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ILLUMINATE the New Year!

This is part 3 of a three-part blog post on EMBRACE, ENVISION, ILLUMINATE for 2019. Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

Now that you’ve embraced your identity and envisioned the coming year, you may want to identify how you plan to grow in those areas or get where you’re going.

Part 3 - Follow a Road Map to ILLUMINATE Your 2019 Journey.

Engage the Holy Spirit to lead you by lighting the next step on your path.

For the past seven years, I’ve selected a word to shape a given year; oftentimes, Scripture underscores my word. I spend weeks praying and pondering with a few trusted friends my word that will help guide the coming year. What’s lovely, too, is that the collection of words over time helps me to keep track of my personal growth and development. For example, one year, my word was JOY; that year marked a harvest season of practicing joy in all circumstances; and at the year’s end, I gave thanks that I grew in my expression of receiving, giving, and growing in joy. Another year, my word was ADVENTURE: our young, homeschooling family traveled nationally and internationally to the point of exhaustion. A full, and literally life-giving, year was DREAM BIG: that year marked us designing, building, and constructing our dream home in Austin, Texas in addition to welcoming another child into the world. Another year, my word was THRIVE; during that year, I helped build and lead two, thriving Classical Conversations communities, which have since then further expanded.

I am closing out 2018 with my treasured word: GIFT. GIFT inspires me because it helped me give thanks for my many gifts while also sharing my gifts with others. I used that word throughout the year to remind myself to keep my eyes focused on the Giver of all good gifts. Unbeknownst to me when choosing that word at the end of 2017 was that a prayer team would dream up Donum Dei Classical Academy, in Latin translated as “A Gift of God.” I am gifted with the opportunity to help establish this Academy in the heart of San Francisco because I believe firmly that Donum Dei will be a gift to this great city. I pray that generous givers who want to gift this city with such an Academy will engage in partnering with us.

The word CONNECTED will serve as a roadmap for me in 2019. This word came to me more quickly than any other word in the past seven years. After speaking out my word to my family, we literally saw four CONNECTED signs during the following two days. Sometimes, we ask for signs and actually get them! John 15:1-17 serves as my guide for living a CONNECTED life in 2019. CONNECTED to me symbolizes vulnerably engaging deeply with select family and friends. It suggests networking and growing relationships with new connections. It implies building bridges. It also means being very intentional about the areas of life where I must DISCONNECT. That is, in order to grow in deeper relationships with my teenagers, I must intentionally model disconnecting from technology. To intimately and purposefully pursue my God and family, I will disconnect one weekly for Sabbath and rest. While I do not know how CONNECTED will play out in 2019, I am incredibly excited to see how the Lord will use it in my life. How might just one person being CONNECTED for the sake of loving others bring forth a little extra bit of heaven here on earth?

As Christians we are called to use our gifts and time for the glory of God and His kingdom here on earth. This time of year, the transition from one year to the next, reminds us to reflect on the past year and dream about the one to come. As you think about 2019, how do you EMBRACE your identity (WHO/WHY), ENVISION the coming year (WHAT), and select a roadmap to ILLUMINATE your way (HOW)?

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