at the start of 2017, i felt overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation and i couldn't let myself think about it for too long because i couldn't sit still. i wanted to get up and get moving.
moving onto what, exactly? i didn't actually know.
it was a strange feeling, to be so excited about something i couldn't name.
in a somewhat slow process, reading at my own pace and flipping back and forth between versions, i've been making my way through each book of the entire bible. a thing i have, maybe surprisingly, never done.
a few months before the start of 2017, i was reading joshua 6 – the story the battle of jericho, a story i'd heard countless times growing up – for probably the first time in my adult life.
at the start of the chapter, joshua is receiving instructions from god about what to do. as the chapter continues, you read how joshua follows the instructions and how it all plays out exactly as god had said. but the part that caught my attention was near the beginning, in joshua 6:2, where god starts talking, but before he tells joshua what to do, he basically says, "okay, listen. you've already won." and then he continues on to explain what joshua needs to do, physically, in order to achieve that victory.
the message version phrases it like this, "i've already given jericho to you." already. joshua hasn't walked around the walls of jericho. he hasn't even been given the instruction to do so. and yet, it's already his.
i wondered what that felt like, for joshua to hear. i kept thinking about the people who were living in jericho, in that moment. already. i pictured them going about their day, eating their meals, making jokes with their friends. and if joshua could've seen the bustle of their ordinary day, i imagined him thinking, "this doesn't look like it's already mine."
and yet, god had said it was. already.
it wasn't until the start of 2017 that i wrapped my head around what it meant to hold that word in my hands. already.
i couldn't see my jericho, or what 2017 would hold. i couldn't see the girl who lived in the apartment i now live in, or the way she went about her day, eating her meals, making jokes with her friends. i couldn't even see the apartment. i couldn't see the places i'd go or the people i'd meet or the babies i'd be taking care of. i didn't even know in which direction to look, or that some of those babies hadn't even been born yet. i couldn't see the way none of it looked like it would be mine.
and yet, i could feel it. already.
i told my sister that it felt like deuteronomy 11:10-12. "the land you are entering to take over is not like the land of egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. but the land you are crossing the jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. it is a land that the lord your god cares for; the eyes of the lord your god are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end."
twenty sixteen felt like crossing into this new land, and 2017 would be a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. a land that the lord my god personally cares for, watching over it from january until december.
i didn't really know what that meant, then, but it sounded good.
in april, i got a glimpse of it, when i read the chronicles of narnia and thought about how i want more. i don't just want to settle for what i know about god, but i want to keep going. keep saying yes.
in november, i wrote about what pastor steven called "creative collaboration" – what happened when jesus stepped into peter's boat and asked if he would go. this point in his message ("there's a catch") stood out to me for the way it feels like the best way to describe what happened in 2017.
jesus has been in my boat. he has been asking me to work together. but 2017 felt like a year of finding out what happens when i keep saying yes. yes, yes, yes. hineni.
and as i step into 2018, with equally as much (if not more) expectation for this year, i want to look back and point to the ways god showed up in 2017.
because he did it then and he will do it again. because he has more, and i want what he has.
more. immeasurably more. infinitely more. exceedingly abundantly more.
already mine in 2017
completed my first fast.
discovered my love for c.s. lewis and the chronicles of narnia.
had my handwriting printed on a t-shirt. for andrew belle.
donated regularly to charities.
added money to my savings account.
discovered the enneagram.
started writing a book. and talking about it.
watched one of my best friends get married.
created an email newsletter.
traveled to charlotte each month.
attended my first writing workshop.
spent a week in connecticut.
moved into an apartment.
started a new job.
went on tour and traveled to 37 different cities in 19 different states.
celebrated my golden birthday.
paid all my bills.
hosted my friend and her new husband when they passed through nashville.
read 26 books.