How are you feeling so far this year?
I will not lie: I was ready for 2022 to come to an end!
2022 felt like a year of relentless challenges. One thing and then another a first, but then the cadence started to speed up and soon the challenges were overlapping.
Can you relate?
I spent the first half of the year trying as hard as I could to minimize challenges. I plotted and planned to make our days easier.
Out of sheer necessity (aka when all that trying-hard-plotting-planning didn’t “work”), I finally surrendered. The challenges, which felt outside my control, kept coming. And rather than continuing to use my efforts to make them stop, I asked myself a question that changed it all for me mid-year.
I asked, “If these relentless challenges were actually for me, what might I be able to see God doing in my life?”
I quickly scribbled in my journal that, “My capacity to hold the hard stuff is expanding and my resilience is getting stronger.” I also jotted down in the biggest letters, “SURRENDER!!!”
There it was: capacity, resilience, surrender.
My 2022 can be summed up in those three words. And, that’s why I’m calling my 2022 the year of the furnace.
When you have a home, there are moments when you invest in the home that feel SO fun. A new couch that you get to sink into with an awesome new book. A set of ceramic mugs that you admire as you sip your morning coffee. A piece of art that takes you to places in your imagination. A fresh coat of paint that infuses the space with fresh energy.
And, there are moments when you have to make big investments in the home to keep the home healthy, optimally functioning, and safe, that feel like the opposite of fun. Like, when you have to replace the furnace.
A year of relentless challenges, a year of stretching my capacity to hold, a year of strengthening resilience, and a year that – at times – brought me to my knees praying in surrender… it wasn’t the cozy new couch or the fresh coat of paint. It was a furnace.
It was an investment in my home that will make it healthy, optimally functioning, and safe. But DANG was it the opposite of fun.
Sometimes something that is good and necessary isn’t fun.
At the very end of 2022, I kept seeing the same thing when I would close my eyes. As they almost always do, visions take me to the ocean. I could see myself in the water, trying with everything I could to get to the shore. The waves kept getting bigger and more frequent. Engulfing my whole self and giving me almost no time to catch air in between. I could see myself getting exhausted and, despite all my best efforts, I was getting nowhere near the shore.
All I wanted was to crawl onto the soft sand, lay on my back, and rest.
Yet, all I was experiencing was more and more and more waves making that impossible.
As I watched this play out in my mind, I witnessed a shift in myself. I could sense that I understood, “you’re not getting to that shore. You’re not meant to be on that shore.”
Exhausted and defeated, I could also see a sense of peaceful knowing that there was nothing I could do to change that truth. Surrender washed over me, like the waves, and I stopped trying to swim. Instead, I turned my face toward the clouds and began to float on top of the waves slowly out into the ocean.
This is where I’m at as we enter this year. Deep surrender. Floating out into the deep waters with no clue where the current will take me.
I know – deep down – that the capacity, resilience, and surrender I gained from 2022 (a furnace year) are here with me on purpose.
I look forward to a time in the future when I can share with you what this was all for and where the waves ended up taking me! But for now, I can’t see a thing no matter which direction I look.
Here’s to the adventure(s) this year will bring.