Monday, June 13, 2016

Revisiting 2016 Resolutions.....6 months in....

Original Resolution Post

I am a few days early in making my 2016 resolution post, but I want to do it while my thoughts about 2016 are fresh in my mind.  I really love making New Year resolutions, it is the following through with them that I am not so great at.  So, this year my top resolution is to follow through with my resolutions!

I have three key words for this year:  Intentional....Grateful....Authentic

I think authentic is just actually going to be my life word, but I want it to be part of who I am in everything.  I haven't reached it yet, so I still have to make it part of my resolutions.


I want to be intentional in every single relationship I have.  That means that I want to make time to hear what people are really saying.  Spend quality time with them, and not just a hello here or there.  I want to foster those friendships that are one-of-a-kind.  I want to make deep and lasting friendships that are going to be around for awhile, and be able to make it through all the ups and downs life has to offer us. Mostly though this year I am going to be intentional with my family.  I feel like they kind of get the back burner sometimes because I know that they will always be there, but we don't know what tomorrow holds.  I want to make memories today.  I want to get to know who they are on a deeper level.  I want to intentionally spent time loving the people I am with.


Sometimes I get lost in wanting what others have.  I get lost in wanting a husband/family of my own and that sometimes forces me to lose sight of the things that I do have that others don't.  In 2016 I want to be grateful for what I have.  I want to be grateful for my singleness and live it out in a way that I never have before.  I want to be grateful for my friends, family, community.  I want to look at everyday in a positive way and open my eyes up to all that I am blessed with. I don't want to take God's mercy for granted.  I want to wake up every morning feeling blessed and living out that feeling. 


I continue to try to live an authentic life.  I continue to try to be the real me no matter who I am around, and no matter what the subject is.  I feel like it is a process, and will continue to be a process as long as I live.  But this year I am focusing once again on being authentic.  I don't want to hide behind anything.  I want to be real when I am feeling lousy.  I want to be real when I have something to celebrate.  I want to be authentic in conversations and not hide behind the mask or wall I so often put up.

I am excited about what God has brought me this year to focus on in 2016.

"Do not fear for I am with you:  Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  Isaiah 41:10

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (or cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and calm and well balanced mind and discipline and self-control."      2 Timothy 1:7

So I look to 2016, that it will be a year when I embrace where I am, who I am with, and the life that I am living as a single 34 year old female.  I will live my life with love, intention, gratefulness, and authenticity.  I will work to build His kingdom through His mercy and grace. 

I always think it is good to go back and look at things that we have written in the past, especially when those things are supposed to be our resolutions!!!  

I'm not real sure that I have done a terrific job of embracing these three things.  So.....

Here I go again.....the next 6 months....

Authenticity, Gratefulness, and Intentionality.... 

A Less Busy Life...

This past Sunday's sermon was pretty much spot on with what God has been telling me here lately.  I have found myself consumed with being too busy for people, and time with Him.  It makes me sad, but not sad enough to do anything about it.  That is...until Saturday night at 3:00 am.  I had been planning a vacation for awhile.  I am actually takinh a week off in July, and at first was pretty much set on going to California to visit friends.  But a $500 plane ticket isn't exactly what I had in mind, plus the cost of housing, plus I would be trying to visit everyone and their mom and I just don't know that it is the best use of my time after the craziness that this summer has already been.  

So I went through about 8 million (okay a bit of an exaggeration) scenarios, before I realized that maybe right now what I need to do is make God my priority.  Maybe what I need to do is spend time in prayer with Him.  Away from social media, away from Netflix, away from all the things that so often distract me from where my focus needs to be.  

Life for me has become about doing everything for everyone all of the time.  Life for me has become about doing my best all of the time, about running myself ragged trying to say yes to everything that is asked of me...and frankly it is freaking exhausting.  I can't keep going at this rate.  I don't need to keep going at this rate.  

I don't have to say yes to everything.  Even the things that I say yes to do not have to be completed perfectly without any flaws.  Because really it isn't about me getting everything right, and doing everything that I can do to be someone important.  It isn't about proving myself worthy.  Because I don't need to prove myself worthy.  I don't need to prove that I have a role in this world.  I don't need to prove.  

Yet, I am always trying to prove.  I am always trying to make a difference but not for the right reasons.  

I am addicted to the Kingdom of Noise.  Trying to accomplish everything in  the world myself.  Trying to make everything the way I think it should be.  Doing things my way  Filling up my calendar with people, Bible Studies, volunteering, coffee dates.  They all look like great, stellar things.  They all seem like things that would bring me closer to God.  Really though, none of it brings me closer to Him, because it all is representing the wedge that I am allowing to be driven between.  

