Wanna De-Stress New Year’s Resolutions?

Several years ago I read an article about how pretty much nobody sticks with New Year’s resolutions. Some people can stick with them for a few months, but most people have lost motivation before February even arrives.

Does this sound familiar? Yeah, me too. I used to set these goals and have high hopes of “this time I’m really going to do this!”

Well, after doing this and failing most of my adult years I learned about a new way to set New Year’s resolutions.

Word of the Year

For several years, I have chosen a word of the year. This is something to focus on during the entire year.

For example, my first word of the year was peace. I painted a small canvas to put on my desk with the word peace, so I would see it daily and remember what I’m focusing on. In addition, I set reminders on my phone to periodically think about and practice peace along with creating a Pinterest board with Bible verses, sayings, and pictures of peace.

Other years, my words have been things like: joy, love, humble servant…

After having this practice for several years, I am pretty sure I will keep doing this for many more years to come.

Do you have a different way of doing New Year’s Resolutions?  Do you choose a word?  Share your ideas!

Just Breathe

So, I’ve had a pretty emotional few days and wondered what in the world I was going to write about today because I’m still in an emotional roller coaster. I decided to just write what was on my mind:

Sometimes life sucks.

Something unexpected happens and pulls the rug out from under your feet. Or something not so pleasant happens that you know is going to happen and it still sucks.

So what are we to do?!?!

My advice is to just breathe.

Breathe in the breath of God.

In Genesis 2:7 it says,

“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

Without God’s breath this man would not have come alive. AND, it is the same today. Every single being comes to life with the breath of God.

Have you ever heard a baby take its first breath and cry? Guess what?!?! God did that! He breathed His breath into that little, precious miracle.

In addition, every single breath we take we are filling ourselves with the breath of God. Imagine that resurrection power entering our nostrils, traveling to the lungs, entering the blood stream, and what that power is capable of. 🤔

Johnny Diaz sings a song called, Just Breathe, that is such a good reminder for me.

Last week I posted a video on my Facebook page about anxiety. And in that video I discuss one way of breathing to help calm anxiety. And sometimes we could use to focus on the breath to just make it through the day- whether we have anxiety or not.

From a health perspective, breathing can calm the central nervous system allowing us to process the emotions instead of storing them inside our bodies as toxins. (I love talking about emotions and our bodies by the way! Perhaps a blog post topic for the future.) The less toxic we are the better our bodies function and the better we think and feel.

Yes, breathing can help with all that. Wowie! So, today, in the midst of the emotional struggle I’m going to focus on breathing. Breathing in the breath of God.

What life events or struggles have you had that pulled the rug out from under you? Comment below so we can support, encourage, and pray for one another.

That Elusive Peace

In yoga we often say, “Having peace doesn’t mean there’s no chaos in your life.  Having peace means you’re in the midst of the chaos and you have calm in your heart.”

 

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

 

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV)

 

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.  (NIV)

 

Yeah.  Yeah.  Yeah.

I’ve heard those verses before (maybe even a thousand times).  So, how do they help me find peace?!?!

I heard a sermon by Pastor Mark this past weekend that was all about disillusionment.  He used the movie, Ready Player One, to illustrate his point.  The characters in this movie join in a video game to escape their current reality of life.

Is that you?  Are you currently trying to escaping your current reality?  Like, scrolling social media for hours on end, watching endless Fixer Upper or Family Feud, playing video games, whatever…..

Some people think if they become Christians and believe in God then EVERYTHING in life will be perfect and peace will abound endlessly.

That is disillusionment.

God doesn’t promise smooth sailing.  In fact, he might even bring you into the “wilderness” just so you will seek him to get out.

To have peace, we must first understand why we are here on this earth, understand our purpose.  And we all have exactly the same purpose:

To Serve God.

No matter what we’re doing in our day to day lives:  changing baby’s butts, doing dishes, driving, cooking, learning, working….

We are to serve God in all we do.  When we seek God with all our hearts God will come to us.  He promises to.  And, I know that is easier said than done.  Believe me.  It’s a daily struggle for me too.

But, I have experienced God’s peace.  And for an extended period of time.  I can’t explain it.  There was no reason I should’ve had it (my life was crazy unpredictable).  Yet, it was there.

And then… it was snatched away in an instant.

See, my husband was admitted to the hospital a few months ago, had two surgeries, and nearly lost his leg.  The same week, I was put on crutches for a torn tendon in my foot.  And I lost my peace.

The devil knew I was strong with God.  So, he attacked something I couldn’t control.  A rampant infection in the person I love the most and my mobility.  And he stole my peace.  Rather, I allowed him to take it.

I think we tend to see control as peace.  When we know what is going to happen, when it’s going to happen, and how it’s going to happen, then ahhhh…. we’re okay.  At peace even.

But, God isn’t about what we can control.  No. No. No.

Sigh.

He’s about us serving and worshiping him.   And I know and have experienced that if we keep our focus on him, peace will come.  So, as I work to reclaim my peace – in a place of complete uncertainty in my business, life, direction – I am seeking Him.  The one who’s hand created the boundless stars and hung the moon at just the right spot.  He’s got my focus….

Now, if I can only keep it there.

 

(By the way, my husband is fully recovered and still has his leg!  Praise God!)

2018-04-30 16.53.16

This is us the day we came home from the hospital.  Celebrations all around!!!

Freedom

Galatians 5:13

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (NIV)

We are lucky.

Very lucky to live in a place where we have freedom.  We can go and do and be what we want.  We are not under tyrannical rule.  We can walk our streets safely and worship as we please.

And yet, so many of us feel so trapped.  So imprisoned.  So stuck.

I read a blog post years ago that spoke to me so deeply I still have it saved in my email today.  (Sadly, this blog has been deleted and I can’t share it with you.) The basis of it is this:

There you are in a cold, hard cell.  Trapped.  Shivering.  Alone.  Wishing so badly you could escape this prison.  Then, you hear footsteps, and they stop in front of your cell.  A man dressed in white opens the door.  He says, “Come.”  And you are so afraid of what going with him might be like that deep in your soul you just want to stay right where you are – comfortable in your own hell.  Stepping out might mean experiencing something different, and you don’t know how to handle different so you want to stay right there where you know what it’s like.  You wish he would just leave.  And yet, he keeps commanding you, “Come.  Come.”  You feel deeply that this man can be trusted, but what if…

So often we have the opportunity to say yes to Jesus and step out of our comfort zone to something different.  Yet, it is so very scary.  And strange.  And unpredictable.  And often unconventional.  Sometimes so much that we just stay.  We choose the comfortable hell over freedom.

Sigh.

I’ve been there soooo many times.  And I’ve also had the experience of taking that man’s hand and not looking back.  I’ve felt the freedom that comes.  I’ve also felt the intense fear of doing so.  But, without trusting and stepping out, we can’t be released from our bondage.

In Galatians, we are told to use our freedom to “serve one another humbly in love.” How can stepping out, releasing yourself from bondage, trusting the one who authored all of creation, allow you to follow this command?  What prison could you possibly be released from?

Take a step toward Jesus today.  He’ll show you the way.