Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Fresh Start

Today I woke up with the wheels in my head turning at an alarming rate. It is January 1, 2017 and there is so much hope and expectation for a better year. In reality, today is just another day in the book of my life, and all of my problems and worries from 2016 won't just magically vanish because of this new calendar year. 

But...maybe they can. 

I don't have control of some of the things that have caused grief and pain, but I do have control over how I respond. Control of my words, thoughts, actions, responses, and prayers. On my own I am unable to respond in a way that would make anyone proud, but because of Jesus (and the work He's done on my heart in 2016), I truly believe that I can go forward being a better me. 

The keyword here is better

It doesn't mean that I'll be perfect, prim, and proper, but it does mean that I'll be mindful of my behavior and try my best to be as Christ-like as possible. 

It doesn't mean there won't be consequences, but it does mean that I'll be more forgiving of myself and others. 

It doesn't mean that 2017 will be flawless, but it does mean that I will see the flaws as an opportunity to respond gracefully.

And while I haven't made an actual resolution list, there are a few things that I sincerely hope to accomplish in this new year. However, instead of hoping and wishing it'll happen, I am claiming that these things will happen. Words are incredibly powerful (Proverbs 18:21) and I am choosing to speak life over my year, and these goals. 

My 2017 Goals 

1. More Godly contentment. This is something that would be life changing. As much as I want to only seek the Lord's approval, I do seek the approval of man. And by doing this, I am often disappointed (people will disappoint you), and crippled by this need. Thanks to the book Uninvited, I've gotten a little better at possessing this quality, but have a ways to go. This year, I will have more Godly contentment.

2. Growing in my faith. 2016 brought many trials and challenges, and while they were stressful (and sometimes painful) they made me grow. Keith and I started doing a Bible study together that has changed my entire perspective about a figure in the Bible that I used to strongly dislike. Now, I find myself hungry to know more about this man and his heart for God. This study has also brought Keith and I closer to one another, and improved our communication. Our study is almost complete, but it doesn't stop there. This year, I want to complete at least 3 more Bible studies with my husband.

3. Make a new war room. Over the summer I watched a powerful movie called War Room, and learned how most battles in life are being fought the wrong way. We need to go to war in prayer, not with people, so that we can fight to real enemy. I made my own war room in a closet the next day, but due to that room becoming occupied and my 2-second attention span, I stopped using it. In 2017, I will make a new prayer wall or journal and be intentional in my prayer time.

4. Stop cussing. This one is embarrassing, but it's the truth. I love Jesus but I cuss a little...As much as try, especially when I am angry or watching sports, horrible things fly out of my mouth. I try not to let this happen around my children, but that's not always the case. (Go ahead, judge away you judge-y people, you!) This year, I will control my tongue and live out James 3:9-11.

5. Improve my heart health. I have felt convicted lately when it comes to my health. While I did just have a baby and know it will take time to get back into shape, I was not healthy before this pregnancy. I've always wanted to be healthier from a vanity standpoint, but now I am convicted to be healthier so that I can lower my risk of heart disease. According the the American Heart Association,
Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year – more than all cancers combined. Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action.
I don't know about you, but that is frightening! There is good news can help prevent heart disease by managing blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing blood sugar, getting active, eating better, and losing weight. This year, I will become the healthiest version of myself!

6. Love my husband better. I don't mean to brag, but my husband is the best person that I know, and the one that reminds me the most of Jesus. He is not without faults, but I admire the way he deals with adversity, his wisdom, and his self-control. Since meeting him, he has made me want to be a better person, and in turn I want to love him better. Not that I don't love him well now, but I know I can improve. This year, I will love my husband better through my prayers, words, and actions.

7. Be intentional with my children. As a work-from-home mom, it is a huge juggling act when it comes to giving my kids quality time and being distracted by my work. I'm pretty good at time management in general, but this has been a struggle. I am grateful that the Lord has blessed me with three amazing kids, and have found immense joy in teaching the older two preschool. In 2017, I will be intentional with my children so that their childhood is one they look back on and smile.

8. Write more. Writing makes me happy and helps declutter my thoughts, but I do not make enough time for it. Whether it is on this blog or in my journal, I will write more.

9. Read more. I love reading but don't do it nearly enough. I start a book and rarely finish, but this year I will start and finish 1 book per month.

10. Book a wedding in Italy. This one might throw you for a loop, but I work part-time as a wedding videographer. This is a business that my grandmother started in 1984, and something that I've been involved in since I was 12 years old. Since her passing in 2013, I've continued her legacy by naming my company in her honor. I never pictured myself doing this as my profession, but I enjoy it very much. The destination wedding industry is huge, and while I am booking up quickly for 2017 SC, NC, and GA weddings, I would be ecstatic to book a wedding in my adoptive homeland. (Don't worry, I haven't just tossed this thought out, fingers crossed, hoping it'll happen. I'm actually doing something to make it happen...stay tuned for my details later). In 2017, I will book a wedding in Italy.

I am going to print this post out and place it in my line of sight each day, so that on December 31, 2017 I can look back and see all I've done, instead of all that I forgot to do.

Do you have any goals/resolutions for 2017? I'd love to hear them!
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