As I start this post, I just have to laugh because my husband is sitting here beside me telling me how February is going to be better than January… His exact words “We like got dropped kicked by January.”
I feel like I’m coming out of an intense era of hibernation! I haven’t actually logged into WordPress in a couple of weeks, which is super out of the norm. I’ve spent my days a little more unplugged recently, still keeping up with major responsibilities and shifting attention and focus to some more pressing needs over the past couple of weeks.
At the beginning of the year, I was super pumped, like literally stoked for what 2018 was going to be for me both here at Eat Pray Wife and in my personal life here in Toronto. For the first time since beginning my degree program, fresh out of high school, I felt like God had given me full disclosure and clarity on what His plans are for me. It was literally like the veil had been lifted, and I just knew exactly where He wanted me. This was not only incredibly blissful but if you know me at all, you know I was all “Are you sure God? Like, send me a sign if I’m off here…” Naturally, I confided in my most trusted friends and family, and to my complete surprise, not a single person objected. My younger brother’s exact words, “When I think of my big sister, that’s exactly what I picture you doing.”
Towards the end of 2017, I became really intentional about listening for God’s voice and really took my time seeking Him out. During this time, I watch my friends go through absolute Hell… and somehow, I felt God was using me. Prayer really became a big part of my life, and I started praying differently. I’ve said this before, but I don’t pray pretty. It’s normally just me and God, so I pray like I’m talking to my dad, in this case, my Heavenly Father. I am super transparent and talk in circles with God until He brings me back to “normal”. But in the last months of 2017, I started to see a shift in my prayer life with God… Instead of praying in private, I found myself in situations where I was praying publicly over an individual, in large groups, and completely out of my comfort zone. At first, people were calling on me to pray, and of course, when called on to pray, you do it. You get up, and you humbly silently pray for God’s direction, and then you begin to pray in your circumstances for which you are called upon. A few cycles of this and then I started feeling God calling on me to pray in different circumstances, and let me tell you, that’s a little different from a person calling on you. When a friend or pastor/leader calls on you to pray, in the back of your mind, you wonder if they meant to call on someone else. But when God calls, you know without any uncertainty that He is talking to you, specifically you.
I’m going to recap my December Missions trip in a few days, but that’s when I felt God really building me for this year. Everyone has that place where they “grow” or feel the most “in tune” with God, and for me, that place is in Nicaragua with World Missions Outreach. I like me best there. It’s my favorite version of me. Life is simple, yet everything is so complicated, and the needs are incredibly extreme. God’s presence though… indescribable. But, just for context, this is when life started changing for me, and I felt an intense amount of growth and just a whole new understanding of my purpose.
Like many of you, I started the year off with New Year’s Resolutions. Mine were all pretty career-focused. I had/have a 5 step plan for this year of what I feel I need to do to best prepare for what God has called me to do. My goals for this year were to take each of those steps, knowing they would be big steps, I was more confident than ever. I’m a zero or a hundred type person. I’m all heart, all in, 1000% or I’m completely out with no intention of even pretending to apply effort. Have you ever been so sure of a good thing, and so sure that you were doing the right thing, that you totally let your guard down and just ran for it? That’s a lot like what January ended up being like for me. It was almost instantly as the clock struck midnight changing time from 2017 to 2018, and my life and all its confidence and stability started shifting in an incredibly uncomfortable way. I don’t know how else to explain it, but it was as though every fear I had ever had was rushing in. Every doubt, every mean thing anyone had ever said, every awful thing I had thought… all of those things were now playing on repeat in the back of my head. Here, I am as prepared as I can possibly be, feeling so blissful about this new year and all that God has planned, and I completely face-plant within the first few hours of this wonderful year called 2018.
Over the next couple of weeks, I experienced an unimaginable pressure to fail.
