I’m currently sitting alone in my studio; the clicking of the keyboard and the flurries of snow outside are the only sounds I feel like I need to write this down. Tomorrow begins a new year, and for the third time, I’m picking a word to be my “theme” for the 365 days ahead. In 2017, my hardest year of the 26 I’ve lived, my words were trust and thrive, and I wrote a whole post about how that shook out here. I ended last year in lot of pain and confusion, with very little confidence that 2018 would turn a corner. And yet, the word I chose for 2018 was abundance.
In January, I wrote down some thoughts about why abundance was my word and what I thought it would mean. To quote myself,
“Throughout the past year (2017), I have noticed that I fail to see God's abundance because I begin to focus on what I don't have as soon as something goes a little bit off course. In 2018, I want to have the mindset of abundance, one where I am quick to thank God for His provision and trust Him to step in, instead of first trying to tackle things on my own.”
As a whole, I feel like I did that much more in the last 12 months than the prior years in Colorado, and I felt like I understood why God put that word on my heart, until about 2 months ago. And then, everything shifted.
This year, I read the book Remember God by Annie F. Downs, and it shook me in a good way. In her story, she talks about how she always chooses a word for her year and prays over what that word will be, but she doesn’t always see the purpose for it right away. In fact, one of her words didn’t make sense to her until the very last day of the year. If this sounds too woo-woo for you, I get ya. 2018 could have also been my year of feelings and becoming a little more woo-woo myself, as I dove into therapy and probably felt more things than I have in a long time. But, I digress.
You see, I didn’t think God put abundance on my heart because I was going to “get” something. I didn’t think I’d suddenly have abundant finances or abundant joy or abundant blessings. In fact, as someone who really struggles to believe that God wants to give good gifts to His children, my expectations were quite low. I like to be the one who does the work, and so I took it upon myself to fix my mindset, fix my life, and just continue to persevere. I wasn’t seeking a reward - that’s not my nature. If you need proof, in the end of 2017, I wrote:
WE LEARN WHAT IT MEANS TO THRIVE IN THE PRESENCE OF PAIN, JUST LIKE WE LEARN TO HOW TO HOPE WHEN WE MOST NEED SOMETHING TO HOPE FOR.
Clearly, I was setting the bar low. If you couldn’t tell, I wanted a mindset of abundance because I wanted to learn how to hope again, but I still wasn’t living with any expectancy. All year long, when I would see God begin to work in situations or answer any prayers, my gut reaction was to cower and pretend like progress wasn’t really happening. It was easier to protect myself than to believe that I was going to make it out of a season that had been heavy for years.
And then, 2 months ago, for a lot of reasons that I’m sure I will write about another time, it was clear in my heart that I was supposed to open another Pure Barre studio. Now, before you read that and think, “Aw cool, good for you,” and shrug it off as a simple, good thing, I need to tell you a few key details. When I first moved to the Springs, I thought I would own a ton of Pure Barres, but the start of this business was h. a. r. d. Honestly, if you didn’t catch the depressing vibes from my blog in 2014-2016, you obviously weren’t reading my posts. Even though my business was growing each year, about 2 years ago, I made the decision to lay down both the anxiety and the small ounce of hope I had around opening another studio because it just didn’t feel like that was God’s plan (or mine anymore). Whenever I have worried about it throughout the past 2 years, I have prayed, “God, if you want me to do this, make it abundantly clear.” Funny word choice, huh?
2 months ago, I got off a call that planted a seed in my heart to do this, and the first thought that came into my head was, “Is this actually what abundance was supposed to mean for this year? Is this actually what You were preparing me for?” My whole body got chills in that moment, and I don’t think it’s a feeling I can really articulate, but I’ve only had it a couple of times in my life. Those moments of confirmation that don’t make sense, but they just click, and I felt something shift in my heart that hadn’t been alive in years.
Throughout the past 2 months, the amount of confirmation that I’ve received, the peace I’ve had about this decision, and how easy the process has been thus far is uncanny. Hear me - this studio could be just as difficult as the first, and there are always bumps in the road, but has it felt like a light switched on in a room that has been dark for a really long time.
I write this down because I don’t want to forget it. And before I break down my word for 2019 (freedom), I want a record of God’s faithfulness and work in my own life this year. I also write this because God has a way of resurrecting impossible dreams, including the ones you may have already laid down. We’re not called to live an expectant life so that God can give us exactly what we want, but we are called to live expectantly so that God can use the dreams and gifts and talents He has already placed in us to do abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. 2018 taught me that living in abundance will always produce fruit in your life, regardless of whether or not it is something you had planned. If you feel like I did at the end of 2017, defeated and living in survival mode, I hope you’ll make abundance your word for 2019. And I pray you run with it.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)