To Begin Again
Every year at this time I sit back and reflect on all that is behind me. I strive to remember the milestones, the life-changing moments. I lean in to get a glimpse of the laughter, the tears, the heavy sighs, the little things that made this year special. And the questions come through Facebook and on blogs I read, “What was the highlight of your year”, and then I shudder. I realize that I didn’t take time this year to stop and be present in every moment of every day. Life sort of came in like a lion and happened, and I went with it. I got caught up in it, although I never felt like I was really living it. Life was rushing past me and I did not see it. Oh there were moments, and some big things God did, but if all I really remember are the big and obvious, is that truly living?
Honestly, I am sad to say goodbye to this year. For a while, I held it in my grasp. I could feel it as it grow inside the palm of my hand. I could smell the possibilities and taste the goodness that was all wrapped up in this year. Yet, now it’s gone. I cannot get it back. I don’t really have any regrets, other than the fact that I didn’t capture more of the beauty that happened while I was swept away trying to keep my head above water.
For me, to begin again means new opportunities to truly learn to be present in every moment of every day, and not allow the busyness, the mundaneness of life to cause me to close my eyes to the wellspring of life that is all around me. There are new mercies and overwhelming grace to be had this year. I am in dire need of both.
So I will begin again, but this time with a new heart, a new mind and a new attitude.
I will not be choosing a One Word focus this year. I have done so the last three years and while I did so with good intentions, in doing so I took my eyes off of all of the other things God wanted me to pursue. And when I didn’t feel like I met the goal of the One Word, well, I just quite. It became hard. I felt like a failure (something I am working on) and gave up. The buttons were removed from my sidebar and all hope was lost. But God did show Himself through each of these words — Constant in 2011, Pursue in 2012 and Simply in 2013. There are moments of beauty and lessons learned in each one. But in each one is also an unfinished race, goals unmet and a challenge that I did not rise to. Hear me when I say the One Word focus is a beautiful thing. It just will not be my focus this year.
So what will 2014 look like for me?
My sole focus this year will be on listening to the Holy Spirit, writing down the revelation that He brings to me through the reading of His Word and in prayer, and being willing to move where the Spirit of God leads me. Of course, I still believe in setting goals. Goals give you something to aim for. I just don’t ever want to feel guilty for missing the mark.
Here are just a few things that I believe the Lord has given me the passion to do in the coming year.
Bible Reading Plan.
I want to be very intentional in positioning myself to receive all that God has for me this year. I’ve read the Bible through in a year before, but it’s been a long time. This year, I will be joining Tricia Goyer using the Women’s Guide to Reading the Bible through in a Year. I am hoping this will help me in my quest to stay focused while receiving fresh revelation from the Lord, as well as accountability from a group of women all taking this same journey.
Journals. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I have multiple journals that have been started and never finished. In 2012 on my birthday, God gave me the idea to color His Word by art journaling. I think I lasted 30 days. I get hung up in perfectionism — Do I have sloppy writing? Are my hand drawn pictures good enough? This year, I want to focus more on the writing of the revelation received and less on what it looks like. For my journal, I will be using the Arc Customizeable Notebook, referred to me by a friend.
I am not a photographer. The photos you see here on this blog are paid for stock photos, or photos that friends have allowed me to use. Very few are mine. I find it hard to stop long enough to truly see the beauty that is all around me. I know seeing myself as a creative being is something God wants me to work on. It’s not about the photo. It’s about seeing, really seeing the beauty that is all around me. And friends, if there is one thing I’ve learned this year, there is beauty among the mess of life. We just have to be intentional in seeking it out. For this goal, I will be joining Elisa Pulliam to Capture a God Aware Life in 2014 by capturing just one distinct photo each week.
I started counting my gifts in 2012 (a restart from 2011) and I stopped in March, with just 221 gifts counted. Because I wasn’t being intentional at seeing the beauty all around me, I found myself striving, seeking, searching for beauty. I would list things that I was not in fact truly thankful for because it sounded good, and because I knew I needed be thankful for something. This year, I have a beautiful new journal to count my gifts. (Thank you Karrilee!) It’s a reminder that there is grace, and within that grace is found so much beauty. So beginning the week of January 6th, I will begin counting again, from the beginning, to 1000 gifts and perhaps beyond.
Be Free to Be.
In 2014, I want to be free to be all that God has intended me to be. I want to slow down, to be present in every moment, to life live and not let it live me (does that make sense?). If I fail at all of these other things, it won’t matter, as long as I’ve heard Him, seen Him and have allowed Him to move me where His Spirit will take me. This year, I want to be fully His.
What are your goals for 2014?
Linking up with these lovely communities!