It’s 2019 and the year is feeling fresh and new. I don’t know about you though, but this is always the time of the month when the shine of the new year is starting to fade and keeping up all the positive changes gets a little tougher. SO! We are kicking off a series here on the blog all out how to maintain and even push a little further into the fresh starts of 2019.
First up, and most importantly, let’s discuss how to find a fresh start in faith. Faith is a one size fits none topic where the answers for you are definitely not the answers for me, but I think there are a few (mostly) universal practices that can help move you closer to the things that really matter.
1. Scheduled Quiet Time
I believe in first things first, and when it comes to quiet time, I take that literally. I have found such growth when I make pursuing Jesus one of the very first things that I do with my day. It can be difficult to prioritize anything when it isn’t a part of your routine. So let me encourage you to pick a place, a time period, and a method to guide your quiet time and then stick to it no matter what. For me that looks like my dining room table, from 7:20-8:00am, and touching on Scripture, prayer, and outside reading/study during those minutes. Does that time sometimes get shortened? Sure. Do I sometimes feel disconnected? Yes. But mostly, that time is consistent, enriching, day-shaping. If you believe Christ comes first in your life, I would encourage you to put him first in your day.
2. Bible Study
We are better together. This could not be more apparent when we look at bible study/Lifegroup/small group communities. My Lifegroup and I meet every Monday night for two hours of prayer, study, and mostly, pouring deeply and well into each others’ lives. My community of Christian women holds me up and I cover them in prayer. We keep each other accountable and cover the breadth of scripture in my basement once a week. And because we are a community of women who love each other outside of the 2-hour bible study window, we also go on weekend trips and watch the Bachelor and celebrate Galentines Day together. These are the women who will throw my baby showers and be on the other end of the phone if the worst is happening. That’s what community does. It brings out the best in you and always points you to the cross.
3. Prayer & Fasting
My church, Rock City, dedicates the last 21 days of January to a corporate period of prayer and fasting. If you want to remove barriers between you and hearing the voice of God, this is a wonderful and challenging way. Ben and I have joined our church in this fast for the last two years and to say it has been transformative in our faith walks would be an understatement. If you know in your heat that it is time to break some chains and get some answers in your story, it might be time to consider a time of prayer and fasting. If you want to learn more about that, you can click here.
Ok friends, that’s all for today. Next week we will chat about finding and protecting fresh starts in our health. Talk soon!
Can you even believe that in just a few days it will be 2019? I have to say, this week between Christmas and New Year is one of my favorites of the entire year. I love the chance to reflect over what went well and what didn’t and to take a few minutes to draw up some intentions to take into the new year. I’ve been doing something similar for the past few years and I love the way it has created a rhythm for me to lean into as I start my year. Below is the worksheet I’ve created to help me create my goals for this year. You can download that below or click here for the editable link!
As you can see, I also choose a word of the year. I’m still praying over my choice, but it looks like my word for this year will be “freedom.” If you choose a word, reach out and tell me about your choice.
Happy New Year! See you all in 2019!
You know how gift guides are usually either awesome but stupid expensive or cheap but not classy enough? Well, this is my answer to that. Hopefully these gifts will serve you well as a White Elephant offering, Secret Santa present, or Stocking Stuffer and you can feel good both about the quality of the gift you're giving AND the money still in your bank account. All the links to these products are below the guide. Enjoy!
If you are joining us for the 30-Day Devotional, you know that I feel strongly that holiday breaks are important, even vital, to our full thriving and wellbeing. Each has its own unique purpose. I believe that Thanksgiving is for gratitude; for pausing to take stock of what went well last year and to be at least a little in awe of the blessings that are heaped upon our lives.
December is for pausing - as we wait for the Advent of what is to come, we rest and we let that rest bring renewal. That doesn’t mean that we do nothing in this season, but that we pour into ourselves that best kind of self-care we know how, filling ourselves full to overflowing with good things. We stop to notice what didn’t work well in the last year and to set intentions about how we want to move through the world in 2019.
In the New Year we pour all those good things we’ve stocked in our hearts out into our world. We get on our mark and run hard after the goals we have thoughtfully set. We are ready to run because we rested well.
What I’m saying is that unless each of these holiday breaks in our schedules are handled well, we won’t get the most from any of them. They rely upon one another.
As we approach the Christmas Season, it’s time for some rest. And not only rest, but renewal. Renewal of the mind, heart, body, and spirit. What follows are the best ways I know to intentionally care for all four parts of ourselves and to ready ourselves for a hard run come January.
Caring for our head means stimulating your mind with what matters. For me, that means two things: reading and goal setting. I’ll be talking much more about goal setting in the coming weeks, and you can check out last year’s blog post about it here. But for now, take some time to think about what didn’t work well for you last year and one critical next step you could take to improve your experience in that area of your life. For me, one thing that didn’t work well last year was how busy my mornings end up getting and how, consequently, things I love about my morning routine end up getting rushed. I’m mulling over whether I need to commit to an earlier wake up time or if something should be cut from the routine.
Also, I am pouring myself into good books this season. I’m choosing to read, with a mug of coffee and a warm blanket under the lights of the Christmas tree rather than watch mindless television. I always wish I had more time for reading during the year, so as tempted as I may sometimes be, I’m not going to waste it.
Do not miss the chance this Christmas season to deepen relationships with your people. When everyone is leaning in, don’t waste those precious moments on cell phones or television, but create a space - in your living room or at the kitchen counter or wherever your family gathers - for connection. Ask deep questions and listen well. Look one another in the eyes and laugh a lot. Connection is what makes us human. We need it to be well and this season is perfect for it. Here’s a place to start: “What is one role you have (mother, boss, sister, etc.) that you feel is often misunderstood or mishandled by others in your life? Why?”
Caring for spirit often looks the most challenging. But really, in this season, you can find God around every corner if you’re looking. I believe deeply that God is faithful to meet us when we go looking, so as you seek to renew yourself spiritually, add some intention and He’ll meet your halfway. If you don’t have a quiet time practice, what better time to start one? If you have always wanted to try some meditation, do it now. If you want to journal, look up some journal prompts, buy a Moleskin, and get started right now.
Caring for the body might just take the most intention this time of the year. I don't know how many years I have spent December literally just sitting and eating. I mean, there's nothing really wrong with that, but as with most everything else, moderation is key. No one likes to realize that it's January and you need to start a Whole30 immediately to feel anything like yourself. So let's decide now to care of our bodies by moving for 30 minutes at least five times a week. That can be a walk, a jog, or jumping jacks on your living room floor. Let's stay in motion so we don't have to be grumpy about it in January.
1. Download a interval timer to your phone and use it to try some Hiit workouts. You never have to leave your house and they get you sweating in 15 minutes.
2. Bundle up and take a walk with a family member. Kill two birds with one stone by investing in relationships and caring for your body.
Take care this holiday friends. Get the renewal that you need and let's get ready for the best year yet in 2019.
Welcome! I'm a wife, third year music teacher, Jesus follower, and am chronically curious about just about everything. Join me as I kick off this adult life.
"I am the Vine, you are the Branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."