After a year of what has felt like surviving one crisis or complication after another, I’ve found myself asking what it would look like to Thrive in 2018. I have said to myself, “If I can just get past this [insert bad thing here], then I can thrive.”
My favorite definition of thrive is: “to flourish.” I want 2018 to be a year of flourishing. But it can’t be dependent on things going perfectly, or even going very well. Surviving makes me feel like I’m going from one panic attack to the next. A constant waiting for the next stressful event to send me spiraling. I know there has to be more, so I’ve been examining how I can thrive in 2018.
Thriving through Deep Roots
A verse that keeps popping into my head is Psalm 1:2-3
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither– whatever they do prospers.”
Although I read the Bible all the way through many years ago, it’s been a long time. It’s so important to me to be constantly refamiliarizing myself with the life giving words of Scripture, reminding myself again and again of their truth. In our world I find myself constantly confronted with things that don’t align with the Bible, and I want to be steeped in Scripture so I can stand firm. Also, getting away from a survival mentality means reminding myself that God’s promises can be depended on.
“Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.” Hebrews 6:18 (NLT)
Thriving by Letting Go
It’s easy for me to start thinking I have control over my circumstances. I make an exhaustive plan that honestly doesn’t consider what God might have for me. That type A personality in me hates being flexible and hates surprises…whether it’s an unexpected phone call with bad news, or the check engine light in the car coming on. C.S. Lewis’s words inspire me to embrace it all:
“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life — the life God is sending one day by day.”
I believe I can thrive if I stop resisting life’s “interruptions” and accept these as part of the life God is giving me. Somehow, the bad news, the car problems, the broken dryer, it’s all part of God’s plan for my life even when it seems pointless.
Proverbs 16:9 says,
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”
I attended a celebration of life service recently for a friend, a lovely woman who passed away at the age of 70. As many stories were shared at her service, the overarching theme was one of a life well lived, a woman who thrived. But not because her circumstances were perfect. She actually experienced severe chronic pain for the last 10 years of her life.
She was able to flourish in a way that blessed all those around her by following Jesus, accepting what life had thrown at her, and choosing to see the best parts of life as a love message from Him and a foreshadowing of the joy she now experiences in heaven.
That’s the kind of thriving I’m hoping for in 2018.