Releasing Resolutions

ReleaseTo free from something that binds, fastens or holds back. To let go of.

New Year’s Resolutions have NEVER worked for me, but something I have started doing over the past few years is what I’ve come to call ONE WORD. It is where I focus on hearing from Him on what the theme of the upcoming year will be for me…just ONE WORD. Instead of chasing after a list of resolutions that lead me to feel frustrated as I continue to fall short on my ambitious plans because of my efforts to do ‘too much’!

Can I get an ‘Amen, sister’!?!?!?

By focusing on just ONE WORD I discover it gives me more clarity, passion and purpose for every area of my life. It brings me simplicity and focus. Helps me to cut through the distractions and keeps me focused on what really matters. I try to stretch this ONE WORD theme into every area of my life: spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally and even financially. Everyone’s ONE WORD is different as God is moving each of us through different seasons of life! This practice doesn’t have to begin at New Years…you can start it at anytime. Just spend some time seeking Him for where He is leading you. It is a process, not instant gratification, as He reveals to you your theme for the year!

This year, I feel that He keeps whispering ‘RELEASE’ into my heart. To be honest, I’m having a hard time embracing this one. For one that loves control, clings to routine…this is a hard one! Spiritually speaking, I feel as if He is gently requesting to release all I have found comfort and security in…letting it go, for His way! To let go of my ways, my thoughts, my plans, my comforts, my way as I know it…My heart is pounding, almost ripping through my chest as I know for me, this is going to take beyond a miracle! But since it is Him who gently requests, I know I am in better Hands than my own self!

“…let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us. Looking away (from all that will distract) to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith and is also its Finisher (bringing it to maturity and perfection). He, for the joy (of obtaining the prize) that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~Hebrews 12:1-2

A Place of Quiet

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“Then because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  ~Mark 6:31

Staying heavily involved with family gatherings beginning in early November through the middle of January can leave me beyond exhaustion. I tend to let the stress of life gather inside until it begins to seep out in the healthiest ways. Trying to be extremely prepared ahead of time so that when the time comes, I can sit back and enjoy my loved ones and the experience itself has always been the plan. Unfortunately, my plan doesn’t always come into fruition. So, when I feel the heaviness of it all I must escape to my place of quiet!

When I have a cup of hot coffee in my hand I tend to relax and let go! In these seclusions of self, I make a cup of coffee and find a place to where I can regroup my soul. I tend to focus using this acronym:

C ~ Centered on Christ. My everything should be focused on Christ! My heart, mind, emotions, decisions, actions, behavior, etc… Remembering everything He did, does and will continue to do for me, shatters my overwhelment and brings my heart into a state of gratitude and thankfulness!

O ~ Ornaments. Adorn my soul with giving, kindness and love. “Your adornment must not be merely external~ putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” ~ 1 Peter 3: 3~4

F ~ Find pockets of peace. Letting peace be the umpire of my heart, no matter how overwhelmed I feel or how challenging the circumstances amount to. “The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.” ~ Numbers 6:25 ~ 26

F ~ Fullness of Life. In every stress filled event, finding fullness of life reminds me that He wants that for me! Do not let the enemy seep into my frustrations to steal, kill or destroy my joy, peace or happiness. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” ~John 10:10

E ~ Enjoyment. Taking the time to step away and regroup allows me to go into the season with enjoyment! Having my heart beating appreciation, thankfulness and gratitude instead of taking things for granted or having a bitter taste of obligation. “May the God of hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life ~ giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!’ ~Romans 15:13

E ~ Eliminate expectations. The holidays are wonderful opportunities where we want to exercise our control issues and put unspoken expectations on others to do what we want, how/when we want it done, etc… I’ve noticed in my own life that during the holidays I tend to eliminate any expectations of how I want certain things to go, and in doing this, I receive a great reward of peace! There can be extreme amounts of pressure during the holidays anyways, so why add more by having unrealisitic or unspoken expectations of others to follow. Instead extend grace and mercy with a dose of love!

