The beginning of a new year is such a fun place to be. We can step away from the crud of last year and with anticipation, hope for all the new and exciting things to come this year. But for some of you it may be less hopeful. Maybe you have gotten a little jaded, as I have in the past. It can happen when, year after year, the high hopes you had for what was to come turned to disappointment as the year came to a close.
I have been there and remember vividly the loss of hope with each passing year. But then something changed. Here’s my story of what one thing led to my best year yet.
Christmas 2013 …
I was fresh off a breakup and ready for the new year. I was so tired of the old and so hopeful for what lay ahead. I was moving into a cute new apartment by myself and for some reason I just felt like 2014 was going to be my year.
I stumbled a little through the spring, and soon enough I was tired again and felt desperate for something in my life to change. That’s when it happened. That one thing that changed my year and ultimately my life.
Surrender. I surrendered everything I hoped for, dreamed about, & planned for my future. I surrendered it all.
What happened after that moment of surrender was nothing short of God working my life and you can never convince me otherwise. For years, the 2 areas of life for me that felt the most stagnant had been in relationships and in my calling in life. I had wrestled for a decade with figuring out my path on my own and the moment I handed those areas over to God, He began to move. Just a few months later, God put it on my heart to write a devotional for singles (and has since led to a desire to write devotionals full time). And then 2 weeks later I met my husband.
As I have pieced this all together in hindsight, I have found that my lack of surrender over the years seemed to actually be hindering things from happening in my life. It’s as if I was fighting with God over who was writing my story. I kept the pen and I was writing what I thought I wanted. Sure He could have ripped the pen from my grasp and done what He planned in my life regardless, but that is not how God usually works. I could never understand why things just never worked out, in relationships and career, but looking back I am grateful they didn’t unfold as I had hoped.
What I discovered when I surrendered my future to Him, with my whole heart and trusting Him fully, was that He had so much in store for me. I had just always been standing in the way. Surrender in my life unleashed the work of God in my life, and my only regret is that I never did it sooner. I found a God who is so, so very good and so faithful to me. And essentially a new way of life.
If you are looking to make this the best year yet, I want to challenge you to wholeheartedly surrender your future to Him and stand back. You will see Him do amazing things with your life. He has great things planned for you – you just need to allow Him the space in your life for Him to do it!
Before I end, I want to remind you that the goodness from God that comes from surrender may not always look good at first. It may take time to see the fruit of what is happening, but don’t let that make you doubt what His faithfulness.
Special note to my single ladies :
As we kick off 2017, I want to encourage you specifically to seek the Lord wholeheartedly this coming year and surrender all the plans that you have to the Lord. I want this to be your year! I want it to be the year that you look back on that unleashed so much of the Lord’s goodness in your life.
I have spoken to a few gals recently who found it on their hearts to make it a goal to be intentional in dating this year, but haven’t known what that looks like. I can’t really give any advice on what that looks like, but I do want to remind you of one thing.
My fear in dating was that I would miss “the one”. That I had to figure it out (like on our first or second date!) if we were meant to be together. I made myself crazy analyzing the situation and put so much pressure on myself to just know.
Then finally relief came when I began to really understand the concept of abiding. It was the biggest revelation to realize that if I was abiding in the Lord and walking in step with Him, I could never miss “the one”. This took such a huge burden off of me to try to make something happen, keep something from happening, or worry that it was happening. (Can you tell I was an over thinker when it came to dating?! Lol!)
I’m not sure what your fear is in dating. Maybe its fear of heartbreak, or of the awkwardness of the first date. Maybe its a fear of putting yourself out there or of pushing the limits physically. The truth is that we have nothing to fear as we stay close to the Father. He will guide us through every date & relationship we encounter, we just need to be close enough to Him to hear the next step.
It’s easy to encourage you to abide, but I want to do more. So I want to invite you gals to go through the Wholeheartedly study with our Facebook group together starting in February. Come join the group and let us encourage one another to stay close to our greatest Counselor. Let’s have chats about what it looks like to date intentionally. And let it remind you that you are never alone as you navigate this season, that can sometimes feel lonely!
Also, be sure to check out the Single Life page for more encouragement :)
- 2016 Book Reviews
- 2017 Word of the Year
- 2017 Goals
- 2017 Book List
- 2017 My Year
Check out my sister, Vals series for more inspiration!
Thank you for writing this! I definitely think I need to surrender my future to God. I was wondering if you could offer any advice on how one could actively practice this in their daily life? I tell myself things like ‘don’t worry, give it to God,’ but later I find that somehow I’ve started to let worry creep in again. Any advice on what I can do to make sure I keep the goal of surrendering, would be so appreciated!
You are so sweet! There are a few things I remember that made a difference in surrendering daily. 1. I love to actually put my hands out as if to offer my future to the Lord. Its a visual representation and I feel like the heart begins to follow. With your hands out and open it is showing that you are not keeping a tight grasp on what you want or what you already have, and also that you are ready to receive whatever He has planned for you! I seriously just love being physical about it! 2. Another game changer for me was making a list of all the things that the Lord has done in the past! (My sister Val even has a journal with prompts on this same thing – her “Fresh Courage” journal). When you can look back on the things and see His faithfulness in the past it is so much easier to trust Him with your future. His faithfulness may not always be obvious to us in the rush of life, so thats why we sometimes need to sit and pray about it. Ask Him to remind you about when He has provided for you so that you can have the strength to release your future to Him !
I hope that gives you a good start, but definitely email me if you want to chat any more :)
I really appreciate you taking the time to respond, and giving such a thoughtful response! Your suggestions are really helpful and I’ll definitely remember these going forward. Thanks so much!