Available, Brave, and Connection: My Heart Plan for 2017

2016 was not my best year on record. In fact, it was pretty rough. Not in the way everyone might notice but, for my heart, 2016 was brutal. My journal is full of tear-stained pages begging for God to make clear the path He has for me and pleading on behalf of people I dearly love. The year began and ended with crushing words from people I had trusted with my heart. In many ways, I am more aware than ever of the fickle love we offer each other, the frailty of our relationships, and the desperate desire for acceptance.

And so the end of December and first days of January found me scouring the Word of God, longing for refuge from the sorrow and pain, seeking hope for the coming year. After all the heart pain of 2016, there is one thing I knew: I need a heart plan for 2017.

Maybe you need a heart plan for 2017? An intentional path toward experiencing all God has for you in the coming year.

My Heart Plan for 2017

And so, here I sit on January 10, 2017, opening up all those places in my heart that I’ve been so afraid to let anyone see … all the doubts and insecurities, all the fears and yuckiness. And can I tell you a secret? I really hadn’t planned to do this. In fact, I had a whole other post all ready to go today. I was just going to be all “Hey y’all! Read this great new book my friends have written!”

But then I picked up the book and I was flipping through the chapters looking for some of the sentences I had underlined and I made it all the way to page 9 where Crystal wrote,

If we’re being completely honest, my life is a perfect example of someone who chooses the guaranteed-to-succeed road. If it feels uncertain or I think I might end up embarrassed or rejected at the end of it, I’ve avoided it—regardless of how wonderful the experience might be.

And my heart sunk. Because it was like my far away friend was pulling back the curtain on my own Emerald City and there was the just this girl behind the curtain desperately trying to play the part of amazing when she really knows she’s anything but. {If that resonates with you, definitely check out Stacey Thacker’s book, Fresh Out of Amazing, one of my favorite books from 2016.}

Because y’all, that is me. I call myself an idea slinger … because that’s what I am. I have all the ideas but I’m terrified to DO anything with them. And all the rejection and hurtful experiences of 2016 magnified all of that fear of failing inside me.

So, here we are … me writing a post without an outline, laying it all out here for you to see {well, read, but you know what I mean, right?} because I’ve got this sneaky little feeling there just might be another one or two people out there hiding behind their own curtains. And if that happens to be you … maybe you need a heart plan for 2017 too.

What is a heart plan?

A heart plan is simply an intentional path toward experiencing all God has for you in the coming year. But this isn’t so much about what you’ll do as it is about who you’ll become. When you get to January 2018 what do you want to be able to say about yourself in 2017? What words do you hope describe your heart and your life in 2017?

A heart plan is really just speaking aloud those churnings in your heat, that pounding awareness of something more, something other … and then looking at every day as an opportunity to move toward that more, that other, as you inch closer to the Lord.

Available, Brave, and Connection

For me, there’s these three words that have come up already more times than I can count this year. Available. Brave. Connection. So my heart plan is really just A-B-C.


I don’t know about you, but I get mired down in all those failures, all those rejections, all the times the answer has been no. And I slowly close myself off from new opportunities, new experiences.  I find myself less and less available.  I’ve been thinking about Paul’s words to the Philippians, “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). If I’m going to be available in 2017, I have to forget about what’s behind me … all the junk in my past has to fade in light of what lies ahead.

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.


This is my one word for 2017—BRAVE. It’s a scary word for someone like me. Brave means stepping outside the safe zone, doing things I may not be good at, asking for help, and taking steps to make those ideas I’ve slung into realities I live. So far, it’s meant I’ve sent some emails asking people for endorsements for my book and feeling very unsure about if it was okay for me to ask. It’s also meant understanding while the no’s are the answer from others to my inquiries, they are not God’s final answer about me. I have had to read over and over this beautiful declaration from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20 emphasis added


Ahh, we’ve finally circled back around to the post I planned for today. That book I mentioned earlier, the one where Crystal’s words pierced my heart? It’s called Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement. And today it’s available. A collection of honest essays by writers like Lisa-Jo Baker, Kris Camealy, Denise Hughes, and Amanda White (along with 26 other incredible women), this is a guidebook for all of us desperate for real connection with God, with friends, and within our communities. Each essay ends with a Connection Challenge.

#CravingConnection is a guide for all of us desperate for real connection with God, friends, and in our communities. Click To Tweet

Which is where, for me, all the fears get set aside in order to put into action what my heart is crying out for. I’ll be using this book as my weekly A-B-C guide. Because each of the challenges will require me to be available and brave as I seek that connection I know my heart and life needs in the year ahead. 

So, there you have it … 1000+ words about what God is doing in me as the new year begins. My heart plan for 2017 isn’t anything ground-breaking or earth-shattering. But when we get to January 10, 2018, I want to be able to say I spent 2017 being available and brave and moving toward deeper connections in my life.


Teri Lynne

About Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement

We all long for meaningful relationships, the Colossians 3:14 kind that fulfill our desire for unity and connection with God, our friends, and our community.  But where do we start?  The (in)courage community invites you to grab a cup of coffee, pull a chair up to the table, and commit to creatively and prayerfully fulfilling your cravings for connection.  Craving Connection is a journey with (in)courage writers sharing real-life stories, practical Scripture application, and connection challenges that will encourage you to:  (1) embrace the desire God has given each of us for connection, (2) invest in meaningful relationships, right where God has you, and (3) become the friend you wish you had.

Order your copy now by clicking the image below! {This is an affiliate link but I only share the books and products that have been meaningful to me and that I think you’ll love as well.}

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. First of all, I’m sorry you’ve been hurt by people you trust. That is really one of the most painful things to experience. I hate that you dealt with that. 2016 was the year of your book and everything!!! Ugh. Anyway, I hope this year is much better for you. Love you.

    • Sweet Pattie, it wasn’t all terrible … but it was definitely the hardest year I’ve faced as an adult. I think it works that way, though, you know. That when God is doing all these incredible things in your life the enemy works even harder to distract and destroy you. God is so good, so faithful, and so present. Love you too, friend, for a long time now.

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