My word for 2016 was convergence, and the idea was to move toward a central goal or purpose. As I think back over all that God has done, I see how He guided, not as I expected, but oh so much better.
Gratitude for 2016
Most unexpectedly, He opened a new job teaching online for an outstanding private Christian school. He’s surrounded me with godly leadership, a lead teacher I admire and count as a good friend, and co-teachers who have incredible talents and senses of humor. He’s given me students who desire to learn and treat me with such respect and appreciation that my heart wants to burst at times.
Beyond that, He answered my prayer for a publishing house to contract me for a book, but not just one book: three. I’m honored and excited to work with Write Integrity Press, my editor Marji, and a team of other writers who treat each other like family. My first book in a new trilogy releases in June (more on that in a future post).
Finally, after months of searching, God has also opened the opportunity for me to purchase my very first home.
Yes, I still have many unanswered prayer requests for some of my dear friends and for myself, but by looking back over what God has done, I know He will answer them in the best time and way possible, or reveal His wisdom in leaving some of them unanswered.
Convergence may have been the word I chose, but I can’t take credit for the work God did. The year 2016 reminds me that His plans are so much higher and greater than mine.
What has God done for you in 2016? In what ways did He surprise you?
Anticipation for 2017
So for 2017, I more meekly pick the word simplicity.
After all, I think of the Lord’s commands. They’re simple.
- “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved …” (Acts 16:31 NKJV)
- “… Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I said simple, not always easy. Striving for simplicity may not be easy either.
However, simplicity lets us focus on what matters most while minimizing distractions. It implies we might have to cut back in some areas to focus more on others. It means *gasp* we might have to say no to good things to give our time to better things.
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Something Karen Ehman said in her book Listen, Love, Repeat ties beautifully into the idea of simplicity. In her chapter that focuses on the home (and yes, I’m taking notes!), she talks about “living a life of welcome.”
I want this to be true in all areas of my life, including: relationships, writing, ministry, and hospitality.
Karen uses the example of homemaking to highlight the difference between impressing and refreshing.
Entertaining puts the emphasis on you and your home and seeks to impress others. In contrast, hospitality puts the emphasis on your guest and seeks to help them to feel refreshed, not impressed, when they leave your home.
I don’t want to impress people. I want to bless them. Impressive people intimidate. Welcoming people refresh.
Yes, I think there’s something irresistibly refreshing about simplicity.
When we focus on what matters most, everything else should fall into place. This keyword for 2017 has nothing to do with perfection; it has everything to do with God’s perfecting work in our lives.
I am so thankful for you, my friends! Wishing you all a blessed and simplified New Year!
What is your word for the year, or would you join me in embracing simplicity? I’m looking forward to more adventures together.
2017 Keyword: Simplicity – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)
Embracing Simplicity in the New Year – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)