Life as I knew it was nowhere to be found. All of that clarity remained, but my motivation was gone, almost completely. That’s when I decided to go “under construction”. I didn’t call it a step back. I’ve taken too many steps back in my life, so I called it a step up. Even though I was feeling completely upside down, and my life (to me) looked like it was in the midst of a category 5 storm with no signs of relief nearby, I didn’t want to crash. I still wanted to make this year what it was supposed to be, but I just honestly didn’t know how. In my disappointment of self, I began trying to cope with whatever was happening, and without realizing it, I was spiraling. My best friend on the planet literally texted me those words, and I rejected it. I pushed everyone away, and I felt myself beginning to run away from 2018. I think I even posted on Facebook or somewhere on social media that I was really trying to like 2018, but it was trying me haha
All I knew was that God had revealed His plan. I had accepted the call, and the moment I stepped into it, I felt like my life was falling apart, completely shattering into tiny little pieces. Foolishly, I spent a few weeks trying to put the pieces back together. I gave myself a month. I am very goal oriented, and I decided that Feb. 1, I would be back at it. But first, I needed to know why “this” was happening, and I also need to know what “this” was…
Around week 2 of this journey, I found myself in a few offices. I met with a Spiritual Warfare Counselor and completely poured out my soul to her. I confided in her, and I was pretty straightforward that I was willing to do the work, but I just needed to know what to do. She immediately addressed my “issue” and revealed what “this” was. Ya’ll, “this” was me learning to die to myself, my coping mechanisms, my comforts, my pride, my will, and my desires. It was me healing from all the brokenness that I had just put behind me but not truly let go. See, when you just put it behind you, it follows. But when you let go, it’s gone. Just like that.
Next, I found myself in my own office working through some almost lifelong struggles that I needed to let go of. I found forgiveness in my heart that I didn’t think could exist. I found the humility and gratitude that I had been lacking, and I carefully began to take action. In a way, I began facing my darkest demons, one of them being myself and my own will. During this journey, I began to write again, but not for the blog. I wrote for myself. I wrote for others. I wrote the beginning of the rest of my story. I was sitting in church when the thought came to me (most of my best thoughts pop up in church). But my Pastor was talking about how we can’t rewrite our past; however, we can redirect our futures. So, I took that literally and picked up a pen (aka my keyboard) and began to write my current story in a way that prepares a future where God has room to work. I gave it up. I gave up the control I’ve been holding onto for so long, and put the actions behind the words, “Here am I, send me.”
If you’re still with me in this post, you’re a trooper. This isn’t my usual style of writing, and don’t worry, it’s not the new new. However, it’s my January Journey. It’s real life. My life from the outside looking in is so beautiful. I have been blessed with so many beautiful people and relationships. I have been privileged with many luxuries, and I have worked really hard to achieve a certain status and lifestyle that a lot of people are chasing after. In the last 30 days, nothing from that lifestyle meant anything to me. The only thing that mattered was the network of friends and family that surrounds me. It was some of you reading this that pulled me through. It was the intentional messages and texts that reminded me of my value and my worth. It was people, and it was God’s hand in their/your life redirecting me to see His plan in my life. To all of you, I am beyond grateful. I could not have done this January Journey without you, and I appreciate you more than you will ever know.
I’m feeling so much more focused (which I didn’t know what possible) going into this month of February. I’m calling it Round No. 2 because it’s like I’m restarting back on my goals but with even more understanding and more support. I’m leaving so many things behind in January. It’s a chapter that had to happen, and I am in a place where I can be grateful for the process. If I’ve learned anything from this journey, it’s these things:
- Accomplishing goals requires intentional focus.
- Living out God’s will means giving up your will.
- The Devil is always positioned to steal your joy.
- Your network of support must be God ordained.
- No matter what, giving up is never an option.
- We don’t take steps back, just steps up.
With all of this, I look forward to walking into this new month with all of you! I hope you are allowing yourself to experience the journey regardless of how painful it may be. I always say, “Life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies.” Even though my Instagram sometimes says otherwise… Just know that when life gets real, it’s because God is trying to do a real work in and through you. Don’t let the distractions of “real” keep you from fulfilling the incredible goals God set for you in 2018. Keep your focus on the bigger picture, and always seek to be a part of something bigger than yourself.
– the Wife
This photo is from December 2017 when a group of us got together and cleaned up some of the beaches on the coast of Nicaragua. The really horrible hurricanes that came through in 2017 had done work on these beaches, so we teamed up with Gran Pacifica and spent a few hours one morning cleaning up all the rubbage and trash that the storms had washed ashore. In a way, this picture represents my January Journey… At the start of the year, all of my rubbage and unresolved conflicts washed ashore, and my team had to come in and do some major work to revamp my mindset. I feel like January was more than just a “hard month”, it was a month of cleaning out my heart and scrubbing away the darkness that had been lingering for years. It was a month of renovations, which involved some teardown and rebuilding…