Fearless. That is my word for 2019. I spell it “fear.less,” as I desire to fear less as I follow Christ in faith this year.

I don’t often speak of worries, but I am an attentive listener of my thoughts. And my thoughts are often filled with concerns which draw me in like a gnat to light; eventually, I struggle deciphering if I am in control of my thinking or if my thinking is in control of me.

All of us have triggers. You know full well which ones take you straight from clam to concern.

I tend to obsess when something pops up out of the ordinary which targets a stress point: health, children’s wellbeing, finances. I reel over signs and symptoms, casting them into a murky ocean called “Worst Possible Outcome.”

I don’t remember being worrisome when I was younger. As a teen, I was bolder… braver. I still feel bold and brave, but more of a quiet, passionate warrior who knows her greatest strength is not born of herself.

My armor has been tested and dented by experiences – both in and out of my control. I see scars when I look in the mirror, internal and external, and I am reminded of moments when being brave didn’t prevent tragedy, turmoil, and time from moving forward. Even being full of faith doesn’t prevent hardships, disappointments, and pressures.

When someone responds to another Believer’s pain by saying, “Have faith,” does this mean the one struggling is without faith? Not necessarily. Perhaps someone may have recognized an imbalance of focus which is causing unnecessary pain; an imbalance rectified through surrender.

We can focus so hard on the power of pain that we lose sight of the power of God. Fear and pain become idols. When we give our attention to something less than God, we are left with a less-than mentality.

“‘You shall have no other gods before me’” (Exodus 20:3).

I don’t want to live captive to concern in 2019. I want to stop being a victim of fearfulness. Yes, some things I have experienced have been scary, disruptive, and life-changing. I am sure you can say the same. But to think as one who is preparing for the next “what if…” leaves me in a state of continual uneasiness. And I am tired of giving life to thoughts that often do not come to fruition. And even if the “worst” comes to life, what will fretting add to my peace and comfort?

“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27).

I am humbled by the uncertainty of day-to-day life. I understand that I cannot truly live out faith if I choose to see life through the veil of apprehension. Faith dulls behind the heaviness of this veil: a veil God never intended to shroud life. And in my fight to be both free of restraining thoughts and faithful to God, I can feel alone… imprisoned.

I had a dream the other night that I was behind bars. I sat in this prison long enough for my eyes to weaken and my skin to thin. It wasn’t until I heard a bird singing, perched just outside a window set high upon my view, that I stood and walked near to the bars. I felt a breeze, and it became breath to my lungs. Reaching out to feel the air upon my fingertips, my hand pushed through and beyond the bars. The bird alighted upon my palm before flying away. The entire time, I never knew the bars were made of paper… they only looked formidable.

A turn of the calendar does not afford me an increased measure of faith. Nor does a new goal professed in a new year grant me a fresh perspective. The only power which can truly move me beyond yesterday is Christ. Jesus gives me wings when I am weary; frees my mind of the insatiable desire to be in control - to break free from bars not meant for me to stand behind. If I stand behind anything, it will be the Word of God. If my vision is to weaken, may it only be so the eyes of Christ Jesus can guide me. And if my body fails and thins, shall it be said of me that she tired being strong in faith rather than weakened by her fears.

Yes, I believe in having goals. My goal is to run into the arms of Jesus so passionately that on the day I finally feel His embrace, my life will have been spent to the full chasing Him.

The ocean of “Worst Possible Outcome” doesn’t have the final say. The opinions of self and others don’t have the final say. No weapon forged against me will prevail because God has the final say (Isaiah 54:17, Proverbs 16:1). This is truth. This is truth I accept or deny. Either way, it is still truth.

Day-to-day accepting truth, I surrender to God: heart, mind, body, and soul.

2019 is a gift, and I will not wrap myself behind paper bars decorated in doubt. I am here. I am alive. And there is living to be done today. Real living. Real loving. All from a real Savior.

Spending more time in scripture offers me less time to fret. Getting on my knees in prayer affords me a position of humbly listening rather than one of prideful control. And remembering God’s faithfulness empowers me to entrust His daily provisions.

May the birdsong of a new day alight upon your palm and your faith grow in the full breadth of life that is gifted to you by Christ Jesus. And may you live as one who draws from the eternal strength of the Lord more than the temporariness of the world.

Whether you enter 2019 with dented armor and scars or feeling the breeze of new life within your lungs, I pray for you to be bold and brave in Christ’s love, to live in truth, and be fully alive in faith.

I pray for you to be FEAR.LESS.

SGLY, dear readers.

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian Author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier, Instagram:@tiffanysgly, and Twitter: @tiffanychartier.