Last year’s word, well, it was something! S U B T R A C T I O N. It was a word I knew deep in my bones, one that had teeth, particularly around the end of January when Patrick lost his job. Always the humorist (with a strong dose of DRY), he told me, “I didn’t realize your word for the year would rub off on me.” Well, yes, it did.
Thus we embarked on a six-month jobless journey (for him) while I picked up other jobs to make ends meet. Honestly, God carried us. Beautifully so. As I look back over 2016, I’m profoundly amazed.
I also had an inkling at the beginning of the year that one of my professional relationships would be subtracted, and it was. Deeply painful, that process was. But in retrospect, exactly what I needed–even though it could’ve meant financial hardship.
If you had told me that I would be in the black as I started 2017, I would have laughed at you. When I started 2016, red was the color of my ability to pay myself. I simply couldn’t.
But God had some surprises up his amazing sleeves. The Restory Conference funded in June and happened beautifully in September with about 250 people in attendance. I got another book contract for a book I’ve been passionate about several years in the making. I had the privilege of traveling overseas to speak to writers and American military women.
So although subtraction on the surface meant loss to me, God turned it around to gain–mostly in my heart. Because of subtraction, I’m more settled in my calling. I don’t have this obsessive drive to MAKE EVERYTHING HAPPEN. Instead of being reactionary to my circumstances and making decisions based on panic, I’m slowing down, hoping to hear his voice, then acting on it. I no longer feel burdened by the publishing industry. I simply do the next thing.
This year, I sense the word God is giving me is Y E S. What a nice, positive word! The reason I illustrated it with an airport is because of my friend Bile (pronounced BEE LAY). He prayed for me in 2015, and as he did, he “flew” like an airplane to demonstrate that God would be calling me more and more to speak in different locales. That did happen in 2016, but I believe it will happen more this year. And I’ll need to say yes in faith because some of those invitations may not involve payment. (Please be praying for me as I hope to teach writers in the Ivory Coast this year at Bile’s church).
The yes is also winsome because this year I turn 50 on February 10th. How did this happen? To “celebrate,” I’m training for my first marathon. I’m not even sure I can do it, but working toward it has been hard and amazing. This is my personal year of jubilee, a year of emancipation from the past, a yes to things that scare me.
My big fear in getting older has been that I would settle into routine and stop trusting God for bigger things. With yes as a backdrop, by God’s strength, I hope to trust him more and more and more. I want to step outside of the box I’ve made that is so dang comfortable. I hope you can hold me accountable for this as well.
So in the comments today, would you share your YES TO GOD stories? How have you been brave, stepping into unknowns?