It is easier to stay busy, than to stop and ask Him what I should be doing differently in my life.  It is easier to stay busy than to work on changing the things that I know are keeping me from love.  It is easier to check FB than to sit down and pray.  To communicate with the all-knowing God of the is not quite as entertaining as the banter back and forth about the presidential candidates.  
My life has in many ways become my idol.  I am not often still before God, because I have allowed myself to become accustomed to constant activity and distraction.  

Is that really the kind of life I want to live?  Do I really want to wait till the end of the day before offering up my praise, and requests to Him?  Do I really want to only think of Him when it is convenient for me, or when I have nothing else to read or entertain me?  

What kind of life would I be living, if that was all that I thought of the one who Created me?  

I had someone look me in the eyes last week and say..."There is no way you can help other people, if you are not filled up yourself." 

It's so true, isn't it?  How do we expect to keep giving of ourselves without being full?  How do we expect to make a difference in this world, if we are trying to do it on our own, in our own way?  

I constantly find myself fighting the noise in my life.  I constantly find myself wanting to take moments to hear nothing, to be nothing, to just listen and understand all there is to get from silence.  That's not what my culture values though.  That is not even what a lot of churches value.  We value keeping our lives and our kids lives so busy that there is not time to just be.  There is no time to connect as a family.  There is no time to pray.  

How many of us have said those words, "I'll pray for you."  Then....we don't.  Why?  Because we get so wrapped up in the go, go, going of life that communicating with God about someone else is the lowest on our checklist of things to get done in a day.  

I can't be this busy.  I can't be too busy for people, for prayer, for communication with my Creator.  Because if I continue to let the Kingdom of Noise have the throne, there will be nothing left in me but selfishness, anger, and fear.  There will be nothing left, but all the things that I don't want to be.  

My life has to change.  I have to pass by the illusion that the "stuff" I am doing is the most important.  I have to realign myself with the truth that His Kingdom is the only one that matters.  My busy life does nothing to point others to love.  My busy life only causes others to think they don't matter.  

In the next week or two I will take a step back, and make more time to pray.  I will because it is one of the greatest things in life I can do. In fact it might be the greatest thing in life I can do.  

Solitude and prayer....what could happen to change this world if we all took more time for solitude and prayer???


When we choose love....

Love...sometimes I think I forget what love is supposed to be.  I find myself so caught up in my own thoughts and needs that I forget that love isn't just something that happens to me.  It isn't just this feeling that is floating out there in space.  Love is supposed to be who I am.  Love is supposed to be what I live for.  It is because of love that I am here, isn't it?  It is because of love that I have so many chances.  

Yet I find myself in this pattern of not relying on love.  I find myself wanting to earn love, or wanting others to earn my love.  I find myself wondering if I love enough.  

This past weekend I found myself in tears because of a friend's pain.  I found myself with the biggest heartache that I have had  for another person, in a really long time, so much so that it brought me to tears, the giant sobbing kind of tears.  In that moment it struck me what love truly is.  In that moment I understood that what love's feeling what another person is going through so deeply that you feel it inside of your core.  Then I thought...that's it.  That is what this life is about.  When we look at others, when we listen to them, we love them so much that we truly allow ourselves to feel what they are going through.  We allow ourselves to be put into the position that they are in.  We allow ourselves to love to our core.  

Isn't that what Jesus did?  He felt the pain to His very core that each of us would go through.  Every single time we shed a tear, He feels it....just as much as we do.  That is the depth of love, that is the truth of love.  That is living love. 

I'm not Jesus, I can't attain His perfection...but I am able to love through His grace and mercy.  I am able to tune in to the love that He has for me, and carry that on in my interactions.  

I find myself stopping in moments throughout my day and asking myself if I am truly loving to my core.  Am I connecting with others so much so that I feel their pain and hurt?  Or am I just listening to them, telling them I will pray for them, and then moving forward?  I don't want to be complacent when it comes to love.  I don't want it to be just another emotion that I have.  I want it to seriously run my life.  I want love to be what comes out of me in my most vulnerable moments, when all I want to do is run the other direction.  I want to love others so much that they can't possible do anything else but understand God's love, and sacrifice more after they are in contact with me.  

Love isn't just a feeling that comes and goes like butterflies in my stomach.  It isn't just this crazy emotion that I get when I think a guy is into me.  Love is so much deeper than that.  Love has a depth that can only be peeled back when it is authentically given to the core.  I didn't design love, there's nothing anyone should be able to do to take away my love.  Because love shouldn't come from me, and it shouldn't be filled out of my weaknesses.  Love, it has to be bigger than that.  Love....has to be the very depth of who I am.  Love has to be the force that drives me to my knees, and powers me to understand how to connect in the most meaningful of ways.   

That's the kind of life worth living, that's the kind of love worth dying for.