New Year’s Eve is definitely one of my favorite top 3 holidays (July 4th and Easter being the others). The rhetoric is always reflective, honest, hopeful and real. We take a deep look back over the past year and prepare for the year to come. Plus, there are usually some black eye peas and cornbread involved! Mixed in the rhetoric is the idea that the new year will be “Your year”; that giant miracles are being kept at bay and will come pouring down in the new year; and that prosperity will come raining in like a waterfall. Those things are awesome and great but in reality most of us don’t realize our blessings until we are already in them. I think when you look at other people’s miracles, prosperity and breakthroughs you can make statement’s such as the ones prior mentioned; however, when you are IN IT, grinding and being tested it doesn’t quite feel like this onslaught from out of no where; it feels like a step that all the prior steps have prepared you for. Furthermore, some of us are walking into a year that we will see no tangible breakthroughs or prosperity but will be tested by God greatly with trials in order for us to grow spiritually and move us further along in our purpose.
Listen, I am not trying to be the wet blanket at the vision board party but I believe intently looking back at the past in order to prepare us for the future will help us more tha n getting wrapped up in the emotions of New Year’s Eve. I want to share a few intangibles of 2015 that I couldn’t quite put on a vision board but were more valuable than anything I could have ever asked for.
I learned how to pray. For years I took lightly what it meant to pray. I would pray between meetings and in the car and that was about it. This year it fully downloaded on my heart that prayer was communication with the Almighty God, it is a privilege. It is what Christ died for. Not only that but God talks back; example one- The Bible. There are things I went through this year that only prayer allowed me to navigate successfully. I learned about my human spirit and how that communicates with the holy spirit, I was blessed with the gift of tongues and God poured out his presence daily.
I learned about community. In 2014 I was able to do mission work in India and I saw how God was using the believers there to do his work in creating an awesome community. When I got home I yearned for that community and God being faithful, blessed me tremendously. I was apart of a small group that met weekly to share the word and share dinner; I got more involved in volunteering at my church and gained another tribe of believers. I now understand why God calls us to do life intimately with other people. Knowing that I have a team of people to pray for me, share my burdens and celebrate the many blessings gives me so much fulfillment in life.
I overcame tests of my character. This year I was tested on every last thing I share via social media. I was tested on my integrity when I had a choice to hide prior business mistakes at work. My purity was tested when I was in a relationship for several months this year; and I had to remain in God’s will even though it was incredibly hard. I had to be a giver and remain generous, when I had to open up my home for a loved one to stay with me for a season. All around me my character was tested and praise God I passed.
I learned how to serve. This year was a huge transition for me because I joined a new church. At my former church I was probably one of the most joyful servant on my team; however, moving to this new home I was often struggling to find the joy to display on a Sunday. God stripped me from my comfort zone and I had a chance to see what a servant’s heart looks like. The people I serve with are relentless. Waking up at dawn on a Sunday, sacrificing so much and being constantly inconvenienced just to make a home and a community for someone else. I learned that when you give you true heart in service to other people, God takes care of you. You don’t have to selfishly worry if your needs will be met, because you can’t out give God.
I learned how to stand. Life is messy and complicated. It can be filled with interruptions, heartache and tragedy. This year, even down to this week I dealt with some pretty hard things. I had to get messy and I couldn’t just ignore them. However, learning how to grow your roots down in the foundation of God you will help you STAND through anything. You can stand because Christ stood. Take heart because he has overcome the world. So no matter what you have ever gone through and what future battles are to come, you can have peace because God has stood triumphantly through them all.
I pray that your 2016 is prosperous in the ways that are important to God. That you continue to grow and be stretched toward the person that God is making you to be. I pray that he blesses you with your heart’s desires. Happy New Year!