At the beginning of each new year, I take time to reflect on the year before. I look at what I accomplished; what I struggled with; what I overcame what strengthened me; what challenged me; and what I need to continue to work on and improve.
With the reflection of each new year, I learn something new about myself and I am able to see the areas where God can come in and continue to refine and strengthen. And through that process, I ask the Lord for a word or phrase to focus on; something specific to pray for and work towards that will bring Him glory and honor. Something that is sacred to me and something that I can tangibly reach for.
This last year was hard.
I experienced struggles like never before. I developed insecurities I never thought I’d face. I had emotions expressed that I never hoped to encounter. And I fought as hard as I could to overcome them.
But in my fighting, I realized new things about myself as well.
I realized that I am capable of more than I think I am.
I realized that through God and reliance on the Holy Spirit to guide and direct me, I can overcome the bad thoughts and the insecurities.
But in order to do this, I have to allow Him full access to myself.
I have to allow the Holy Spirit to be unleashed inside of me and to allow Him to truly see me; the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful.
In the fall of 2020, we took our students to beach camp. It was an incredible week and it was an honor to be able to lead that camp.
One morning, I went out to the beach with my friend Shelby. We went before any of the students woke up. We both were going to have our quiet time with Jesus. So I took my towel and sat down by the water and just took a few moments to breathe the air and feel the wind. I imagined that Jesus was sitting right next to me at that moment. It was one of absolute peace and calmness (which is remarkable considering we were at a camp with 35 teenagers LOL).
At that moment, I began to pray. I just began to ask God what He needed from me and what He wanted to teach me. I wasn’t really looking toward the future. I was honestly asking for that day specifically. It was the middle of camp and I knew that there was more work for me to do in the Spirit. So after I prayed this prayer, I just sat still. I waited and I listened. I allowed room for the Holy Spirit to speak back to me.
And in that quiet, I heard the words “fully known” in my heart.
As I listened and felt those words, I knew without a doubt that the Holy Spirit was ready to do more in my life. He was ready to be unleashed like never before. But there was a wall that I had put up. There was a fear of being completely abandoned to myself. There was a vulnerability that had to take place with the Holy Spirit that I just wasn’t sure I was ready for.
But at that moment, I said ok.
I wrote the words in the sand as a stamp of absolute surrender.
But I still believed that it was for that camp alone and that it wouldn’t go beyond that week.
Fast forward to my yearly reflection and asking for what God wanted to teach me in 2021.
That phrase continued to resonate in my heart. I couldn’t escape it. And towards the end of 2020, I delt with a good bit of depression, anxiety, stress, and anger. But I felt that I couldn’t let anyone know because how can someone that leads students and be madly in love with Jesus deal with those things as well?
So when the Holy Spirit reminded me of the moment when I said “okay” to let Him know me fully-talk about a breakdown!
He gently reminded me of how it didn’t matter what I dealt with. It didn’t matter what I thought was “too much” to be exposed. It didn’t matter how vulnerable I was afraid of being-He would always be there and He could handle it.
So again, I surrendered. At that moment, I felt a peace like no other. I felt strength like I’d never felt. I felt safe. I felt seen. I felt loved as I’d never felt before. I felt the Holy Spirit holding my hand.
To be fully known by the Father is to allow Him access into every aspect of my life.
Psalm 139 says it perfectly-
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
What a joy to live a life fully known by the Father.
There’s nothing you can do that He wouldn’t forgive you when you ask.
There’s no place you could run where He wouldn’t chase after you.
\There’s no secret too hard for Him to handle.
There’s no shame too great that He couldn’t redeem you.
There’s NOTHING you can do to keep Him from being madly in love with you.
Be fully known.