an end of the year tradition

song: o praise the name by hillsong worship

read time: 3 minutes

we’re in the final days of twenty-fifteen. it’s a little wild to even think about that — it seems like just yesterday, we were dressed in black and gold counting down the seconds til the ball dropped, confetti filled the air, and we toasted the new day with a glass of champagne.

but here we are…

at the end of another year.

each year, around this time, i start thinking about the upcoming year. what i want to see happen and what theme i believe it will hold. i always choose a word— one word that i believe will summarize the next year, give me something to hold onto, and in some ways — direct my movements.

it’s a tradition i started in 2012 and have been faithful to do each year.

my word for this year was “outpour”. it’s not a word i use frequently — so i know, this word was divine. i felt so strongly in my heart that i was going to experience outpour in every area of my life — and i did. that’s not to say that twenty-fifteen did not have it’s share of dramatic tears and midnight phone calls crying my eyes out to one of my best friends and reminding myself that God is faithful. there was definitely some of that. there were some pretty dramatic moments this year, but as i look back — the one repeated theme was “outpour”. God really did outdo himself in blessings. there was an outpour of friendships, business, ideas, generosity, and adventure.

at the beginning of 2015, i paired my word for the year with a verse in the Bible, something to hold onto when the word felt too vague and abstract.

“there’s more to come: we continue to shout out praise even when we are hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us and how that patience in turn forces the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. in alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling short changed. quite the contrary — we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit.” — romans 5.3-5

when times got hard this year, when there were moments that seemed as if i was experiencing anything but outpour — i held onto this verse. i claimed “outpour” as mine — knowing this was my word. this was God’s promise for the year — that his generosity would be so great that i wouldn’t be able to round up enough containers to hold it all.

so, yes, in every way this year outdid my expectations. God out did himself. although, i must say — i don’t believe i would have experienced “outpour” if i didn’t fight for it and believe for it. it’s a two way street with God —he will make promises, but we have to take them as ours. our faith matters, it plays a role, in receiving the full promises of God. 

the past few weeks, i’ve been thinking and praying about my word for twenty-sixteen. the one word that keeps coming back and won’t leave me alone is praise.

i actually get teary-eyed when i think about the word, so again — i know it’s divine. the song i’m holding on to and listening on repeat is “o praise the name” by hillsong.

the lyrics go like this:

o praise the Name of the Lord our God

o praise His name forevermore

for endless days we will sing Your praise

oh Lord, oh Lord our God

to be honest — it’s ironically beautiful thing that “praise” is my word for the year. it’s going back to basics— stripping the year of anything trendy and reminding myself that the simplest actions matter most: praising God.

if there is one thing i have learned about praise over the years, it’s this: our praise opens the door for the miraculous. throughout scripture, you see this idea proved time and time again. paul and silas is one of my favorite examples of this — it’s recorded in acts 16.

i’ll give you the cliff notes.

paul and silas had just been thrown in jail. it was midnight and instead of sulking in their jail cell — the two men decided to praise God. they had every reason to complain, yet in the midst of their troubles — they praised. in some versions, it says their praise was “robust”. i wish i was there to see that in action, because not even a verse later — it says that paul and silas’ praise shook the foundations of the earth and brought forth an earthquake, which, after leading the jailer on duty to Jesus, resulted in their freedom.

this. it’s pure evidence that our praise has power. our praise has the ability to pave the way for the miraculous to happen. our praise makes room for God to move in our lives in ways we never dreamed of.

i am not sure what twenty-sixteen holds — a lot of new stuff will be happening. i’ll be living in a new country, i’ll be launching a new project with coast to coast, and i’ll be leaving a lot of things that are familiar to me.

regardless of what happens — i want my soul to never stop praising. i want to praise God for what He has done, and praise Him for what He will do.

as twenty-fifteen is ending, i invite you to join me in two things:

  1. go back to basics. if you are like me, human, then you probably have some dreams, ideas, and promises from God that you are waiting on. in the waiting time, in the good times, in the bad times — let’s praise God, knowing that our praise is directly linked to our breakthrough.
  2. pick a word. in the upcoming days, think about a word you want to focus on for twenty-sixteen. one word. it can be anything. but whatever you choose, let it be the word that steers you, keeps you going, and motivates you throughout the upcoming year.

i am not sure how this year ended for you, but like my mom always says, “the best is yet to come”. 

cheers to the final days of twenty-fifteen and to what’s to come in twenty-sixteen.