Heya! Today’s blog post is from this past Tuesday’s Sweet Thoughts devotional that goes out every week to my inner circle’s inboxes at 6 AM. I hardly ever share on The Cake what I send out to my Cake Community via email, because I keep that exclusive to those of you who have signed up to receive my devos. However, this one seemed to resonate with a lot of you. Like… I got so many DM’s and shares on your stories, showing me just how alike so many of us are! None of us are alone in the struggle. And because of that, I wanted to share it with all of you.
And, if you would like to receive these kind of emails every Tuesday then you can sign up here! Maybe your hope for 2019 is to grow closer to God but you don’t know where to start. Start with Tuesdays! This week’s email was a little different- more of a letter than a devotional. But, usually you receive a scripture at the top to read followed by a quick piece about it afterward. I share my rawest and more vulnerable self in these emails, and I am thankful for all of you who already receive these and do life with me through this online community there. You will laugh, you may cry, and I can assure you you will grow to know God more by diving into His word.
Sweet Thoughts Devotional from Hannah: 1/1/2019
And just like that, the holidays are over and a new year has come.
Every year, without fail, on this day I feel just a little sad, just a little nostalgic, and just a little anxious. It’s partly because I can feel the weight of the hustle from the last month finally catching up with me. Even on a year where we truly took it slow and I am very pleased with the space we allowed ourselves to walk in- saying “no” to things that didn’t fill us or make sense for our schedules- I still feel oddly sore, emotionally drained, and incapable of processing what I even want for breakfast. It’s also partly because I am sad to see my family all leave, sending off my parents and siblings once again to their own corners of the country. I ache deep within my belly, wishing for them to stay just a little a longer and hating my two greatest foes: time and distance. Processing these emotions, my introverted self finds herself sitting on the sofa in a people coma, book in hand and a cup of coffee, and a whole lot of nothing to do pencilled in on the calendar.
Does this sound at all eerily familiar to your current situation?
I promise, this all gets happier.
Read on with me. See, with my usual mix of emotions I have on the 1st of every single new year, I feel more hope today than ever before. I feel anxious, but more so in a good way than I have in a long time. It’s an excitement rather than fear. It’s a realization deep within my bones that I, contrary to what I have told myself for years and years, do not need to nor will I ever make this “my year.” Follow me here… Because my goodness, what pressure we place on ourselves over and over to perform for a crowd for 365 days! Telling ourselves that this is the year we will indeed operate at our finest, most well-tuned self. This is the big one! “This is the year I am going to ___________.”
Hear me: You will not make this “your year.”
For years, as that ball drops and the new year rolls in, I have found myself feeling that odd and all too familiar mix of emotions: a little sad, a little nostalgic, and a little anxious. And, I am guessing you do, too. But why? Because we set ourselves up for failure 365 days before, and spent the following 364 trying to measure up to and please others in order to prove this was “our best year.” We told ourselves lies and made promises we knew we couldn’t keep, and we find ourselves disappointed in ourselves more than anything or anybody else. It’s truly a gross cycle we are caught in, and social media only makes it worse. Our short-comings are on full display for all the world to see, or so it feels. Year after year, one thing after another, disappointment surely follows a list of goals and resolutions we couldn’t perfectly achieve. We feel, despite the fact people really do care a whole lot less than we make ourselves believe, like we let a slew of people down, ourselves at the top of that list, because we didn’t nail perfectly all the things we said a year before that we would do.
And then, as I always hear after the impossible task of perfection… “failure” lingers like a distant echo in our thoughts.
Failure is the word that haunts me most in the back of my mind. Not just at the start of the year, but in my day to day. Failure is what I believe about myself when I do not achieve “perfection.” And, because perfection is impossible for me to grasp -no matter how hard I try or how close I might get- I hear the lie of “you failed” whispered in my ear often.
But not this year.
I hope the same for you.
I am done believing I didn’t do enough.
I am done believing that I can make things happen.
See, as a Christian, if it’s true that my life is not my own… Why do I think I can make this year my own? Why do I honestly think I can shape and form my life for the next 365 days? I am not sure about you, but I am done with the cycle of taking my life and my year into my own hands. I will disappoint myself if I think I can make this my best year.
God can make this my best year. God can give me joy in the midst of disappointment. God can fill me, tell me I am victorious, and make me whole.
God can make this my best one yet when I bring Him my best and believe that He has the best for me. That, no matter what this year brings or what I do or don’t do, it was all for my good and all for His glory.
Don’t hear me wrong… I believe in setting goals. I absolutely believe in these. I am as goal-oriented and “write it out to cross it off” as they come. But, here’s the difference for me this year, it’s a simple perspective shift. I am done believing I am my Creator. So, this year, rather than making a list of things I will do in 2019, I am counting my victories from 2018 and allowing those to lead me into the new year. What victories do I wan to see this upcoming year?
I want victory over anxiety when people don’t like me, because I know whose I am what I was created for.
I want to have victory over feeling like I am not enough, because I know through Christ I am enough.
I want victory over insecurity, because in Christ I find a firm foundation built upon the Rock.
See, rather than starting at the bottom of the barrel and creating a list of goals I must do in the next 365 days in order to feel “more accomplished” than the one before, I am starting on top. I am looking back at what God did, not me, and how I handled the situations that the Lord gave me this past year to grow. I saw disappointment this past year. I was far from perfect. I wanted to quit time and time again. But with disappointment is the opportunity for hope and growth. That is why, with a perspective shift, I feel hope today more than anything else. The gift of disappointment is that we would not see just how much we need a perfect God if it didn’t exist. I couldn’t recognize growth I experienced in a year if all I do is aim for perfection and get frustrated when I fail to achieve it.
This year, I am letting myself walk in freedom. I am no longer pleasing others. I am no longer setting goals I feel I have to achieve solely because I think I will let other people down if I don’t do it or nail it perfectly. Because let’s be honest. When that is what drives me, more often than not, I am stuck in crippling fear with my feet plastered deep in the ground out of fear of what others might say about it. I am done with it all. I am setting goals for my character, my relationship with God, and the territories I want to claim victory over in my mind and sphere of influence.
Sure, I have had some disappointments in 2018. I have things I want to grow in personally and I have goals for my business. But I have had a hell of a lot of victories over where I wasn’t enough but in Christ I was more than enough, and that’s what leads me today. That is why I have hope today. That is why today feels a little different than other January 1st’s that I have sat in a people coma on my couch.
I pray today you choose to list the victories. I pray you ask God to go before you and show the new places you can claim victory over in 2019. I truly believe the other things on our list of goals we would like to see take place this year will naturally fall into place when our perspective shifts. Our efforts and hard work, that business you wish to start, that fitness goal, or that dream you want to finally chase will truly not be for man when we recognize that our dreams are simply God’s heart for us. Not for us, but to His name, His glory, His victory.
Happy New Year, sweet friends. Go claim victories.