Dear 2017 Me,

WOW. 2016 was something, wasn’t it?

You started the year in another country, met someone who wouldquite instantly and unexpectedlyrock your world and rekindle old dreams for your road ahead; you also welcomed even more amazing people into your tribe and allowed yourself to be led further down a path of extreme inspiration and adventure.

In 2016 you dared to take flight (literally, on many occasions), and you claimed your long-held dreams of teaching, speaking, and exchanging ideas with audiences even from other parts of the world. You trained like an athlete and ran (half) the races that you said you would, trusting your body to carry you where you needed to go. You dared to press the “Apply” and “Submit” buttons on many of your dreams, and you’re now gearing up for an adventure of global proportions.

You also (finally) listened to God’s nudging whispers, opening the door to let Him “sit in your heart.” You now find that clarity and peace are not as elusive as you once thought they were, and you’re a lot less rattled by life’s little twists and turns. Whatever happens, you know that the bigger picture will always end up beautiful and amazing, anyway.

If 2015 was your year of breaking into life again, 2016 was your year of purposefully driving on high gear.

As you begin what promises to be an EPIC 2017, here I am, again, gently asking you to pause, reflect, and be ready for what’s to come.

* * *

Your rapidly expanding world will present you with many new experiences. Don’t be afraid to dive in—but also carefully discern what to say “yes” to. Life will always present you with many options, many opportunities… and many, many distractions. It will be easy to get caught in the exciting, overwhelming tornado-like flurry that’s unfolding around you. But I ask you, remain centered and stay grounded on your Higher PurposeNot everything that’s great out there will be great for you.

In her book, Found: Letters on Love, Life and God,  your friend Isa Garcia says this:

“So many of the things you say yes to in life will determine who you are and where you’ll end up.” Words by Isa Garcia and illustration by Crae Achacoso in Found: Letters on Love, Life and God.

I feel that this is the year you will be asked to define who you truly are, by giving you a wealth of options and then allowing you to choose what you will say “yes” and “no” to. Remember that saying “no” doesn’t make you a lesser person. As your other friend Joreen Navarro says, every “no” that you make strengthens your commitment to the “yeses” you’ve already made. Don’t be afraid to say “no” over and over again, no matter how juicy and tempting other offers are—if it means strengthening every “yes” that truly matters to you. Think of the You you’d like to be in 5, 10, 20 years, and see if these “yeses” and “nos” will lead you to the kind of person you’d like to become by then. If it won’t, say “no”, simplify your life, and focus on the essentials.

Speaking of the future: DARE TO DREAM AUDACIOUSLY BIG. Remember when some of these adventures that now lie waiting for you were only just “What ifs” in your head? You’ve already taken the first steps to claiming some of these experiences as your own; don’t doubt the God that’s backing you up (all the way!), and dare to dream as audaciously big as you possibly can. Remember, God planted a lot of these dreams in your heart because He gave you the capacity to fulfill them.  Go all out and all in, and embrace the largeness of life that lies waiting to embrace you back.

But here’s where the rubber meets the road: all your dreams will come with a price and, often, a trade-off. We know that you like charging into experiences and willing things to happen. But these big things that you’re looking to welcome into your life in 2017 (and beyond)? A lot of them mean letting go of other things that you have in your life now—from simple stuff like frequent (and pricey!) nights out with friends, to bigger stuff like the comfort of home and the presence of your tribe and family. But again, if you’re grounded on purpose and are sure of what you’re committing to, then it will be (a tad) easier to accept the price you’ll have to pay for these larger dreams.

Now, let’s talk about the juicy stuff: LOVE. In 2016, you oscillated between going all-out (learning two languages and envisioning your life half a world away in the process) and completely holding back (trying to convince yourself, “It’s nothing,” because you want to “protect your heart”). Somewhere along the way, you discovered a completely unexpected but serenely happy middle ground, where you could be fully yourself and also fully loved, but in ways that are beyond any of your old notions of romantic love.

Well, we know I’m not an expert in this, but what I can tell you is this: the love that you’re feeling and experiencing right now is not man-made. It is not artificial and temporary; it is here to stay no matter who comes and goes into your life, because you ARE love. God made you that way, and even when you don’t completely feel it, it’s not going to go away because God-Love is not going to go away. You already know and feel this, but I want to make sure that you remember it, no matter what happens.

Okay, okay, but what about That One Person you’d like to have with you for the rest of your journey? What I do know is that the right person will love and accept you for who you are—quirks and intensity and your ADHD tendencies (haha) notwithstanding. More importantly, the right person will just fit into your life without so much as a struggle and a contest, and being with him will make sense. (Yes, there IS logic in love, I’d like to think.) Now, we also don’t know if 2017 will be the year that this person will be revealed to you, but do know that you ARE loved. When the right person comes, you’ll know. 🙂

Whatever life throws your way this year, GO WITH FAITH AND LOVE, and don’t let fear hold you back. It’s natural to feel a bit anxious and afraid —after all, 2017 is already beginning to look like a year of intense new challenges, new countries and people, and maybe even the possibility of being thrown completely out of your comfort zone, away from everyone you love. But instead of freezing, hemming & hawing, and crawling back to Mom, remember: Mom didn’t raise you to cower in the face of challenges; she raised you to SOAR AND FLY! (Almost always literally!) Go knowing that you’ve got God and your dearest ones behind you all the way, and that you’ve got everything you need for the exciting adventure ahead. (And what you don’t yet have, you will learn and get along the way.)

THIS IS GOING TO BE A YEAR OF IMMENSE FAITH, RAW COURAGE, JAW-DROPPING AWE, AND TEAR-JERKING JOY, DEAR NINI. Go kick the fires that you said you would, and make 2017 a truly blazing 365-day adventure. (God is already building the rockets you need to zoom.)

You already know we love you, right?




Photo credits for the header image:

All of these images were sourced through Flickr Creative Commons, using the non-commercial, attribution license

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