Your attitude determines your altitude has become a cliche. Yet 2018 proved the gold in this adage to me.
And I’m entering 2019 with this.
As everyone muse over ‘their word’ for 2019, this is the first time in maybe a decade I felt that I have no word for a new year. Then again, I haven’t always been most diligent in taking stock of how really a word of the year has measured up for me each year. Mostly, they land somewhere, but as I wrap up 2018, I am hit with a greater sense of it’s not about the word, it’s about the attitude that I’d enter into a new year with or without a word.
I had entered 2018 with the word ‘exceedingly expectant’ — quite frankly I had no idea what I was expectant for being in a wilderness season. What the word did do for me was it set me up in an active posture going into that new year. If 2017 was the most passive year I’ve had in my life (I spent most of the year being inactive towards what life threw at me and simply waiting for it to pass?), then 2018 swung to the other end of the pendulum for me.
And looking back, that was what expectancy really meant. It isn’t a passive waiting for the wilderness season that I was in to pass but an active posture.
Going into 2018, I decided that I was going to get myself out there to travel wildly again, to catch up with folks on the road, to learn new things from snowboarding to fashion business, to start new ventures, with whatever little we have — with a housing mortgage, without a regular job being an on-call freelancer, a husband with too little PTO for meaningful us-time — but we decided we were to take 2018 by a #makeitwork attitude.
Getting to do Maldives, Israel and Cuba in the same year? What. Throw in a day in Sweden, island-hopping in Thailand or to Catalina Island. That was some active going out there. We explored our home state Colorado with multiple road trips and saw our life here with fresh eyes — I am more in love and thankful that I get to call Colorado home for this season — the mountain girl in me that I never knew existed, and did I live a lie being a tropical girl?
I said Yes to work opportunities that stretched me outside of my comfort zones (and stretches of sleepless nights), and also said No to opportunities that wasn’t true to my soul — even if it meant I was going without income for an indefinite period in order to be able to recalibrate my life. Instead, I actively sought out online classes to upgrade my skill sets, and eventually decided on taking a fashion business course I’ve put off for years now.
The course has positioned me to launch a men’s style and wellness idea that I’ve been working on to launch in 2019! Beyond that, it renewed a spirit in me of active learning — especially when you get to an age where you have seemingly mastered plenty in an industry, the discomfort of starting over in a new industry was truly disarming! But after completing my first module in my first semester, it was just rejuvenating for my spirit to say the least.
As I remember having a conversation with my mother-in-law over Thanksgiving. She is a computer science professor who in the most logical-headed Asian parent manner queried with a hint of skepticism why would I want to go into a brand new industry of fashion (especially at the ripe age of thirtysomething). And of which I responded to her — and much to the husband’s delight: “Because I can.”
I surprised myself with that too, really. Yet this was the attitude I had most of my teenage and twentysomething years embracing all that life has to offer and even the lemons it threw at me — the world is my oyster, the sky is my limit. Entering the final quarter of 2018, I was still mostly oblivious if the word I had received for the year was tangibly going to amount to anything. But on the road, He met me. We were driving home after a hot springs road trip to Mt Princeton when a streak of rainbows started appearing. In total I saw SEVEN rainbows. It was Fall in the physical realm but I heard the spirit whispered in that trip, my invincible Summer has arrived. Walk into it.
You gotta enter into your Promise Land. It is action.
It was exactly 7 years since I made a slow spiral into a rock bottom of my life and then started the slow climb out of it. Or a pruning in a wilderness.
It hit me then while God intended for a wilderness season, it had taken the Israelites forty years to enter the Promise Land only because they first chose not to enter it. The negative reports from the 10 spies triggered their ‘victim mentality’ of having been enslaved and to remain passive despite what the Lord has promised them to take hold of. They chose to reject the two positive reports from Caleb and Joshua, which was ultimately crucial.
The forty years of wandering in the wilderness in Numbers 14:34 was only a response to the Israelites’ rejection (and incessant grumbling) of the two positive reports in Numbers 13. Why can’t God just give all positive reports? Why just two? I would argue two is more than one! Just where is the faith? There is the inheritance of our earthly Promise Lands, and then there is the sustaining of it that is only by the same faith we have taken to enter into it.
And that was all the difference my 2018 made for me in response to a 2017 that was filled with a despondence like how the Israelites reacted to the 10 negative reports. It was half a decade since my slow climb out of the pit and indeed life had taken several positive turns the same way the Israelites had tasted the miraculous rescues from Egypt. Yet, bordering the Promise Land which I knew 2017 to be, I chose to adopt their victim mentality attitude. (And the poor husband endured my year-long moping.)
But mostly, it wasn’t anything I did, it was everything that I did not do.
Heck, I was a practicing sports psychologist and I’ve fallen amnesia to that. And so it is only by His grace to be awakened, and to have entered my 2018 with that active posture of expectancy — to position, to go get it, to make it work, to start, to try, to be unafraid. Then before I know it – behold – I find myself walking into my Promise Land. To end 2018 and enter 2019 on that is wild. There has been a shift, an internal and victorious one. And our marriage has a fresh vision and lots of romance! I get to independently work on a fantastic commissioned film project, while also working on a slate of our own original parable short films together with the husband.
Perhaps then, I do have my word for 2019 after all:
Live my Promise Land.