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Abiding with Jesus

The Year With Jesus: Putting Our Focus On Him Instead of the Person We Hope To Be {Part 2}

Welcome to a two-part series on making Jesus the focus of our year, following the leading of His untamed presence in our lives! You can read part one here.

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Analyzing, plotting, preparing, and detailing it all on our paper, we map out how we will keep up, not get left in the dust of our own failures and shortcomings, and eventually have the fulfilling, satisfying life we are dreaming about.

The problem is this…

We sometimes forget Jesus.

We fail to realize that seeking Him, listening to His voice, and learning how to follow His  Spirit will rarely ever fit neatly on goal-setting worksheets. It won’t hang nicely on our dream board. It isn’t meant to pull us into the popular, successful crowd.

I look forward to setting new goals, making plans for the year, and charting out a course of forward action. I love taking big leaps, making progress, and seeing my dreams come into reality. In fact, as I write this, I have several clipboards sitting beside me, penned with my visions for how I want 2017 to look in each area of my life.

But deep down, I feel a bit tired, maybe you too?

Perhaps it’s my 11-month old sleeping like a newborn again, or the past 4 years of broken sleep catching up with me, perhaps an overseas move and living in a new country did me in, or maybe it’s simply this: my incredible ability to make life happen on my own, separate and independent from Jesus. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still setting goals like the rest of the world, but I’m also realizing they might look different. Before I start running, I’m going to settle into His welcoming arms. Before I start off on my ambitious endeavors, I’m inviting Him to tell me my pace. Before I get tired, I’m tuning my heart to His grace.

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This week I sat down with a blank piece of paper and wrote out the name Jesus across the middle. I didn’t expect it would change my perspective and threaten my push to perform this year. I took my paint brushes and slathered on bright watercolors encircling His name with the promised rainbow. All the while meditating on his beauty, his faithfulness, his significance, and his invitation.

Instead of trying to muster up super human strength and energy for all my crazy ideas and unspeakable dreams, I surrendered in weakness. I threw myself upon His lap, looked straight into His eyes, and whispered an “I need you” into His chest.

No matter how exciting our dreams seem, no matter how much hope we have for the coming year, no matter how eager we are to try new things and be courageous, nothing comes close to inspiration and power found in this truth: we need Jesus.

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Much of painting with watercolor is about laying down the reds and blues and greens on paper then watching them bleed and blend together. Many times, I can’t control exactly what happens. If I’m honest, 99% of the year is unplanned and unknown too, even when its covered up with my most well-meaning plans and impossible dreams.

But this is where the beautiful adventure unfolds…in our surrender, in our watching, and waiting, and simply showing up with what we have in our hands, the hues of color – our unique gifts and desires.

Truthfully, I don’t know what will happen this year. But I do know I was made to walk with Jesus into the unknown.

Will I make Him the center of the blank pages of another year?

Will I be content with only a few vague, impractical goals and crazy sounding dreams jotted down on clipboards in my tiny office?

Will I choose to step off the fast track to create a meaningful life, and instead just focus on Jesus being the source of my life?

Will I linger in hiddenness and quietness, finding Him surprisingly present in the unpopular places of my own soul and season?

Will I refuse to put both hands on my days, molding and shaping them according to my desires, and instead open up and let Him go to work, my life like clay in His trusted hands?

Instead of trying to keep up as the New Year rolls around, I’m giving up, and it looks like…

stepping into the flow of His untamed Holy Spirit, letting the roaring waters of grace and rest fall all around me, finding confident contentment in my identity in Him, and allowing Jesus to take me on an adventure that can hardly be scheduled out, written down, or planned with precision.

I’d love for you to join me in doing  2017 with Jesus! Here is a simple activity you can try to get your focus back on Him instead of who you want to be (or what you want to achieve) this year:

  • Write out his name, Jesus, on the middle of a blank piece of paper
  • Color, paint, doodle around his name
  • Then you could do a couple things from here…
    – You could jot down on the paper who He is to you
    – Or what He’s done this year in your life
    – Write verses that are speaking to your heart
    – Or areas in your life where you need Jesus to be real
    – Jot down prayers, inviting him to your work, your mothering, your dreams, your health, every detail!
  • And lastly, envision a year of falling in love of with Jesus + listening to the Holy Spirit…what would it look like?

Verses to ponder//Galatians 5:25-26 (MSG), Philippians 3:12-14, John 14:6, John 15:1-17, Acts 17:28, John 10:10, Ephesians 3:14-19, Proverbs 4:23, Matthew 4:19-22, Hebrews 11:8, Psalms 27:4 + 36:7-9, 77:11-12 Hosea 2:14-15


Check out the Art of Adventure Shop, where I’ve created a few things to encourage us to make our lives a beautiful adventure with Jesus! The new hand-painted 2017 adventure calendar is on sale for $8 and the 40 days of love letters journal is also on sale!

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Join a  group of women going on a walk with Jesus this year and stepping into the flow of His untamed Holy Spirit! I’ll send out a monthly letter of encouragement to get us moving outside our comfort zone & into a beautiful adventure with Jesus. The next one is going out in a couple days! Leave your email here.

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Be intentional about seeking a God-adventure in 2017! Hand-painted calendars on sale for $6 in the shop