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New Year’s Thoughts

As is fitting for the time of year, I thought I would share some New Year’s thoughts with you…

I confess, I’ve never been one for “New Year’s resolutions” or making a list of goals for the year, etc. There are probably a lot of reasons for that, but one of them is that I tend to not want to do something “just because”… Just because it’s that time of year, just because it’s expected… I’m not sure why, (there’s probably a personality insight in there somewhere!), but there is truth to that for me.

I do often find myself looking back on the previous year, however, in the quiet of my own mind.

Over the last several years my look backs have been discouraging and typically opportunity for sadness or frustration. It hasn’t been the most positive and grateful of reflections.

Ironically, after experiencing the most challenging year yet, I want to step into that reflection differently this year. Or maybe not ironically – maybe because of that. Walking through what we have this last year has marked me so clearly – and perhaps stirred up a desire to not simply reflect on the discouragement, sadness, and frustration, but to shine light and peace and joy in its face.

The reality is, that terrifies me.

I like to stay safe, realistic, prepared for what may come. I have long lived with a desire to not rock the boat and potentially end up with a shipwreck… And I’ve learned I just simply can’t do that. I’ve got to choose belief in the face of brokenness, faith in the face of fear, confidence in the face of discouragement. I’ve got to trust the God I’m currently rebuilding trust with.

And that is so hard.

Real talk – I’m writing this with tears falling, a lump in my throat, fear yelling so loud inside my head. And yet here’s the thing: fear just can’t be the winner here anymore. It’s not worth it. It doesn’t stop the boat from capsizing – and it doesn’t create the shipwreck either. Fear, discouragement, unknowns… They don’t actually have any power. Unless we ourselves give it.

Don’t get me wrong – sorrows and disappointment and brokenness are so very real. Things hurt deeply. And change us. But being afraid of those things, being afraid as we move forward from them, that doesn’t have to run our lives. And for me, moving forward from 2018, that’s going to have to be a moment by moment choice.

Because I want to move toward some things.

I want to go into 2019 believing His love. Believing His words over me, over Jon and I, over our life and family. Believing He works and moves and is so deeply involved for good in all things.

And I want to leave some things behind.

Things like fear. Believing lies. Unreasonable and unattainable expectations. Things I’ve put on myself or allowed the enemy of my soul to speak over me.

While 2018 was truly the darkest and most difficult year I’ve walked so far, it also held some of the most miraculous, bright, and hopeful things I’ve ever experienced. 2018 brought me Ezra, even if just for a short time on this earth. It gave me the joy of new life created in me. It also showed me God’s ability to pull me out of a place I was scared I wouldn’t make it out of. It gave Jon and I each other in completely new and forever marking ways.

And so much more.

So as I take the first step into 2019, here is my focus – I want to know His love, I want to rebuild trust with Him, and I want to live solely out of His words over us. I want to believe Him for all He has said He will do. And for now, that’s a lot to focus on for me. And it will be daily, intentional work. And I will know His faithfulness in it.

I’m not sure what your typical New Year’s reflections are like, what your processes and thoughts and traditions are. But I hope something that I’ve written in my short reflection today will strike home with you, too. If it does, I’d love to know about it. I’d love to hear what your thoughts are as you step into this new year. And if, like me, you’re working on moving away from some things and moving toward others, I’m here to champion that work for you.

As I begin my journey into this new year, there are two songs I’ve been turning up over and over. If you need some “umph” and some hope and some encouragement as you start 2019, turn them up for yourself too!

Kim Walker-Smith singing “You Define Me”

Amanda Cook singing “Peace”

Thanks for journeying with me, friends.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Linda

    Shayla and Jon…yes, it was a truly difficult year…heartbreaking and spirit breaking for most. I can relate to a lot of what you said, felt…so beautifully written. I struggled from late 2010 until early 2015 as well…losing faith, finding it again…only to lose it again. However, my doctor said she truly believes that my stubbornness (Mercier trait?) and the power of prayer brought me to this place of being healed…quite miraculously. She doesn’t have a medical or scientific explanation…I do believe the she also had a very big part because she listened, she treated carefully (sometimes brutally) and she prayed, too. Just Breathe is a song I like to listen to. My life is no longer hectic, but with clinical anxiety, I need a reminder to even breathe. Lyrics in part:
    Breathe, just breathe
    Come and rest at my feet
    And be, just be
    Chaos calls but all you really need
    Is to take it in, fill your lungs
    The peace of God that overcomes
    Just breathe (just breathe)
    let your weary spirit rest
    Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
    Just breathe (just breathe)
    Just breathe, just breathe
    Come and rest at my feet
    And be, just be
    Chaos calls but all you really need
    Is to just breathe
    Just breathe
    Love you, Auntie Linda

    1. Shayla

      I’m so glad my thoughts connected with you <3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts as well! You have walked a very hard journey, and I agree that prayer has been a huge factor in healing. Thank you for sharing those lyrics as well!

  2. Sue

    Thank you for sharing from your heart.
    One thing that I’ve learned along the way of this journey in life is that we always need to expect the unexpected, and that how we deal with it defines us.

    I’m not much on resolutions each year either. What I I have started to do is ask the Lord to give me a word for the year ahead. I pray about it the month before the new year begins and I wait patiently until he reveals it to me. This year that word is Truth. What truth will I let define my life? How will I embrace truth and let it shape me? What truth will I be able to share with others to encourage them in their journey? I’m excited to see how that word, truth, will impact 2019.

    Thank you for sharing the links for the music also. I clicked on each one and just sat and listened quietly to them. It only took about 20 minutes of my busy day, but it was well worth it and I encourage anyone else reading this to do the same.

    1. Shayla

      Love those questions to ask yourself…I’ll be jotting those down to consider throughout this year. The word I feel like is clear for me this year is love. Learning and receiving His love.

      I’m glad you liked the songs, too!

  3. Amy

    I just love you

    1. Shayla

      Oh, goodness friend, do I love you. Please, let’s have a chat date so soon. <3

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