Starting 2019 with Intention and Care

Happy New Year! This week, Dan and Becky Allender continue their annual New Year’s conversation by looking toward 2019 and reflecting on what God might be calling them toward in the year ahead. Last week they discussed the vital work of intentional reflection and meditation on the past year, which gives us a new lens to move into what’s ahead with wisdom and courage.

As they share about their own process of reflecting and listening, Becky and Dan again reflect on the themes that are emerging in their own lives. They share about struggles with anxiety, hopes for continued learning and growth, and the verses—Philippians 4:4-7 and Matthew 6—that they feel God has placed on their hearts.

Dan: “I knew that my heart longs to be able to pray with more clarity and power, and certainly more effect, particularly for my friends. And, I’m not going to get there without verse 10 being very clear: my life is meant to be, in whatever season I’m given, about making on earth, participating on earth, what it is to be in heaven.”

I need to get clearer about what I want to say yes to, and what I’m freer to say no to.

Dan and Becky talk practically about how they have been looking at their calendars, at the events, projects, transitions, and travel they already have scheduled. Their hope is to hold the arc of the year with thoughtfulness and care, rather than getting swept up in the busyness of January and merely bounce from one thing to another. This means asking about their deepest desires for the year ahead, noticing where potential obstacles might emerge, and listening for the movement of the Spirit that threads the whole year together.

Dan: “What does your heart want? And because that’s always multilayered, once you name a desire, you know there’s more desire to it. It’s like story: every story is concatenated to other stories. All desires are connected in some larger pattern of stunning beauty. Will you let your heart begin to desire?”

Becky: “We’re learning more and more how to embody our bodies, how do we embody our dreams, our desires, our anxieties? How do we metabolize that? What can we do to be all that God wants us to be?”

Of course naming dreams and desires can be frighteningly vulnerable, especially when those dreams are too big or too difficult to attain on your own. Part of the work of preparing for the year, then, is to sit with those big dreams that are most resonant, most in tune with God’s work in your life, and allow them to be distilled into real, tangible goals. And the challenge of daily, hard work toward our goals opens us to another big question: What are you most committed to? After all, there’s a world of difference between “Maybe I’d like to do that someday” and “This is what I am called to and created for, and this is how I’ll work toward it.”

Dan: “What we hope for you is that this will be a really good year, but a year that you bring intentionality, that you bring design and desire, and then have a year that when you look back, you will have said that we saw the goodness of God in the land of the living, and otherwise we would have been in despair.”