2017: The Year of the ROAR

When I thought about what to title this blog, my first thought was: 2016, You SUCKED: Thank You for Being Over.

Have you seen the video meme floating around the internet of Chris Farley’s non-stop tumble down a steep hill? Well, that’s a perfect depiction of what 2016 felt like to me. Especially the first half of the year.

Yes, no doubt, 2016 was the worst year of my life, but upon further reflection, 2016 was also the best year of my life…

Yes, I moved away from home, but I fell in love with Austin, Texas.
Yes, I left my family and friends, but God gave me new family and amazing friends.
Yes, I had my heart broken, but God renewed my hope that I can and will love again.
Yes, I lost my mom to cancer, but I feel her with me and know she would be proud of me.
Yes, I battled depression, but God won the battle in me before he won it for me.

Because the first six months sucked so badly, I decided to redeem the last six months… So, I did… And, boy, I LIVED IT UP.

I went to as many concerts as my budget could afford: The Lumineers, Taylor Swift, American Authors, The Fray, NeedtoBreathe, Phil Wickam and the Outcry Tour featuring Elevation Worship, Hillsong Young and Free, Rend Collective and Kari Jobe.

I went to Formula1 even though I had NO idea what the heck it was. (In case you don’t know what it is, F1 is the highest class of single-seat auto racing that is sanctioned by the Federation International Automobile.)

I started (very-casually) dating again and even two-stepped with a guy at a country bar.

I explored breathtakingly beautiful Texas hiking trails and swimming holes.

I took ballet classes.

I took up running.

I had real days off that I took full advantage of.

I got completely out of debt.

I read 18 books in 8 months.

I attended the BRAVE Conference and heard my favorite author, Annie F. Downs, speak.

I went to the Dallas vs. Washington game at AT&T Stadium on Thanksgiving day all by myself.

I went to my first Texas high school football game and I watched the UT Longhorns get pulverized by TCU.

I went to Magnolia Market and the Silos in Waco, Texas, with Nicole.

I was a part of a successful campus church plant at the legendary Austin City Limits venue.

I produced LifeAustin’s Christmas production after I thought I’d NEVER produce a church production ever again.

I was a part of an amazing team that hosted over 6,000 people for Christmas Eve services.

I downsized over half my belongings and couldn’t feel better about it.

I finally feel like I am living. Really living. Authentically. And, it feels so good.

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My word for 2016 was BRAVE. Which is the exact word I needed to go through what I did and come out on the other side the person God’s shaping me to be.

My word for 2017 is: ROAR (Cue the Katy Perry song, please!)

Did you know lions not only roar to proclaim territory but also to rally straying members of the pride? That’s what I feel God wants me to do in 2017 and he’s confirmed it over and over… Reclaim the territory He gave me and rally my heart, mind and resources around my dream and calling.

After a year of feeling like I was face down in the arena, this year is about the comeback. My worst fears have already come true, so it’s going to take A LOT to scare me now. It’s amazing what you’ll risk when you feel like you have nothing to lose.

This year, I will be bold as a lion. I will chase my dream. I will pursue my calling, and, you’re gonna hear me ROAR. Ar! Ar! Ar! Ar! Arrrr! (Thank you, Katy Perry.)

2017, let’s go.

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