Happy New Year, my friends! We are one week into 2015. Besides the frigid weather caused by the recent polar vortex (also known as winter), the first days of this year have been lovely. I realize there is nothing magical about a new year, but each January my hopes rise. I see a new year spread out before me, and my dreamer instinct kicks in. I want to do all the things, see all the sights, write all the words, read all the books, spend time with all the people, and more.
My inability to quantify the possibility of doing all is what makes me a terrific dreamer. But dreamers like me often have trouble keeping their feet on the ground and getting anything—let alone all—done. This is why I must have some sort of plan for myself, to tether my feet to reality while my heart is floating about.
For 2015, my plan is based on this theme: Rise + Shine. It’s time, with God’s help, for me to walk out some things God has been teaching me over the past few years related to how I think and how I live. I desperately want to grow into my identity as a beloved child of the Heavenly Father. Daughters of the King have no reason to live in fear, shame, or guilt! But too often I make my bed in the dark places, forgetting that because of God’s relentless love for me in Christ Jesus, I am now free to live courageously and passionately. I am free to live boldly, in the light. In sum, I want 2015 to be the year that I:
get busy living / shine bright / be brave / stand firm / reflect the Light / turn to Jesus / be diligent / don’t let stress win / give back / share comfort / serve others / don’t hide / take courage / do not fear / engage / don’t avoid / be earnest / be passionate / live big / just start / punch fear in the face / follow after Him / trust without borders / rest in the rescue / be dangerous for the kingdom
These words from Paul’s letter to the Christians at Ephesus are my core verses for 2015:
“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time.” (Ephesians 5:8–16, ESV)
I want to wake up, rise from the dead places I’ve called home, and have Christ shine on me. My goals for the year are shaped to that end, focusing on the places I’ve been weak and sluggish. My specific goals for the year are divided into my standard New Year’s goal categories, outlining a few things I’d love to see happen in 2015:
spiritual > read through the Bible and look for ways to share The Story with others
relational > catch up with Mike throughout the workday and have monthly family gatherings
mental > read one nonfiction and one fiction book each month
physical > run four times a week to break my race records, complete core workouts twice a week, and go to bed by 9PM
professional > write two blogs per week and develop a social media plan, return messages within 24 hours, and do the next week’s planning Fridays at 3:30PM
domestic > plan next week’s meals Friday night
After one week, my progress toward these goals is encouraging. I’m not looking for perfection, but rather, I want to grow these things into habits. I have noticed a positive change in my thinking; I have a growing sense of agency, a diminished victim mentality. I have communed more with Jesus, and I attribute any changes to His grace and help. When I am weak, He is strong.
In closing, I want to share a popular and often misattributed quote that fits my Rise + Shine theme. I hear God whispering to me through these words, calling me to get busy living so that His fame would be reflected in my life:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.1
1. Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles,” (1992), 190.