Around 11:55 PM on New Year’s Eve, most of us were probably feeling really hopeful that 2019 would be our best year yet. Maybe 2018 wasn’t so great and you just needed to believe 2019 would be different. Or maybe 2018 was great and you imagined, now that things were finally on the upswing, they’d keep getting higher.
But here it is, mid-July of that year we promised would be the best year yet, and maybe it’s not?
Those “Make 201_ the best year yet” articles (to which I found tons in a Google search) are really encouraging, but if you find yourself midway through a year you’d hardly give that idealistic label, I want to give some encouragement.
This won’t be a rehashing of the same New Year’s hype peptalk. This will be raw and reflective and full of hope for the remaining 6 months of the year.
Here are eight things to do if 2019 has tossed you around.
What we see as the best year is rarely how God will define the best year yet. This year might be refining you in ways that are hard to see beyond the lost opportunities and setbacks. I truly hope it’s amazing but more than anything I pray it will be a refining year where you will grow closer to the Lord like never before. So many times it’s hard circumstances that do that.
Take time to process what’s happening and what maybe isn’t happening?
• Why not?
• Something you chose?
• Something out of your control?
This might seem extreme for a seemingly casual post about #bestyearever but let’s be honest. Sometimes the reason the year isn’t going how we planned isn’t just things that happened to us unexpectedly, but foolish choices we made. Confess them. Turn away from them and make a sharp turn toward obedience to God.
2020 Yearly Prayer Journal
FIND FOCUS. ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS. EXPERIENCE GOD.
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Stay faithful. Sometimes it’s not that anything went wrong or you did anything wrong but simply that things take time. A “bad” start to the year is not the sign of an uncaring or invisible God. It’s a sign that we are finite human beings who don’t fully see the plan. What if waiting simply reminded us that we aren’t God. What a positive thing that could be! Things happen during the waiting that we may never fully know until heaven so don’t lose hope. Now might be the pivotal point where you decide to stay faithful or disciplined when your instinct is to quit. I promise quitting on God won’t help you.
The same God over the best year ever is still God over every other year. Don’t wait to worship Him until things seem good! Do not let your circumstance determine whether you praise God. I recently heard a sermon from Louie Giglio on worship and he said: “Define the circumstances by the character of God instead of defining God by the circumstances.” Remember what initiates our worship. Not what happens to us but who God is.
Watch this sermon if you are feeling discouraged by the year so far and be reminded of how those things don’t change how good God is. *You’ll want to see the visual elements if you can, but it’s available on podcast too!
It’s really easy to let our own hardships keep us from celebrating the wins of others. Find someone to celebrate today! I have seen this so clearly in my sister’s life. She got married at 31 and as you can imagine, her 20s were filled with bridesmaid dresses, weddings and baby showers. And she celebrated the heck out of people despite those things reminding her of what she didn’t have and honestly wasn’t sure she’d ever have (her words, not mine). And you know what? Celebrating others gave her joy! I’ve seen the reverse, someone allowing their own wait to cause them to not celebrate others and it didn’t bring joy. It brings neutrality at best and at worst, just keeps us focused on our own hardship which never brings joy. Bonus: My sister has an incredible devotional she’s relaunching soon. Follow her to find out when!
I’ve talked a ton on the role our minds play. It’s a big part of my story in changing my motherhood and escaping a melancholy mindset. Here are some resources to get you started:
- Blog post: Embracing a biblical view of affirmations
- Challenge: Renew Challenge
- Podcast: Craig Groeschel’s Mastermind Series
- Book: Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday (for a new mom mindset that I promise will bless 2019) and Switch on Your Brain
There’s a reason why we have a “Big Goals” section in our yearly prayer journal. Because God cares. It’s not noble to withhold your goals from God because you don’t want to bother him with the small things. It’s our version of playing God and attempting to decide for him what’s worthy of His attention. Don’t do it. Bring it all to him. And if you’ve got the 6-month prayer journal (now on sale!) and want to utilize the “Big Goals” section, pre-orders for the yearly happen in August. Get notified here and get our best price all year.
How about we end with a quick prayer for the rest of 2019?
Father, thank you for this time you’ve given me right now. This year has a purpose and sometimes it’s hard to see in the hard stuff or even just the mundane. I wanted the #bestyearever and it feels like this year is already a loss. But I know you can redeem anything Lord. You redeemed a sinner like me! Christ lives in me and that right there means the next 6 months can be immeasurably more than I could imagine. In Jesus Name, Amen!