The contrast of two men in my life sparked my focus phrase for 2021: "speak life." Allow me to explain...
M1: Every interaction I had with him left me feeling defeated and down. I never felt like I was good enough, or that I asked the right questions, or that I gave the right answers. I constantly felt "less than" whether it was an online discussion or an email. He consistently used arrogance to elevate himself, making me feel inferior and like a hassle.
M2: Every interaction I had with him left me feeling hopeful and grateful. While I often felt challenged, I always felt cared for. Our conversations always felt genuine, and even when discussing something difficult or a topic which we had differing opinions on, I never felt inferior or stupid. He is humble, gracious, and incredibly gentle.
I was driving one day after receiving an email from M1. I was feeling defeated and like I had been shrugged off. I felt very insignificant and dumb for even sending him an email at all. I thought, "I never feel this way after receiving an email from M2." In my processing, I realized that M2 always speaks life. That was a changing moment for me. After people interact with me, I want them to feel the way I feel after interacting with M2. I never want to make anyone feel like I do after talking to M1.
That is when this blog title was birthed. I want to speak life to all I meet. Speaking life doesn't mean speaking fluffy bunnies and unicorns. There is life in truth. There is life in grief. There is life in lament. There is life in anger. Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life." As long as Jesus is in my heart, conversations, and interactions, then I can speak life, because I speak Jesus.
Speak Life is my focus phrase for 2021. I have already realized that it is going to take practice and prayer. Speaking Jesus means becoming more like Him - and that is something I long for. Reading through the book of Luke in December was really helpful for me in this area because I learned more about who Jesus is and how He interacted with people. I want to learn more about how to live like Him and love like Him, and I want to put that learning into practice.
I am grateful that God allowed my path to cross with these two men. They have both taught me a lot. Both are godly men, who love and teach Jesus, and I have grown from having them both in my life. I am also grateful that God uses different types of people. I am not like either of these two men, yet God can, and is, using me. That's really amazing.
I am looking forward to 2021. In April, I will graduate with a Masters degree in Theological Studies, which means God is cooking up something cool for me to do after that. Currently, I have no idea what that is, and it is scary not knowing what I will be doing after graduation. All I know at this point is that in September I plan to start taking part-time courses at a local college to further my education and skills to assist in writing my book and in helping those I journey with. I always want to be learning, growing, and developing myself in ways that I can use to help others.
I don't know how much time I will have to blog during this final semester, as there is a lot of reading and assignments. I hope that we can connect one-on-one either in person or online.
My prayer is that 2021 will start off amazing for you and that you will know the love of Jesus in a tangible way. He cares about every detail of your life - He is your rock, refuge, shield, and hiding place. You are never alone. God already knows what this year will bring; it is not a surprise to Him. He is faithful and will be with us through it all.