For the past eight years, I’ve picked a word of the year (WOTY). My WOTY is usually something I want to focus on, an area I want to grow in, or a character trait I’m hoping to develop. (More about this process coming SOON!)
For 2018, my WOTY was peace. I felt like this was the year to pursue a slower pace. I wanted to slow down. I was hungry for calmer days, a simplified schedule, and peace of mind.
Want to hear something ironic? Four months into my year of peace, I was diagnosed with anxiety. Yup. So much for my year of peace.
Listen. Here’s the thing – that diagnosis was the catalyst for moving me into a place of real growth and change. Because peace and anxiety cannot coexist. They are at opposite ends of the mental spectrum. I had to choose which one was going to have more power in my life.
I chose peace. And God showed UP.
The number one thing I learned this year is that I have control issues. Like, MAJOR. And you guys, I had no idea. That was the hardest thing to realize about myself. I try so hard to control circumstances and relationships and finances and I finally had to admit that I CAN’T control everything (or anything, really). I had to release my grip on all the things I’m juggling and let God help me, let Him take control. Gulp.
I had to stop trying to project this image of having things figured out. Of having the answers. In order to find peace, all the walls I’d built up around myself had to be torn down.
You guys. This was hard, gut-wrenching, soul work. I cried a LOT. It felt the exact opposite of peaceful.
But when all the junk had been cleared out of my heart, when all of my walls had been torn down, when all I had left was a beat up shell of who I thought I was was…there was peace. That deep down, inside peace that can’t be forced or coerced into being. The kind of peace that gives you room to breathe when you’re feeling crushed.
These verses grounded me this year:
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
God showed me time and time again this year that He had things under control. I got to the point where I could say, “God, I can’t WAIT to see how you resolve this situation, because I’ve got a hot mess going on here.” And you know what? He resolved those messes. Every time.
Does that mean situations were always resolved in a way that was “good?” Nope. But the difference was that I had that inner peace that trusted God with the outcomes. So even when the solution wasn’t what I wanted, I felt peace about it because I knew God had it under control. The weight was off my shoulders. FREEDOM.
I started the year seeking a really shallow, earthly type of peace and God gave me something so much deeper. I can’t wait to see what my WOTY for 2019 brings. I’m ready to get busy planning for a new year…I’ll give you a glimpse into that planning process soon!