Theme for 2020: Love One Another

I remember when I was a little girl, there was a television show called 20/20. Of all the shows I watched, the one episode I remember is the one predicting we’d have flying cars by this year. To my young mind, the year 2020 seemed so far away that I wondered if they were right.

Turns out, they were wrong about the flying cars but right about how technology would revolutionize the way we communicate, work, and play. Coming out of a social media break over the holidays, I can better appreciate that and also realize the need for healthy limits.

Focus for the New Year

So many words came to mind as I was praying about a theme for 2020. I could have chosen the words intentional or priorities, because I genuinely want to keep “the main thing the main thing” this year.

However, more than being focused on goals, I want to focus on loving people. I know that sounds incredibly cliche.

But this verse from I John has been on my heart lately, and it seems so well to capture the desire James and I have for our lives.

“And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” (I John 3:23 NKJV)

I’m so thankful God doesn’t make our salvation and purpose complicated. (Truth be told, we’re the ones who complicate it.) Believe first. Then get busy loving people.

I confess that I’ve often tied my purpose to specific ministries and goals. But God didn’t say, “Get busy being involved,” although being plugged into a church community is a good thing. Instead, He said, “Love people.” I can love people wherever I am or whatever I’m doing.

God knows my desires. He knows better than I do the gifts and unique ways He’s equipped me to serve Him. More than anything, I want the Lord to show me how He wants to use me this year and how I can best love the people who cross my path.

A Hands-Open Approach to Goals

So yes, I still have my goals, but I desire to walk humbly as I approach them. James 4 provides such a wise perspective:

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15 NKJV)

In other words, I want an open-hands approach to goals, not a clenched fist. I want God to shape and change them as He sees best. That’s going to be a challenge for this over-achiever to remember!

This year, I want to be people-focused over goals-focused, with God directing each step.

Will you join me in seeking to love others well in 2020? What desires has God placed on your heart for the new year?

~ Kristen

Theme for 2019: Choose What is Better

Hello, dear friends! Even though we’re a few days into 2019, I still want to wish you a happy New Year. In fact, these “extra days” I’ve taken to consider a theme for this year reflect the theme itself.

The Kristen you know is a planner, an organizer, a deadline-driven achiever. The Kristen of 2018 would have made sure she sent out her monthly newsletter on January 1, because that’s what her calendar said she should do.

I think the Kristen of 2019 is going to be different. Especially as I prepare for my wedding, I’m realizing there are just some things I can’t control and some things that need more time. Merging two lives is wonderful, miraculous … but also messy. I’m learning to re-prioritize as I pray and prepare for a godly marriage and home with Christ at the center. I’m hoping for courage to be selfless and sacrificial, which may mean giving up what I want sometimes for what is better.

This is the lesson Martha had to learn the hard way. When she offered to host Jesus in her home, she immediately became task-focused. She lost sight of loving people and listening to Jesus in her obsession with preparing the perfect meal and being hostess of the year. When she saw her sister Mary simply sitting at Jesus’ feet, she “lost it” and in her to-do list tunnel-vision, demanded that Jesus tell Mary to help.

Jesus had to remind her what was better:  

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41 NIV).

Choose what is better. That’s my prayer and theme for 2019. I truly believe I am called to write and continue this ministry, but I have other callings as well: to my fiancé/future husband, to family and friends, to teaching, to my church, to the people and opportunities God places in my life. Oftentimes, I can’t “plan” for what these responsibilities may require. So if the blog doesn’t post on schedule, and the newsletter runs a few days late, I’m going to be okay with that.

May God bless your 2019 with wisdom to choose what is better over what is simply good.

~ Kristen

Tweetable

Theme for 2019: Choose What is Better – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

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)