like to live and lead in the simple, slow, steady way of Jesus.
My encouragement for you in this season is to discover what focus God may have for you in 2020. What’s your word? What transformation are you being invited into? What point of challenge and growth is waiting just around the corner? I’m honored to be part of your journey, and I want to share with you some of the ways that we can walk together this year.
Each month, I’ll be introducing a new theme here on the blog. I’ll give a brief overview publicly, and then dive into the content in more detail in my weekly newsletter for subscribers only. I would love to have you pull up a seat. You can subscribe here to get the complete content delivered straight to your inbox every Saturday morning.
Also, I’ve launched The Table Leadership Podcast. Each Wednesday I share a conversation that I had with a leader friend of mine. The guests are widely varied, from many different backgrounds and experiences. But they all come for the same purpose-to share their expertise and wisdom so that other leaders may benefit. You can listen now, subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, or watch on YouTube.
Finally, I have exciting news to share. The Table Leadership, LLC is now official! I never dreamed that I’d be a business owner but here we are, ready to engage and invest in leaders around the world. We’ll offer online content, courses, and coaching groups-all designed to democratize leadership and make development affordable and accessible to leaders everywhere. Visit the website to stay up-to-date with all that’s happening, and please share with anyone you know that may benefit from investing in their purpose and calling.
Dear ones, I’m here to serve you. Every message I get from one of you who experienced healing, breakthrough, growth, or invitation blesses my soul beyond belief. I am watching you learn and develop, discover who you are, and walk in the fullness of all you’ve been called to. I’m watching from afar and from up-close, and I am truly inspired and encouraged by what I’m seeing. We are built for community, and we are always better when we journey together. Let’s stay connected, friends, and rejoice together over all that God is doing!
Until next month, much love