Wishing you all a more balanced, healthy way of approaching the holiday season! Abundant blessing to you in 2014!

A Coffeehouse Chat

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Sitting across from a dear friend in a quaint and rustic local coffee shop, we drank our ‘pretty’ coffee while we chatted in efforts to catch up in each other’s lives. You know those special type of friendships that grace your life that even though you haven’t seen the person in four months, you can immediately enter their world without skipping a beat. Yes, she is one of those blessings to me!

Coffee and conversation was our idea. God, of course, had His own greater plan! I was very excited when I had this chance to meet up with her as we both have very full days! She teaches the ‘little people’ of 6 years old at a local elementary, and I am a stay at home Mommy of two very sweet energetic little boys ages 2 and 1 which the words ‘me time’ are very few and far between. So of course, when the grandparents came in town I jumped on the chance to be able to get away for a bit. I had never been to this coffeehouse before, so we chatted a bit about what to get. We spoke about my husband and little boys, her work and individual activities she is involved with.

Then it just got all crazy up in there! As if God pulled up a chair right alongside of us and joined us for the last bit of our time together.

You see, my friend and I are in different seasons of our lives. She is single, not dating anyone and immersed in her work. She is a beautiful, loyal, committed, dependable, witty woman of God that loves the Lord! Beyond smart and extremely hilarious. She has a servant’s heart and is a natural leader. Most of her days start early and end late. A great core group of friends from her church is where she lets loose! Deep days fill her life as she moves forward in the monotony of her long season. A heart that desires to beat wildly in the promises that He has given to her. Content with Him, yet discontent withe desires still unfulfilled within.

I live in a similar, yet different season. I am a wife to a wonderful man of 3 years, a Mommy to 2 precious boys that I take care of 24/7. I know parenthood is a sacrificial life, yet with my boys being so young this is definitely a season of MUCH self sacrifice for this Mommy! Can I get an amen from the other Mommys of the little people?? My days start early and seem to never end, even when I put my head to the pillow. My schedule is built around the needs of others. I am a body guard to my youngest and a referee during playtime. Lack of sleep has left me with the idea that it is highly overrated. The constant clutter in my brain as well as doing what seems to be a million things a second, I tend to slip in remembrance that His presence graces those moments.  I have to remind my soul to slow down enough to breathe Him in, rest in Him and talk with Him knowing that even in the midst of trying to find meaning in the monotony of daily motherhood, HE IS HERE! Deep days fill my life as I move forward in this long, yet rewarding season. The desire for my heart to beat wildly in His promises He grafted into my heart, long ago, to come into fruition. Realizing it won’t be during this season. In these deep days, I am reminded that not only is character being built but through them the desire to transition into the next season is birthed.

In our conversation of where we are in our personal lives, this is where God put down his latte and took over our agenda! Something tugged fiercely inside that I knew had to be shared with her. As I took off my ‘everything is just wonderful’ mask, I shared with her that I find myself at times now ‘idolizing’ my single season in the sense that I look at all the responsibilities I have now with not much freedom for myself and envy that time in my life when I had no responsibility to anyone else but to myself. Selfish, I know right!!?? I could come and go as I pleased, wake up when I wanted, go to bed when I was tired, take a nap when needed, run errands by myself and those errands were based on my wants and needs. Do you want to know the best part of that single season, the freedom in my time with the Lord!! If I was in the ‘flow’ of conversation with Him, I could literally sit for hours reading, praying, journaling, worshiping…those were some of the most special memories of that season! I had the time to commit myself to what/where I felt Him leading me. Discontentment also filled spaces in my heart that desired a husband and family to call my own during my blissful ‘single’ season. As I shared these things with her, it hit me that no matter what season you may find yourself living in right now, there is beautiful chaos. The joys and happiness. The challenges and struggles. My last thoughts to her, and myself, were simply these words, “Don’t glamoroize a season of life that you think will ‘complete’ you as a beautiful mess awaits you there too!”

‘Enjoy where you are on the way to where you are going.’ ~Joyce Meyer