It was in July that God started whispering the word to my heart. And it made me cringe.
My word of the year for 2014 was "Hope." Let's be honest, who doesn't like a word like hope? Sure I entered into 2014 with my hope tank all but depleted. I was afraid to dream or be hopeful after what seemed like years of tragedy after tragedy with the most recent being the loss of yet another child.
But hope is full of promise. Of expectation. Of excited anticipation of what could be. Hope for what may lie ahead. And 2014 did in fact prove to be the year of hope. It was a year of joy and peace. Of new career opportunities and renewed joy. A year of looking toward new dreams and a hopeful future.
But right in the middle of last summer I was burnt out. And so I took my birth month off from almost everything in my life that pulled me toward striving, busyness, and too much of many good things. And in that month God started whispering it. "Less," He said.
And when I heard that word, I knew. Sure, I wanted to run away from God's voice and all the implications of it. But even then I knew He was calling me to a season of less. A prelude, if you will, to 2015.
Toward the end of summer I took an active roll in the leadership team of IF:Orlando. Early on I heard God's voice again. "Less," He said. "Lay it down," He said. "Let someone else lead." Instead, I tried disobedience on for size. Willful disobedience.
And it was miserable. I was overworked and overstressed, and not receiving any joy from a gathering of women that should have brought me exceeding joy.
And so after fulfilling my obligations I sent and email to the other members of the leadership team. An email I did not want to write. "God has called me to less," I said. "I have to lay IF down."
The year ended in the most unexpected way with my dad's death. But in the midst of intense grief, God began preparing my heart for 2015 and for a year of less. With my dad's passing on December 9, the Christmas season was stripped away to the bare essentials. I did not send cards or bake tons of cookies. My decorations were minimal. My celebration was tempered and I learned that a merry Christmas can be found in places most unlike the Hallmark Channel movies.
Even so I entered 2015, still a bit unprepared to commit to a word like "less" for an entire year. While I understand stripping away a lot of good things means leaving space for more great things, I was convinced that stripping part couldn't be that easy. I had no idea how right I was.
We are still in the first quarter of this new year and I find myself with less of EVERYTHING. I am just over a week into a new life in Texas. I have had to leave behind a strong community, a church family that feels like home, a city I loved, and a life that felt comfortable. To top it off God has me living in a micro space that feels nothing like home no matter how many trips to Target I make.
In case you were in doubt, God has a sense of humor.