I’d always gone by my nickname Missy. Most people didn’t even know that my given name is Marissa.
Marissa means “of the sea,” and God had begun speaking into my name 5 years previously when I spent a summer in Mozambique. It was a private name between the two of us, and I thought it’d always stay that way.
But during that solo trip to the ocean, God asked me to surrender to a name change and a new identity. While staring at the ocean with Jesus’ arms wrapped around me, I finally said yes.
But what did my new name mean? That was the journey of the new year.
God had me write a t-chart in my journal that compared Missy vs. Marissa. For everything that Missy was, God gave me a contrasting description of who Marissa would be.
Then I felt God whisper to downsize ALL belongings that tied me to previous seasons of my life.
So I slowly began purging:
7. Makeup/Beauty Items, etc.
Weekends and evenings were spent listening to God’s next directive of what to get rid of and if/when to replace it. And every time, I’d hear the reason for the change.
God: Today you need to get a new backpack.
Me: Why? My sister’s old backpack is still in good condition!
God: Because you’ll no longer carry the burdens of others.
God: It’s time to get a new straightener.
Me: But mine works great! And it’s a salon brand, even though it’s 15 years old.
God: I’m straightening all the crooked paths in your life.
Sometimes it was an especially strange directive…
God: I want you to get the newest iPhone 11 Pro.
Me: Ummm, that’s the most frivolous thing you could make me buy. I don’t even take pictures!
God: I’m upgrading you to the next season of your life.
(We argued about it for 3 days.)
Me (4 months later): Oh, now I understand… I actually like taking photos and videos, and I need them for engaging on social media!
The Most Expensive Upgrade
And then God had me do a really crazy thing.
Me: Huh. I feel like I’m almost done purging all my stuff. Except my car. It’s sure served me well! I’m glad my (2002 Honda Accord) still has some years left on it, and I’m so thankful that Dad picked it out for me.
Me: Oh no. You doin’ too much. You better not be making me replace my car!
God: I’m your Heavenly Father, and I’m your provider and protector. You’ll no longer look to anyone else to fill these roles in your life.
Within 36 hours, I was the proud owner of a 2016 Ford Focus hatchback that I purchased below market value. It was exactly the type of car I’d contemplated getting the previous year. But I’d decided not to because I felt God say no. Turns out it was a timing issue rather than a forever no.
And the coolest part?
I gave that car to a friend when God asked me to. After dropping it off, he texted me a short time later. “Marissa, can you believe it? The Honda’s mileage is exactly the same as the mileage on my old car when it died last summer!”
God works in crazy ways.
God makes all things new
I’m a visionary goal-setter who’s always pressing forward into the new/better thing.
For years, I’ve set aside time for seasonal reflection:
1. I look back at what has and hasn’t worked for me
2. I decide how I want to move forward
3. I create a vision board to keep me motivated
The one thing that kept coming up over and over again as a heart’s desire for years?
A fresh start. Permanent change. Living a bold and fearless life.
When I moved to Nashville, I was disappointed that multiple things on my Seattle vision board hadn’t happened… and I was still struggling with making progress in several parts of my life.
So you can imagine my surprise, shock, and thankfulness to God when I realised: after my cocoon season was complete, God had made every. single. one. of those things happen.