Was it just me or was 2016 one of the most challenging years you’ve lived through?? OMG!! Just the thought of some of the experiences I had to grow through makes me even more grateful and thankful to God that I survived!! I don’t think I have ever been so happy to welcome in a new year, just to close the book on the previous one. The beginning of every year is an exciting time for me because I literally envision it as the start of a new chapter in my book of life, filled with blank pages that will hold the truth of every day God blesses me to experience. It’s also a time that I partake in a 21-day corporate fast with my church family. Fasting is essential to the soul, and I like to fast because my soul is fed, it strengthens my spirit, and renews my body, making it the perfect time for me to hear clearly from God concerning my life. Fasting also requires a lot of discipline. The moment I decide to fast, is the moment when the very thing I am fasting automatically becomes enticing to me and I want it; but I always resist the temptation, because the purpose of me fasting is much greater than the temptation. Furthermore, I know my time of fasting is for a definite time, and then I can freely indulge in whatever it is I chose to fast from. The funny part is most times when the fast is over I don’t even want what I was fasting from, because it’s no longer a temptation to my flesh.
One of my life’s goals is to continuously grow as a woman in all areas of my life. I see growth as bringing about continuous life, which at times is painful, because it involves making changes to the comfort level I am attaining with who I am-inside and out; but necessary because change is an inevitable part of the growth process which assists us in evolving into the men and women God has purposed for us to be on this journey called life. Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV) reads: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.” Words carry one of the most powerful vibrations; they can either speak life or death to a situation. During my time of fasting, I create a vision board for the year because I understand the importance of writing down my life goals; as well as the importance of seeing them on paper. By writing my vision on paper, I am creating the very thoughts of God for my life and placing them in the atmosphere…which is so powerful!! I have moments and even some days that I get discouraged because I have allowed the circumstances surrounding my present situation to speak louder than my faith in God, BUT when I see my vision board and begin to see my desires and goals coming to fruition, I am encouraged all over again, and inspired to continue to be patient and keep working towards my goals.
I usually publish a blog post on New Year’s Eve sharing my take-a-ways for the year, but after I looked at my 2016 vision board, I decided not to publish a post. I absolutely had some take-a-ways to share that helped me grow spiritually, but because none of my desired growth on my vision board manifested in the natural, I felt like a total failure. I didn’t want to share anything with anyone, even if I thought it might inspire him or her to grow, because I didn’t feel like I was in the physical places I should be in my life. I even started writing a blog post on the fruit of patience entitled My Wait: A Lesson in Patience, and I pressed pause on publishing the rest of the post. As the days, weeks, and months passed me by in 2016, I began to get discouraged because I wasn’t seeing the desired results I planned for at the beginning of the year. As 2017 was approaching, my biggest fear and hope was not to enter a new year in the same place-physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually-I was in during 2016.
During the fast, God revealed to me 2016 took me through experiences that taught me about my measure of faith, how He was honing the fruit of patience in my life, and the experiences I lived through taught me what it means to have faith in God in the process. I began to see 2016 was a year of ending cycles that were no longer serving our highest good in life, which included relationships (personal and professional), routines, habits, and most importantly, our way of thinking- to prepare for the “new” coming into our lives.
As I welcomed in 2017, I had a brand new hope for my life and my desires, and an even stronger faith in God that He was definitely going to do the miraculous, but as the days passed by in January and February, I noticed I was still holding on to the fear of failure I felt in 2016, because still nothing was happening for me yet in this new year. Habakkuk 2: 3 (NLT) reads “This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” Amen. God always shows us our beginning and end, but what we have to go through to get to the end is what builds our faith in the process.
We’ve all heard the cliché “New Year…New Me.” I have never been one to wait on the New Year to make necessary changes in my life, but for 2017, I see this phrase in a different light. Every experience I had in 2016 was preparation for 2017. Everything that manifests in the natural (Earth realm), must first be created in the spiritual realm. I had to first learn how to trust God 100% and live by faith, because that’s what living the God-kind of life is all about. I am believing God that 2017 is going to be a year “My Faith is Rewarded,” of “Open Doors,” and “More faith, Less Fear!!” I’m believing God for the manifestation of exactly that in every area of my life…and for your life too!!
Blessings, love, and peace to YOU!!