Monday, January 2, 2017

My One Word

“To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. 
But we must not drift or lie at anchor.” 
Oliver Wendell Holmes

A few years ago our pastor preached a sermon series on praying and seeking out one word from God that defines your life's calling. There were no limitations on what that word had to be-we were just simply instructed to pray and wait for God to reveal that word to us. 

And it was during that sermon series that I was given a very specific word that defined the calling God has placed on my life. But, shortly after He gave me that word, I was made aware that my heart and mind were not quite ready to fulfill that calling. 

So as a result, 2016 was a season of waiting for me and allowing myself to be conditioned by God. 

In my human frailness, He chose to shine the light into areas of my life that need to be addressed-the things that stand between Him and I that cannot be there for me to reach my full potential for Him. 

And, I wish I could write this post and say with total confidence that I have addressed all the things He has revealed to me and that I am ready to live out my calling to the fullest extent. 

But, unfortunately, that is not the case. 

Sometimes being broken and poured out takes time, and I have learned in this season of waiting to allow Him to work. 

Yes the work is slow-but it is steady. 

I am praying that 2017 will be the year I take the leap, but I am learning to be content in the waiting, because I know the plans He has for me are far greater than anything I could ever dream up on my own. 

So as 2016 came to an end, I found that many of the areas He was drawing my attention too had a lot in common, and most of them had to do with how I was spending my time. 

2016 felt so incredibly BUSY to me!

Does anyone else feel that way?

There were moments within the chaos that I wondered if I would ever catch my breath. 

All of my evenings were planned out a week in advance and most of my weekends were planned out two to three weeks ahead of time.

I was taking on too much and a lot of the more important areas of my life had been/are suffering.  

And as we approached December (the busiest month of the entire year for me),  I found myself overwhelmed by the prospect of yet another busy holiday season.

I wasn't sleeping well, and as a result I was sleeping later which meant I was always late to work.

My stomach issues were getting worse and worse.

And I was agitated all the time! My family was suffering from my bad attitude.

Fast forward to about three weeks ago, and I found myself desperate for a change.

In that desperation, God lead me to a place where I started researching habits of highly successful people.

I think I just found myself wondering, "How do they do it? How do they juggle all their success and responsibility and make it look so easy?"

I found that one of the most effective habits of other successful people is in their routine and in their ability to live with intent.

They live like every moment and every day counts.

They don't assume that they "have time", because they know time is precious.

While a lot of the things I was reading wasn't spiritual in content or written by Christian writers, I was reminded of the sermon series my pastor preached a few years ago, and I found God writing the word "intentional" upon my heart.

How can I be more intentional in 2017? 

How can I  manage my time better and prioritize things so that my primary focus is on the things God has called me too?

How can I strive to be more intentional in my quiet time with God and in the areas where He has called me to serve?

How can I be more intentional with my family who is my greatest calling?

How can be more intentional at my job or with my fiances?

How can I intentionally work on the areas of my life that God needs me to work on before I can move forward in the plan He has for me?

These are the questions I find that I am asking myself, and I have already begun the process of praying and beginning to journal through them.

One of the ways, I am doing that is by filling out Jennie Allen's 2017 Dream Guide. Jennie Allen is the founder of IF:. 

Many of you who know me personally, know that IF: is a ministry that I am drawn too, and one of things IF: encourages women to do is to live intentional and authentic lives for Christ.  

So, last week when Jennie released her 2017 Dream Guide, I was instantly intrigued. I downloaded it and finally took some time today to fill it out. It's exciting to re-evaluate the last year, and dream about what I want 2017 to look like for me spiritually, relationally, personally, and through my work. My plan is to put this guide in my prayer journal and review it often throughout the coming year. 

I also printed off an "Intentional Living Goal Setting Worksheet" that I am hoping my husband and I can look over tonight. We have some very specific goals for the coming year, and I think this will help us to put these goals down on paper and get a plan together for how to accomplish these goals. 

I also want to make some very specific changes in areas of my life such as developing a morning and evening ritual; how I schedule my time and how I can prioritize my time with God and my family; and how I can cut out some of the things that are robbing me of my time such as social media and developing clear boundaries for my time regarding my job. 

I know that the New Year is traditionally time for New Years Resolutions that don't always stick, and instead of making myself promises I probably won't keep, I want to take my one word for 2017 and live life with more intent and purpose. I want to actively seek out ways to prepare my heart and mind for God's calling on my life, so that when He opens the door, I will be ready. 

What about you? What are your plans, dreams, and goals for 2017? How can you purpose to live more intentionally this year? 

Today is the start of a fresh, clean slate. 

Let's make all of our days count from this day forward. 

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