We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
Proverbs 16:9 NLT
The end of the year seems to always cause us to reflect. We often spend time reflecting on the life events and things that happened throughout the past year. For me, the past year was full of some ups and downs. It had moments of great joy, but also great sorrow. It was a year of great growth in my life and my walk with Christ.
Every year, I ask God to either give me a word or a direction for the coming year. At the beginning of 2018, God told me it was going to be a year of health and self-discovery. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a generally healthy person. I try to eat healthy and exercise, but what I would soon find out was there would be more to it than that. It was about my health as a whole. Something I was learning at the beginning of last year was that I really wasn’t taking good care of myself, and because of it, I wasn’t in a healthy state in life. I’m really good at taking care of everyone else and leaving the leftovers for me. I know God calls us to put the needs of others first, but even Jesus took time to refresh and make sure He was healthy so He could pour out His life for others. I wasn’t good at this. I would sacrifice to the point where I would try to pour out from a super-empty cup. So it was time to start taking better care of myself.
It wasn’t easy to change these behaviors, but I made the commitment to be purposed. I became better purposed in creating “me time” throughout the week. Even if it was only twenty minutes, I was purposed because I knew in the long run I would be healthier for my family and those around me. Next, I signed up to run a half-marathon, something I had told myself for years I would never be able to accomplish. But I set this goal and I was determined to follow through. It was an incredible journey, one that I am glad I accomplished. In the process of this past year, I worked on my mental health, too. I sought out a Christian counselor who helped me to see how some of the behaviors in my life really were destructive, and I needed to find balance. She helped me change some of my thought processes and habits so I could have a much better mental state than ever before.
The year started out rough, but now I look back and can say to you right now that I am the healthiest I have ever been in my life. My physical health is better, my mental health is better, and my spiritual health is the best it has ever been. My relationships are better, my ministry is better, my life is better. It was not easy by any means, but looking back, it was completely worth it. It took a lot of hard work, dedication, and re-teaching myself, but the outcome has been incredible. As I look back on 2018, I can’t help but praise God. He took me out of the darkness and into the light. He led me through one of the toughest seasons of life I have ever walked through and brought so much growth in my life. He was faithful in the process and did more in my life than I could have ever imagined.
No matter where you find yourself as we head into 2019, I want to encourage you to allow God to be the One who leads you through this next year. As you look forward to the coming year, ask God what He wants to accomplish. Maybe ask Him for a word, a phrase, or a direction where He longs for you to go. I can promise you this one thing…no matter where He leads you, He will be with you the whole way. And at the end of it, you will be amazed at all He was able to do. Praying your 2019 starts off great, and that you begin it with your eyes fixed on Jesus.
Forget the things that happened in the past.
Do not keep on thinking about them.
I am about to do something new.
Isaiah 43:18-19a NIRV