I’ve never been big on new year’s resolutions, but I made two at the start of 2017: leaning into the unknown, and continuing to explore the world around me by being intentional about reading not only more often, but reading a wider range of diverse voices.
To no one’s surprise, it didn’t take long before I broke these resolutions. I’ve read more this year than I have since my English Lit undergrad days, and my selections were a bit more varied, but I didn’t even come close to meeting my goal of reading a chapter per day. I can’t in good conscience say I even averaged a chapter per week. And as for leaning into the unknown? Well, let’s just say my favorite spots are still my favorite spots and I’m pretty sure my go-to sandwich delivery shop knows me by name.
Luckily, God is capable of redeeming so much more than a couple of broken resolutions. So I shouldn’t be surprised that, as I look back on 2017 both personally and professionally, I’ve seen the heart of these resolutions—exploring the world and leaning into the unknown—take shape in ways I never thought they would 12 months ago.
One highlight of my year was a 10-day trip through Europe with two great friends. I was able to soak in the wonder of the world our God created while kayaking an Alpine lake in Switzerland, exploring the old-world architecture of Prague, or taking in the unsettling-but-invigorating juxtaposition of modern bustling city and medieval town squares in Stockholm. It was an incredible trip, and the best moments came when I looked at my surroundings and was completely in awe of God’s creativity, grace, and goodness.
All this took place in the middle of a stretch of time where I was able to celebrate the weddings of five close friends and my sister. As I was basking in the wonder of the things God created for us to enjoy, I was also seeing the wonder of the goodness of relationships and community He designed us to live in. The combination of weddings and an incredible trip was an extraordinary gift from God, who used the summer to remind me to enjoy Him and His gifts—whether breathtaking landscapes or the opportunity to celebrate with the people I love most. What a great way to explore all the beauty of God’s world.
As for the leaning into the unknown? Well, my work at One 17 has that pretty well covered. When God began to burden our hearts with bigger vision and the desire to branch out to ministry among Unreached People Groups, it would’ve been easy to continue to focus only on Haiti. I’m grateful for the leadership of Curtis and our Board of Directors who decided we weren’t going to take the easy route. I can’t wait to see what the coming years bring as we continue to lean into a bigger vision and grow more in tune with God’s heart for the world.
In my role specifically, I was challenged and encouraged to take more ownership of our communications as I shifted my role from Development Assistant to Director of Communications. It was a big shift for me, and there were definitely times when I was convinced I wasn’t up for the challenge. But, as I took steps of risk and sought God in the unknown, it became an incredibly rewarding challenge to take on a new world of ownership of our storytelling vision and communications strategy.
At One 17, we talk a lot about the stories God’s writing for us and the roles He’s calling us into. This year, more than ever, He’s showing me that development and risk-taking and pushing ourselves are all part of the role we’re privileged to play in His story for the world. As in any good story, we aren’t created to be static characters who reach a plateau and stay there. God—the ultimate storyteller—has so much more in store for us. And as I’ve continued to trust Him in the risk and in the unknown, He’s revealed His character to me in new, exciting, breathtakingly beautiful ways.