Theme for 2018: Wait and See

Like many of you, each year I write goals with the understanding that God can shape and change them however He sees best. For the last few years, I’ve also chosen a word that I hope will capture my prayers and dreams for the New Year.

Lately, God’s been showing me that I need to lay aside my expectations and embrace the reality that His plans may be different than I imagined. And that’s okay. In fact, His ways are far better.

However, I still struggle sometimes. “Lord, but I thought …” or “But isn’t this a good expectation?” Yet I imagine I’m somewhat like Job who thought he had the right to ask God a question when he didn’t have the faintest idea what was really going on.

That’s why I’ve chosen a theme, not just a word, for 2018: Wait and see. I want to let go of my expectations and let God have His own way in my life. Sure, I still have goals I’m working toward, but I’m trying to hold loosely onto them. For you visual friends, the mental image that goes along with this theme is an open hand. I want God to give or take away whatever He sees fit.

In other words, I need to desire, not any specific outcome, but simply the Lord Himself. My expectation needs to be from Him, because at the end of the day, only He can satisfy.

And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. (Psalm 39:7 NKJV)

I love the start of a new year because it holds so many possibilities. In 2018, let’s not get wrapped up in our own agendas. Let’s be willing for God to surprise us with His best.

Wait and see.

~ Kristen

Tweetables

Be willing for God to surprise you with His best – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

New Year’s Theme: Wait and See – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

New Smells, New Year, and 3 Timeless Truths

I remember when I bought my first car after college. It had belonged to one owner before me and still had a faint new car smell. Even more potent was the feeling of buying a car for the first time. Perhaps you can think of an experience when life brought a “new smell.”

Today, we’re on the cusp of 2018. Perhaps 2017 was a year of tremendous blessing for you, but maybe, it also brought unexpected trials or changes that have been particularly hard. For some, looking over the year doesn’t leave a warm fuzzy feeling.

While reflecting on the past has its place, even more important is focusing on what lies before us. 2018 is a gift. It’s as if God is handing us the keys to a new car that will take us both exciting and unexpected places. There will be new adventures and challenges. There might also be some flat tires or even a fender bender along the way.

We don’t know what to expect when we pass the start line of a new year, but we can hold to God’s timeless promises that offer fresh hope in 2018.

Click here to read the full post. Special thanks to The Paige Project for the invitation to guest blog!

~ Kristen

Tweetable

God’s timeless promises offer fresh hope in 2018 – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

2017 Keyword: Simplicity

micah-6-8Looking ahead holds such hope and excitement, but before we talk about the New Year, we should take a moment to look back and be thankful for all God has done.

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.

One way I’m simplifying is to move all my posts to this website: kristenhogrefe.com. I love the journey ThinkTrueThoughts.com has taken, and in 2017, it’s merging with my main website.

The challenges, giveaways, and goodies you found at ThinkTrueThoughts.com aren’t going away! They’re just moving here. If you’ve subscribed, you will still receive the email newsletter; it will just have a different name.

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.

Irresistible Simplicity

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.

~ Kristen

 

Tweetables

2017 Keyword: Simplicity – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Embracing Simplicity in the New Year – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)