As I’ve talked to friends and read post online wrapping up 2016, it’s hard to believe the vast differences of opinion floating around about the success or failure of this past year. For some it was the worst year of their life for others it was the best. From the death of loved ones to new babies each year brings about joys and challenges. On top of personal issues, this year we have faced national challenges, seen international terrorism affect the lives of thousands and experienced the tragic loss of pop icons all of which bring more emotional response thanks to the social media era we live in. My opinion of 2016 was that it had some really sucky moments… I shed tears with friends as they lost loved ones, I prayed hard for our nation during one of the strangest election seasons, and ministry transitions and disappointments popped in and out of the year; but there were also some really fabulous moments… I shared laughter with old and new friends on two fabulous vacations, I explored areas of the world that God created differently from where I live, I got to see people’s lives transformed in Jesus’ name and I built new relationships that are turning into great friendships. At the beginning of 2016, I posted a blog called “Tips for the best 2016”. Below I have responded to the 8 tips with ways I lived each of these out in 2016!
- I’m going to be authentically me. The best example of this from 2016 was the 10 minutes I spent with a photojournalist who then took that 10 minute conversation and turned it into a post seen round the world as thousands of people read about my call to church planting and seeing people’s lives transformed for Christ. I was surprised how authentic I was in that conversation!
- I’m going to set goals…goals for each area of my life. Well I sat goals, and some of them I reached and some of them I didn’t reach… but I feel good with the success and failures, realizing they both lead to positive growth!
- I’m going to work hard. In early December I hosted two mission teams to pull off two coat distributions in the Ravenswood/Queensbridge area. This was the first year we had two groups and divided our distribution sites, as I finished that weekend I realized I had worked really hard and God had accomplished a lot through these efforts.
- I’m going to rest hard. The more I get to know myself and love myself the way God intended the easier it gets to rest in the Lord and enjoy His blessings. As strange as this sounds my trip to London was one of the most restful times of the year. My lifelong friend, Melody was teaching there and invited me over for a visit. It was so refreshing being with this friend, it was refreshing to stroll around another city, learn more about culture and see the beauty of a place I have never been.
- I’m going to love well. This year we have had several new church planting team members join church plants in NYC, there are two specifically that I feel like I loved well through their time of transition, helping them think through budgets, housing, questions/doubts, having tough conversations from time to time and being a friend for them to cry with things got hard. This has been one of my favorite parts of the year!
- I’m going to live optimistically. Early in the summer, I faced what I thought was a very difficult challenge in what is normally one of my favorite parts of ministry. Typically, I would have wallowed in it for weeks and let it strip me of the confidence I needed but this time, I faced the situation, had the difficult conversation and moved forward with the right attitude and it didn’t effect every area of my life for weeks.
- I’m going to think like Jesus. While leading my New City small group this year, I lived this out! I walked through Scriptures and topics with my group trying to speak not from me but from Him.
- I’m going to be grateful. This fall I had a local friend on my heart and mind to approach about joining my support team. This is always a hard ask because I know what I am doing is important but insecurities and doubt creep in pretty often and I’d never asked a local friend (i.e. a NYer) to join my team. Before I got the chance to ask she started sending donations and let me know she wanted to make that a regular thing. I was blown away by this and was so grateful that God was working on both of our hearts on this matter!
Praise the Lord for 2016! In hard times and good, God worked in mighty ways not only in my own life but in others as well! What are some blessings and struggles you saw God move you through this year?