Four weeks into 2019 and Happy New Year seems passé. Regardless, I hope you enjoyed the holidays and the close of 2018. I for one was happy to say goodbye to 2018. I am ready to start afresh in 2019.

Reflecting upon 2018 I can honestly say it was one of the most difficult years of my life thus far. One of my fellow mastectomy sojourners referred to 2018 as “stupid hard.” Her comment made me laugh aloud. I can relate. My mastectomy journey was only one aspect of what made 2018 so difficult. I am sure the same is probably true for her as well. I am so relieved to find myself on the other side of 2018 at present.

If you have been following my blog, for the past two years I have picked theme words and Bible verses. Picking a theme word has given me an intentional focus for the year ahead. In 2017 I chose Encouragement and 2 Corinthians 1:3-4:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (NIV).”

In 2018 I chose Bold and Psalm 46:1-3:

“God is our refuge and strength,

an ever-present help in trouble. 

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way

and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 

though its waters roar and foam

and the mountains quake with their surging (NIV).”

Since 2017, I have focused upon encouraging others. In 2018, I didn’t abandon that goal, I simply added the focused of being bold and fearless. Stepping out in faith. Being confident. Taking risks. Being courageous.

Now in 2019 I have chosen another theme word – Confidence. Ok you may be thinking; didn’t you just say your focus in 2018 was being bold and you mentioned confidence? I did. I set out confident in my pursuit of boldness.

However, I discovered being bold did not always produce the results I anticipated. Toward the end of the year I found myself plagued with self-doubt and disappointment. Let me just say self-doubt and disappointment you were bad friends.  I am breaking up with you in 2019.

How do I intend to break up with self-doubt and disappointment? By focusing intentionally on confidence. I am not talking about self-confidence. Believe me, I know enough to know self-assurance in my own abilities won’t get me where I want to be.

Where do I want to be? Smack dab in the middle of where God has placed me, doing what only he can do through me, not by my own abilities, but through him. Doing my own thing based on my own abilities is far too limiting.

No, I am talking about Christ-Confidence. Confidence that can come only from my faith and trust that God is good. That God has a plan and a purpose for my life. My abilities don’t shine a candle to God’s limitless abilities. Trust me, if I were not following God’s prompting, I would not be writing this blog nor speaking.

God doesn’t call us to sit comfortably in our own abilities. He calls us out of our comfort zone. To rely upon him to accomplish what only he can accomplish. So all the credit and glory end up where they belong – with him.

Not only that, but he sees the bigger picture. I have limited vision. God does not. I may step out in boldness and not get the results I anticipated, but maybe that is because my results were too limited in scope. God is a big God who can do immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

In 2019 I am continuing to step out in boldness with the confidence that God has the outcome covered, not me. I plan to say good-bye to self-doubt and disappointment and just do what I feel led to do, regardless of the outcome. Outcomes don’t always reflect success and success isn’t always tangible.

I don’t know about you, but I am a zealous list maker. I make lists for everything I need to accomplish on any given day, month or year. You name it, if I am doing something, you can pretty much guarantee there is a list associated with that task and I am checking off items. It makes me feel like I am accomplishing something. In fact, if I do something that wasn’t on my list, I add it just so I can cross it off. Yeah, I am that person.

So you can guess that when I don’t get the outcome I anticipated, I am not able to cross that item off my list. I feel like things are left undone. I hate that feeling! I just want to finish the task I set out to complete. Now don’t think I will abandon list making all together in 2019 – that’s just crazy talk. However, I plan to give myself grace. To let my list reflect the actions I feel called to complete, but I am going to leave the outcome up to God.

God first laid this idea of confidence on my heart as I was reading Ephesians 3:12:

In him (Christ Jesus) and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence (NIV).

If I can approach the God of the universe with freedom and confidence, then how much more can I approach everything in life with that same freedom and confidence? The NASB translates the word freedom as boldness, I love both translations. Both tie in perfectly with the theme for my blog – Living in Freedom. After all, how can we truly live in freedom without confidence?

As a Christian I trust Christ with not just my salvation, but with my day to day. I trust that he has a plan and a purpose. That he intends to accomplish something through me.  That every experience in my life will be used for his divine purpose.  To equip me to do what he has for me.  To reach who he wants me to reach.  To encourage those he has for me to encourage.  Doing that requires boldness for sure, but boldness without confidence can lead me right back to self-doubt and disappointment. I don’t want that.

I am committed to boldly stepping out in faith and doing the next one thing I feel led to do, even if I don’t get the results I anticipated. I am confident God is working out the details. With that, I have multiple theme verses all found in Ephesians 3:

In him (Christ Jesus) and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.…Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:12; 20-21 NIV)

2019 is the year I plan to go forth boldly in confidence.  Knowing I have complete confidence in God.  He can do more than I can ask or imagine.  Knowing I am a work in progress, as he works in and through me.  Accomplishing what only he can do for his glory. But. In. His. Timing. Not. Mine.