February 2023 is here, and the truth of the matter is no matter how excited we were on the 31st of December 2022 waiting for the clock to strike 12, nothing will be different for us in 2023 if we ourselves don’t change.
Many of us were in a time of praying and fasting in January. As we prayed, we aligned ourselves with God and I am sure in those prayers some were asking what they would get from the Lord in this season. In as much as that was a good question to ask, it was and still is also important to hear from God what kind of a person He wants you to be in this season. Have you ever thought of the difference that God might want you to bring in 2023? What difference are you are willing to bring to your family, your workplace, your community and your church? The period of praying and fasting helps many to transition well from 2022 mindsets to 2023 mindsets as we receive a Word or a Vision for the new year.
Last year our vision was Revival. Some people would call it a theme or a word, we prefer Vision, because we believe it has to be fulfilled and lived out. Revival was the vision/theme for New Gates but as the year unfolded, we realized that we began to experience it in our personal lives. Following the two years of living upside down, we were merely going with the flow as long as we could just survive another day, another week, and another month. We were risking losing our identity in a bid to ‘just survive’. Truth be told, surviving outside of your identity or purpose is not living. Therefore, when we received the word Revival we embraced it and vowed to do what it took to see it come to life. We desperately needed to be revived back to life. We allowed ourselves to go through a refining moment that saw our mission being revisited, our priorities being questioned and our organizational vision being rebirthed. This humbling process gave us the clarity we so needed. That clarity became the wind under our wings, which propelled us forward in the thick of uncertainties and that clarity was again the anchor that kept us firm in the wake of raging waves.
The theme or the Word you receive as your word for the year has to be worked in order for you to see it through. You have to be intentional to express your vision, theme or word. Nothing happens by accident, we have to be intentional.
For 2023, we have received another vision, which is Freedom, in full it is Building a Legacy of Freedom. We believe that Freedom is a continuation of Revival. It is Revival in action. Having been Revived in 2022 we are stepping out in 2023 in Freedom to live out our true identity. This Freedom is not only for New Gates, those whom we have been called to serve will experience it too. Those whom we will encounter through our various programs will also receive their freedom. It could be freedom from the entanglements of culture, freedom from unhealthy mindsets that keep us in cycles of failure and freedom from fear that keeps us from living in our God given callings etc. The list is endless.
Freedom is what we are bringing to the New Year. Freedom is what we are going to be expressing. Your Word or Theme is what you are going to express and those you will encounter as well will experience it. You will only be able to express the Theme/Word only if you generate momentum and work it out. Many people don’t see the fruit of their theme/ word for the year because they lose momentum and if there is anything that you have to deal with in 2023 it is that, maintaining momentum. Momentum will keep you consistent and in alignment.
Here are 3 things that will help you maintain momentum in 2023:
1. Remind Yourself
If your vision/ theme/ word is not written down you are likely going to forget it and lose the momentum of pursuing it. There is a story of a man who received a vision from God his name was Habakkuk. God asked him to write the vision down, and this was the reason, “so that he who reads it may run with it”. Momentum is all about running with the vision/ theme and in order for you to do that in 2023, you have to write the vision down, refer back to it frequently and remind yourself of what God told you.
2. Plant yourself in a healthy Community
We are social beings. We are not created to be alone. We all need a community that will challenge us to reach our potential. We need to be surrounded by people who can encourage us when the going gets tough. These people are the ones to remind us to work out the Word when we are overwhelmed by the pressures of life. We believe a healthy community is characterized by the following attributes:
a. Keeps you accountable – these are people who see when you are going off course and remind you of your vision.
b. Gives you rest – these are people who bring you peace, joy, encouragement and support. These people pray for you and pray with you.
3. Persue Growth
Establish a habit of reflection and planning. At the end of each day, take stock of what you have achieved and what you have failed to achieve in light of expressing your Word for 2023. (E.g. the prompting question would sound like “Today, how well did I express Freedom/ Courage/ Joy (or whatever your theme/ vision is), whilst with my colleagues, family, church-mates etc. depending on who you encountered today).
After that, picture how you intend to express your word/ theme/ vision the following day. That is how you plan to show up. Suppose you have scheduled meetings, write down what you will do or how you will behave during those meetings to express your Word.
Whenever things do not play out the way you wanted, remember to understand what went wrong and execute again.
- Break down your word/theme/vision to paint a picture of what it means to you. Try to imagine and write down how you will express the theme on a day-to-day basis. How do you want the people around you to feel/experience when you express the Word/Theme?
Example: My word for 2023 is freedom. To me freedom speaks of living my life in accordance to whom God has called me. I will be free to express my God-given gifts and share my truth, which is God’s truth – the word of God.
Because I am gifted with the gift of encouragement, I will not be afraid to call greatness within people; my words shall be of encouragement and edification. People should feel God’s affirming love when they are around me and they should leave with a true sense of hope and peace.
- Identify 2 or 3 people that you will share your Word/Theme for 2023 with and let them know how you intend to live it in order to keep it alive.
Cynthia Mabaso Chimanikire
This article was written by Cynthia Mabaso Chimanikire. Cynthia is the co-founder of New Gates and heads the organisation’s Operations and Learning strategies. Prior to joining New Gates full-time, Cynthia worked at the Central Bank of Eswatini as the Skills Development Consultant for the Bank’s Academy. Cynthia is married to Berven and together they are raising three leaders in their home Ethan, Zamar and Joseph. Cynthia is passionate about discipleship in families and organisations. Her mantra is “Raising Leaders for tomorrow”.
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