While doing some year end reflection and planning, to my surprise, I discovered a word, a plan, and a prayer to wrap up a year unlike any other. I sense these three things will also help me begin next year well.
The last few years I’ve been prompted to do some year end reflections and planning. My good friend Christa encourages me and a variation of her method is what I’ve recently incorporated. This year, I did my year end processing early and was surprised to find not only some revelations on the year but some ideas for next year, too.
First, a word…
The last few years I’ve focused on a word for the year. I was struggling with what 2021’s should be and thought how some have been more impactful than others. Joy and a present presence were particularly powerful words in my life. 2020’s word was teach. I felt like this would be manifested in some online courses I hoped to create, my MemoryMinders clients, and maybe my family in 2020. Then, many of my plans paused as I shifted to supporting my family with online learning, more working from home, and adding a very energetic puppy to the mix. Aside from the pandemic causing said shift, all of these changes were meaningful, just not what I planned.
In reflecting on the word teach, I realized while not anticipated, it was a year of teaching my family, clients, and even our puppy many necessary things. It was influential, just not how I envisioned. Sort of sums up 2020 well-impactful in ways we never imagined.
So in praying for direction for 2021, God lead me to read 1 Corinthians 15:58:
Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (NRSV)
A few things stuck out to me. First, being steadfast. The definition is resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering. This is what I desire. To be steadfast in my faith, with my family and friends, and in my work. Secondly, the latter part of the verse discusses our work. Honestly, 2020 felt like a bit of a wash regarding work. But as I was wondering what was next earlier this year, God showed me my work still mattered and provides me (and hopefully others) joy and encouragement. This verse seemed to confirm that as well as say what I did do in 2020 was not in vain. So, there it is-my verse and a word for 2021-steadfast.
Next, a plan…
A few years back, I created a system for the varied areas of my life: work, family, personal etc. So a few days ago, I prayed, worked on some goals and ideas, discussed some of it with a trusted friend, and made a plan. I then began to fill in commitments, events, and ideas for 2021 in a simple, yet helpful planner I found a few years back.
I still need to tease out details on the big projects and goals. But the smaller yet powerful practices like daily quiet time, exercising mind and body daily, menu planning, eating healthy, and weekly planning are habits I’m already working to improve. Yet, if 2020 taught us anything, it’s to hold our plans loosely while remembering Who is in control. We may not always be able to achieve all our goals, but making them will help doing what God has called us to easier. So I’ve made plans, given them to God, and will chip away until I sense another direction from Him.
Last and most importantly, a prayer…
We all have expectations for 2021. For me, the course ahead includes some anticipated knowns and new untraveled paths. But honestly, that’s true in any new year. The Bible reminds us that we may plan, but God directs our steps. I pray you find a word, a plan, and a prayer for your new year. But before this year ends, I want to leave you with a prayer for all of us.
Please pray with me:
Lord, we know you are in control and have felt your Presence in this difficult year. While we don’t always understand your ways, we trust in them. While we don’t always know what’s next, you do. Thank you for helping us see you and trust your Sovereignty in fresh ways this past year. Help us bring this renewed trust in you to the new year. Fortify our faith and strengthen us to navigate the paths ahead with You as our Guide. Continue to be our present Presence in all our days. Help us to remain steadfast in our faith and actions, shining your light to those around us and the world. Lead us in all we do. We ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.