It is 2016. I can’t BELIEVE it. I am a little sad to see 2015 go as it was one of my better years of the last few. I realized it was because I started the year with a specific word than I prayed about and focused on. That word was: Brave.
When I meet people, they often think of me with strong adjectives: Bold. Independent. Creative. Assertive. Outgoing. Willful. (These are the positive ones – negative ones like…stubborn…we will talk about those another day, haha!) These are all true descriptions of me, at least I think so, but a few years ago, some of these started to fade and I felt like I was losing a little bit of what made me, well, me.
Let me give you a little backstory : a lot of you know I changed my career focus a few years ago when I transitioned from acting to Christian music. I had calculated and planned my future in acting; I had NO clue what music would hold. It was quite scary. I also moved to Texas from California a few years ago, I didn’t know hardly anyone here. It was really hard to make friends: the days of college classes were long gone; I didn’t have a “normal” job in an office to meet people; even finding a church was hard without having any friends already or family to be involved with church stuff – plus I was out of town singing every weekend. For the first time in my life, I was lonely.
All of this led to some depression because like I said, I LOVE being around people and being busy with both work and play, and at times I was busy with neither. It sort of consumed me – if I got invited to something, I would try to come up with some excuse not to go. I think this was out of the growing loneliness in my mind affecting my outgoing nature. I would come of with excuses: I don’t feel like making small talk, I don’t want to be around strangers, they will all be judgmental of me and I don’t feel like dealing with that. I almost ALWAYS regretted NOT going later on in the evening or the next day. Then I would feel lonely again – it was just this stupid cycle I let myself fall in that doesn’t make sense to anyone unless you have been through it yourself.
So in 2015, I decided to make that change. My “word” of 2015 was “Brave.” I had felt a little defeated and insecure over the past few years and I decided that what needed to change was my confidence level. It started on the first day of the year, with me attempting a ski slope with my sister that was a steep, un-groomed black diamond run, with rocks and trees sticking out of it (note: I had to remind myself the word was “Brave” not “Insane” after that!) Then it was doing some things at church I didn’t do before like actually go to a small group when I was in town. I even signed up for online dating in an effort to meet some nice guys (Dear Diary: this works for some people, but NOT for me, thank you very much. But I did try it.) I also pulled the trigger on my girls’ conferences, something I had put off for years waiting for the “right time” that never seemed to come. Gradually things got not only better, but easier, more routine. I feel like I am more of the Julie God created for the first time in years.
Look – it takes time to get to a place you don’t want to be, so you need to understand, it takes time to get out of it. Changes like this don’t happen overnight and you can’t expect them to. Any change you want to make in your life needs to start with your relationship with God. You need to see yourself the way He sees you and you do this through prayer and strengthening that relationship. Your life needs to be built on a firm foundation, so that it doesn’t fall apart in change, in shifting sands.
God gives us free will and the choice to change. We need to choose to be the amazing women He created us to be and not let the darkness of this world get in the way. There are still times I want to just stay in and you know what, I try to be intentional about that (more on that next week…) but more often than not, I make myself go. I never regret it.
PS: My word in 2015 was “Brave.” My theme verse was actually the same one that was the theme for my last album:
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10
What is YOUR word for 2016? If you want to share it with us, please feel free to comment below! It is totally OK to keep it between you and God.
Write about why you chose that word and how you see it impacting your year. Now, Google it like this: “YOUR WORD scripture” – you will get some great results of scripture that talk about your word. Write some of these down or highlight them in your Bible. Find one that will be your theme verse for the year and write it down. Write your word in bold letters in your journal, maybe on a post-it on your mirror, on your cell phone, draw it, find (or make!) an Instagram pic – this is YOUR word. Own it.
Scripture to look at:
Matthew 7:24-27, 1 Chronicles 28:20, Philippians 4:13