Happy New Year, all! Hope your 2017 is off to a great start!
2016 was a difficult year for many people. For us, it wasn’t bad. It was pretty good overall. No major tragedies in our family – immediate or (close) extended. In our extended-extended families there were more challenges – like the members of our family who miscarried twin girls or those who lost everything but each other in the flooding in Baton Rouge. That story isn’t mine to tell, but some of what’s happened to them in the last few months is nothing short of amazing – and even miraculous.
As for my writing career, it’s seen some ups and downs – though the downs weren’t BAD by any stretch, just not as good as the good. I was able to quit my day job*, though there were other factors involved in the decision. Writing, and selling, books enabled me to even have the choice to work at home full time.
That said, I didn’t hit all of my goals for my writing this year. Income wise I did fine, but I’d hoped, planned even, to write (and publish) so much more. For a variety of reasons, some in my control, some not, it didn’t happen.
But there was one thing I spent a lot of time doing, successfully, last year.
Many of you may have seen authors you follow or other friends talking about their “one word” for the year. This is a word they believe is their focus for the next twelve months. Maybe it’s diligent or peace or joy or dedication or any of a thousand other words they want to focus on. It’s often paired with a verse along the same lines. I know I’ve had one before, but I don’t see that I’ve ever posted about it on my blog.
Last year, I didn’t post it publicly. I’m not sure I ever made a decision about a word or just kind of thought something in my head. I don’t even remember what it was.
But I began doing, began sort of focusing, on one word – or concept – that really defined my year in many ways. I didn’t think of it in the “one word” sense, until my friend Ginger Solomon posted that it’s her word(s) for 2017.
I love that! I love it for her – because she deserves to dream big and have those dreams come true!!! I’m so proud of her!
I dreamed big last year. This year has something else – something beyond – in my mind… a sense of expectation, of anticipation, that made it… more.
Another friend (also named Ginger ;)) was over on New Year’s Day, and we discussed this at length. “Dream Bigger” or “Dream Even Bigger” was kind of where I thought it was headed, but it felt like stealing from Ginger S., though people often have the same word of the year as someone else.
Even after that settled in my mind, I knew it wasn’t… right. It didn’t fit.
Ginger V. and I went through a bunch of options, phrases, themes, etc. that encompassed it, but still none quite fit that sense of promise or prospect I feel God calling me to.
So tonight I Googled (isn’t that where everyone goes when they can’t quite put their finger on something?!) for verses about “God can do anything” – because when it boils right down to it, I can dream as big as I want, but it’s God who holds everything in His hands.
The first verse that popped up wasn’t exactly what I was thinking, but is exactly what I was looking for without realizing it.
Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (BSB, emphasis mine)
The first page that popped had the verse from The Message. I don’t normally use it, but the way it worded the first section caught my eye and sent me digging for the others:
God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! (part of Eph. 3:20, The Message)
I texted Ginger V. and asked her about “beyond wildest dreams” – but it wasn’t until I hit up BibleHub for other translations (including BSB) and I read verse 21 that it all clicked.
Not just more.
Not a little bit. Not a lot. Infinitely.
Yeah. That fits.
When you read the verses, it’s talking about giving glory to God – because He alone is capable of infinitely more. Anything I accomplish this year is through Him and by Him and for Him.
And with Him**, I can do and be infinitely more. Exceedingly abundantly above/beyond/more what I can ask or think. Immeasurably more. Above and beyond.*** Like the Milky Way, outer space, in the header pic today.
So my words for the year are infinitely more – because God is capable, and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)
Which reminds me… it’s time to get to work ;). Later this week, I’ll be outlining my goals for the year, including an updated What’s in the Works and What I’m Working on Now post.
*I had a fantastic part-time job teaching American Government and Politics one or two classes a week (2.5 hours of time inside the classroom per section). Officially, I took the fall (and now spring) off and could go back, but once classes have been given to someone else, it’s notoriously difficult to get them back.
**The Story of With – by Allen Arnold…incredible
***All from other translations