2017 has been the hardest year of my life so far. It's funny because I just now am putting together the pieces of what this year was supposed to be for me.
Last year was my breakthrough year — my word was “light” and I did beautiful things and learned beautiful things and turned twenty-four, but most importantly I learned that it was possible for someone like me to break through the darkness.
At the end of 2016, when I was deciding on a word for the next year, I became fixated on "renew" because it was what I knew I needed — to make over, begin again. And looking back on it now, I wonder if it was more of a prayer than it was a goal. After I'd settled on the word, I kept hearing the words "be brave" over and over, like they were bouncing all over my soul and I couldn't get away from them. Should I change my word? Somehow I knew I'd chosen the right word, but something about "be brave" stuck out to me.
Then it happened. February of this year, I lost the job I had cried tears over, grown at and loved at. I was only an assistant manager, only a restaurant worker, only a mentor to teenagers, only a friendly face at a cash register, only a person barely making ends meet.
It hit me hard and sent me into a bout of depression, hopelessness, and a sense of worthlessness. I had to quit personal training and go back to the beginning on everything. Where do I go from here?
At times, I don't mind admitting I wondered if I even had a life to look forward to anymore — I wondered if I needed to throw in the towel on the life I'd never asked for to begin with.
This week it finally clicked into place and I realized that the words "be brave" were directly from the Father because He was going to answer my prayer for renewal, but it wouldn't be easy. In fact it would be really, really hard and I'd have to lean into self-care and writing and working from home like never before. I'd have to learn to work out on my own and feed my body good food without anyone looking over my shoulder. I'd have to give up the love I'd been hoping for to fight for my own life. He knew that.
I'm still at the start of my battle, but I'm holding onto my words because I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. Renewal is difficult, gut-wrenching work but I'm placing a bet that it is completely worth it. I don't know how I'm going to finish writing my book or build my business or do any of the things that have been placed on my heart, but I'm going to be really, really brave and just keep pressing into this hard season. I've found there's really no other option.
And so, I don't where you're at. Maybe you're in a hard season too, or maybe you're in a good season--or maybe you're worried about the future. In any case, I hope you choose to be brave. I hope you choose your life. It's the only one you're given and I'd bet it's beautiful and worth it too.