2016 was the year for me to dare. Dare to write. Dare to hope. Dare to dream.
I opened the year writing about this word dare and how I came to choose it as my word to live by for the year. So as 2016 comes to a close, it seems appropriate to close the year in the same way.
While I’m not one for resolutions in general, this was the first year I chose a word to live by and really allowed that word to play out in my life. Dare certainly wasn’t the only word I lived by this past year, but it certainly was one that I purposely kept at the front of my mind.
Dare to write
I don’t keep it a secret that I have plans for this blog. Plans that are destined to fail since I don’t do all the things I should as a blogger to get my name out there. It takes more time and more energy than I have and I’m already functioning on a low amount of sleep. But when time does allow for it, I don’t want my words to just fill the purpose of filling a page or taking up more space in an already busy and loud Internet. I want to write about things that matter. I want to write about people. About injustice. About real issues that flood my heart. It doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything I put out there. But if my words made you think a little or if my words offered you encouragement, even if just a little, then my writing has done what I wanted.
So this year for me was about continuing to find my voice. And as I find my voice, I find that God speaks to me as I write. He puts things on my heart and my writing is just obedience to that which I feel inspired by. Writing for me brings so much freedom, even if it’s something that’s hard to share, even if it’s something no one wants to hear, or something that no one reads. I’ve learned this year that sometimes what I put your heart and soul into, what I stand firm on, what I feel that everyone should care about, often isn’t received in the way I want. And honestly, it’s hard sometimes. But it’s okay.
Sometimes I want to be so so careful that I don’t write anything that misguides someone, that’s taken out of context, that makes me seem like someone I’m not. I do want my writing to make you think a little. To maybe even make you uncomfortable in an encouraging kind of way. So if I did that even just once this year, I’m happy with that.
I need to continue to dare to write. Because without that question nagging me in the back of my mind, do you dare to put this out there?, it’s sometimes easy to just say no to writing. I’ve been a writer my entire life but this is the first time in my life I’m making that public.
Dare to hope
This was something I felt at the beginning of the year I needed to dare myself back into. I didn’t share a lot about this one, nor am I going to (at least in this post). But 2015 kicked my butt and at the end of the year, I had felt a bit hopeless. I had let the enemy steal a lot of my hope and I wanted it back. I shouldn’t have let him take it in the first place, honestly. But I was worn out and a bit beat up and let it happen. And so, this year was full of me hoping again. And learning again and again that my hope cannot be in circumstances, it cannot be in my dreams or desires. It cannot be in any thing offered by this world. My hope must be in Him and Him alone. And while I’m happy to say my hope has been restored, it’s still a daily choice. It’s still something I have to fight for. My hope doesn’t stem from our circumstances being any better, but because I understand the love of my Father like never before. And that in itself offers incredible hope.
Dare to dream
This has been the biggest one for me honestly. I wrote about it a little earlier in the year but have been purposely silent about it. Simply because it was my year to dream with God. It was my year to give these desires back to Him and wait to see how He answered. We’ve watched God slowly answer some pieces of the puzzle for us, and open what we think are doors to go after it. But I don’t feel like it’s the time to publicly share what we’re dreaming about. But what I will say is that, just like my place of hope at the end of 2015, my dreams felt crushed. It felt impossible to even think about dreaming when circumstances didn’t allow it. And I needed to feel like I could dream again. I had to open up my heart again to the possibility of “what if.” To allow myself to dream alongside of Him. To allow Him to do His work in me.
What I will share is that I feel like this year (and really several years prior) has been a grounds of preparation. A season of learning and growing and preparing us for the next season. I don’t know how long it will take for us to be ready. But my heart is more open now than ever to what’s possible and to what God is doing and wants to do through me and my little family.
So even though I say good-bye to 2016, daring will still be part of my life. Because for me, daring means pretty much what I’m trying to do every day. Living not of this world. Living with eternity in mind. Living small. Learning day after day after day what it means that my life is not my own. I am growing ever so slowly in my faith and I have such a long way to go. But God is good. And so life is good.
Want to know my word for 2017? Stop by on January 1st and I’ll share it with you!
How about you? Share below what you have taken away from 2016.