Who Do You Want To Be?

 In Caitlin Mae, Choose To Be Her

I have a confession to make: 2016 was a hard year for me, one that seemed to include far deeper valleys than peaks.

In March, I experienced the difficult end of a three-year relationship and said goodbye to a future I had dearly hoped for. In July, my mother endured a terrifying health diagnosis. In September, I made the heartbreaking decision to part ways with my church in Nashville, a place that had reignited my faith and brought me my first true community in more than a year. In December, I lost a dear friend.

Please don’t misunderstand—2016 also brought me more than my fair share of goodness: a new, exciting job; wonderful, enduring friendships; a joyous baptism; a move into the prettiest Nashville cottage; a trip to India where I had the chance to live and love in a City of Joy…

In 2016, I made choices that changed my life.

I made little dreams into big realities.

I made mistakes.

I was beloved.

I was humbled.

I was brave and sad and vibrant and foolish.

I loved fiercely. I took chances, and I learned so much about my own, tender heart.

Yet, 2016 was a year that started out as a fight to become the woman I want to be and ended with me feeling adrift. And so, I was relieved to kiss one of the hardest years of my life goodbye when the clock struck midnight.

Now, as I face this new year, I’m reminded of one of my favorite verses from the Book of Psalms:

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.”

Psalm 62:5

I need that reminder as much now as ever, because I no longer want to feel adrift. At some point in the last few months, I weighed anchor without meaning to and drifted as a result. It may not have been far off course, but it was enough to make me feel weightless and confused as I tried to navigate in uncharted territory.

Who do I want to be in this new year?

Truthfully, I want to be the woman I have glimpsed so often in the past, and the one I see so clearly in my future:

I want to be strong.

I want to be courageous.

I want to laugh without fear of the future.

I want to be kind in a world where that is not very valuable.

I want to love deeper than I ever have before.

And more than anything, I want to be able to do all of these things because I have rested in the Lord.

One of the best lessons of the past year was realizing that I cannot give without receiving. What I mean is, I cannot love how I want to love without first being loved by my God, who delights in me. And I have to seek Him in order to be reminded just how deep His love for me runs. I think that is the rest Psalm 62 describes: the complete and utter contentment that comes when a heart knows it is valued above all else.

In 2017, I intend to find that rest.

The poet Nikki Giovanni has this beautiful quote. I wrote it down on a spare piece of paper and taped it to my bathroom mirror on New Year’s Eve, right next to Psalm 62:5. It reads:

“We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imaginations and the possibilities.”

Every morning this year, as I stare at the woman I want to be, she’ll be surrounded by David’s and Nikki’s poetry. And I’ll think of these words as I continue to fight, continue to love, continue to seek God so I can grow into the woman He is shaping me to be.

Because I am alive to the imaginations and possibilities of becoming her, and my hope comes from Him.

Author: Caitlin Mae

Caitlin Mae is an amateur adventure curator, currently residing in Nashville, TN, where she’s navigating her 20’s with a broken compass. She spends her days exploring her own heart and searching for the gold in others’, with the help of chai lattes and Jesus. She’s currently working on her own little corner of the internet, www.leftofmae.com.

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