Monday, January 1, 2018

Looking Behind To Look Ahead for 2018

Here we are! January 1st. A fresh year. A new start. A clean slate.

I absolutely love the days between Christmas and New Years. For some reason (I'd guess my personality, ahem) these in-between days breathe space for vision and hope and a renewed spirit. I know there is nothing magical about these actual in-between days, but I feel it every year. Do you? Or is it just me? :)

2017 Top 9 of IG. Because everyone is doing it. :) Per usual, Clara got lots of love!

In 2016 I had only one theme and goal for the New Year. To keep Chance's purpose close to heart, and to keep pushing forward his fruit.

As 2016 gave way to 2017, I stuck again with the idea of a few overall themes, instead of a detailed list of goals and resolutions. I blogged about it here, but the end of 2016 was rough for me, which had some negative effects on my soul and spirit but which birthed some positive themes and hopes for 2017.

Living Loved.
Not just studying Jesus, but actually doing things with Jesus.
Cultivating a heart of gratitude and praise.

I really did buckle down and work on these themes and I am happy to report that, for the most part, I am walking into 2018 in a much better place than this day last year.

I've worked through Jennie Allen's New Year Dream Guide the past few years and find this experience so rewarding. It is basically a guide with some general prompts about different life areas and space to write some notes on how you want to tweak or tend or focus on these areas (spiritual, relational, personal and work) in the New Year.

As I look at each category I ask myself . . .

What worked in 2017?
What didn't work in 2017?
What does it look like to be intentional to make necessary changes, if needed, in these areas?
What themes is God laying on my heart for 2018?

Again, not a crazy list of resolutions, just overall reflections. I spent time last night reviewing last year's guide and it is so fun to see how this played out over the year! This week I will slowly work through the 2018 guide.

For now these are the words I hear God speaking to me . . . He pressed Psalm 91 on my heart and it has been the guiding force in the words/themes below.

If I dwell, then I experience rest. Physical, mental (this is a biggie for me and where I feel lead to really focus), and emotional rest. But. . .  I have to dwell in the right place to reap these benefit. Only I can make this choice. It IS a choice.

Word Themes for 2018:
Dwell - in His presence, thoughts of gratitude/of Him
Quiet - less noise/inputs, more prayer which leads to a steady mind
Rest - physical and mental
Flow - what flows through my mind comes out of my heart/attitudes/actions

I looked up a few other verses with dwell/rest . . .

Psalm 91:9 - If I purposefully dwell in the Lord then I experience protection on different levels.

Psalm 62:1 - Only God alone can truly, and I mean truly, bring rest to my soul/mind/heart.

To dwell means  - to think at length about (hello, major conviction about where my mind dwells), to abide, to remain, to linger on, of one's eyes or attention, a silent regular pause in the motion of a machine (ok, lot's of metaphors here, but I'll leave that for another day).

Some synonyms of dwell - care, be, concise, lie in, reside, camp out, occupy, inhabit, live together, tenant, cohabit, encamp, neighbor.

The following is where I'm sensing the how. How to bring these words to fruition this year . . . Again, specifically and most importantly for me in terms of how to dwell well so that my mind experiences true rest, true quiet, which impacts what flows out.

Morning prayer/time in the Word
Therapy - ongoing/as needed
Fighting words/scriptures - on hand to bring my mind back to a place of rest when circumstances strike and hope to steal my mind for the worse.
Writing assignments/writing as worship/blogging
Gratitude journal - purposefully bringing my mind to a place of thankfulness
Accountability - with Brandon and a few close friends
Margin in my calendar - I must purposefully create space for soul rest/quiet/Spirit dwelling
Less continual inputs - I almost always have a podcast/music going/reading something online/blogs etc. I can't increase my ability to dwell if I don't reduce some noise.

Anyway, this is where I am as I welcome 2018. :) Probably more than you care to know, but I love journaling these as I love to look back to look ahead.

Your turn. . . What worked in 2017? What didn't work? Any themes God is laying on your heart? Remember, there is nothing magical about Jan 1. It's never too late to live with intention and take steps in a new direction.

1 comment

  1. I took one of those quizzes to determine what your "word" is for 2018 and I got "brave". I think this would surprise most people because I'm already pretty bold and willing to put myself out there as it is, but I'm learning that sometimes doing the brave thing is NOT putting myself out there (not saying what I'm thinking, not pushing my agenda, etc.). Brave is also likely referring to shaking up my work situation, which is admittedly terrifying, so I guess it's an appropriate word for me to focus on!


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