At the time of writing, we are six days into a brand new year. How is it going so far? Although I am late to the party, Happy New Year to you, dear reader. As this is embarrassingly late to qualify as a New Year post, I would still like to remind you that today is a new day. Tomorrow will be a new day too. This is wonderful news for those who think they have to wait until the next year to start afresh. You can begin again at any time.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
As I have crossed over the threshold into 2023, I have been reflecting on a few things to explore this year:
- Relational, face-to-face interactions will be a priority.
I’m not sure if it’s all the facemasks over the last few years thanks to Covid, but I love to see people’s faces. How they light up with a smile or the furrowed look of disbelief. The sadness and the joy. Tears of laughter as well as tears of sorrow. But more than just looking at someone, I want to spend intentional time with them. I am so very thankful for video calls. May there be more of those if an in-person meeting is not possible. Yet, I am hoping to intentionally spend time conversing, listening, and learning from others this year, if possible in person. We were created to be in relationships with other people, just like our God longs for us to be in relationship with Him. In 2023, I really want to be present with people. I am trying to remember life before the online sphere came to dominate, and I am seeking to reclaim some ground back!
- Valuing my local church and community.
This looks a lot like serving in the local church in different ways this year, and perhaps volunteering in some capacity elsewhere. There is a lot of need, and I am walking by faith and trusting the Lord will lead me to where and where I can be of most help.
- Offering mentoring to those who long to be encouraged.
I am very excited about the launch of Hope Mentoring in the spring which will be a FREE service to support and encourage women who are longing to connect with God and others, but are perhaps struggling or isolated in some way. I hope they will be able to discover that they are valued, loved, and have meaning and purpose, whilst knowing more of Jesus through time together in the Bible, prayer and heart-felt, edifying conversations.
- Writing more without losing sight of the main thing.
At the end of 2022, I was thinking about what direction I wanted to take my writing. For the majority of last year, I spent time thinking I had to have some sort of business or make more money for what I do. I feel sad that this dominated my thoughts for a lot the time. It’s been a real struggle at times. But praise the Lord, I have been gently reminded by God, by others who have reached out to encourage me, and my own convictions about writing, that everything I do here is a ministry. It is to point people to Jesus always. It’s not about money. God will provide all of my needs as and when I need them. This year I do not want to lose sight of the main thing which is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. He has entrusted me with a wonderful role in writing for His glory. I do not want to get distracted from what He has so clearly called me to.
- Encouraging others as a way of life.
I want to spend more of 2023 encouraging others. I am ashamed and embarrassed that my natural tendency is to swing toward selfishness. The Lord is helping me by His grace to walk in step with Him more and more. I have often made decisions in the past based on: what I needed to do to further my ability or my influence, how others would react (I am working on not people-pleasing but it’s hard…), what it would cost, risk etc. There is an element of weighing things up and using wisdom in daily life of course. But I don’t want to spend 2023 thinking as much about myself. Even if the cost is great. One of the ways I want to focus less on me is to focus more on others and encourage them more. I want to write those Amazon reviews to bless authors. If someone needs a hand, and I can lend it, I want to do so willingly. I want to get in touch with others over the phone who I have not spoken to for a while to see how they are (careful, it might be you!). If I spend any time on social media, I want it to actually be ‘social’. I will leave comments and if someone has encouraged me, I’ll aim to let them know that they have. A few examples, but you get the idea.
These are just some of the steps I am taking in 2023. These are not resolutions, but hopefully they will be a part of what makes this year less about me and more about the Lord and other people. What about you? Have you had some time to reflect on this upcoming year? Let me know!