I have a milestone birthday coming up this weekend. As I prepare to celebrate, I am reflecting on previous years, as I contemplate my direction for the upcoming year.
In one year, the earth completely revolves around the sun. Within this revolution, we will experience the four seasons of Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn; along with the earth rotating around its axis to give us 365 days to accomplish tasks here on earth.
Typically, people evaluate their lives and their goals in December and prepare to make New Years’ Resolutions based on what they want to accomplish in the upcoming year. I always start a bit earlier – on my birthday, a few months before the year ends.
When I was approaching 40, I started giving each year a theme or focus, so that I could be intentional about the changes I wanted to make in my life over the course of my next revolution.
As I turned 40, I was determined to work on my character flaws and overcoming what I had allowed to trigger negative emotions inside of me (anger management mainly). I set boundaries for how I would allow myself to be treated and was intentional about speaking life instead of death to myself, my husband, and children.
The hardest challenge I had to overcome was keeping those negative thoughts out of my mouth – everything that popped into my head was not worthy of being given a voice. And let me just say that even though I started at Year 40, it took a couple of years to master. Well, more than a couple…almost five to be exact. Heck, I literally started successfully reigning over my tongue only a few months ago. And what a difference that has made in my relationships! It took a while, but it was absolutely worth pursuing!
I guess a disclaimer is warranted here – even though we may choose to start working on a goal, it may take longer than a year to accomplish. We can’t beat ourselves up if we don’t finish in the desired timeframe. Forward progress is all that matters. Once we’ve set out to complete a goal, we must be totally committed to never giving up until we’ve achieved it!
When 41 rolled around, I was in a desperate struggle to save my marriage. I prayed for God to help me honor the covenant I made to my husband before Him, no matter how I felt. Happiness (or lack thereof) never got a vote in the matter.
I focused on the story of Paul and Silas found in Acts 16. While they were in jail, through their midnight worship and prayers, their chains came off, and as a result, their jailer and his family were saved. I resolved to save the legacy of my own family by honoring my commitment and vows as an act of worship to God. Unbeknownst to us then, this commitment would become critical to our stability this past year while supporting Kennedi through her injury.
Year 42 was about being courageous – in my walk with God, in my beliefs, in my convictions, and especially about speaking up concerning the wrongs in our society. Inspired by Jackie Robinson and the courage he showed when he first wore number 42 and integrated Major League Baseball, I challenged myself to move beyond my comfort zone and use my voice to speak Truth.
At 43, I sought wisdom in taking my life, career, and ministry to the next level. I started focusing on my purpose, and how to use my vocation to make an impact on the lives of people around me. I started writing a (still unpublished) book, and journaling how I desired to use the gifts of Faith, Knowledge, and Teaching that God had placed inside of me.
Now I’m closing out Year 44. This time last year, I declared it would be my AA-Rated Year: Astonishing and Astounding. I’m thankful for everything I’ve seen the Lord do in my life. But I’m not gonna sugarcoat it – this was absolutely one of the most difficult years of my life as well.
But in my darkest days, Destined 4 the Dub was a constant source of support, reminding me of the promises in God’s Word and testimonies of what He had already done in my life. It was just the encouragement I needed to keep me in my race.
I had to double-down on my prayers, on my worship, and on my faith – trusting that God would see me through every storm. And thankfully, He is continuing to carry me through them. Each lesson since Year 40 had to be applied, in order to see God’s Astonishing and Astounding Works come forth in my life this year.
As I prepare to make this next revolution around the glorious and vast Sun, I’ve dubbed Chapter 45 as The Year of the Leap. As I’m coming to terms with having to check the next age box when completing a demographic survey, I’m also aware that all paths have been leading to this year, this moment. Despite all the plans I’ve ever made in my life, I’ve never taken a Leap of Faith like the one I’m preparing to take.
And all the while I’m still working on being courageous, still seeking God’s wisdom in the choices I have to make for my future, still working hard on my marriage, still identifying character flaws to improve. I don’t think there is a destination to reach, it’s just a journey of continuous self-actualization and self-improvement.
Oblivious to my plans, yesterday my sister sent me a video from Comedian Michael Jr that challenged his audience to ask What is My Why? And after watching (and getting emotional), I asked the question, “Why Am I Taking This Leap of Faith?”
And my answer? So that I, along with my audience (that would be YOU!) can live in Victory and Overcome every challenge we ever face, for all of our remaining revolutions around the sun. Amen.
How many trips around the sun has it been since you’ve done something truly significant?
As we continue to approach the end of the year and decade, what plans and goals has God placed on your heart to accomplish?
How can He use you to make an impact during your next revolution around the sun?
Feel free to share your response in the comments section…