Christian Living

Leaving the Baggage Behind

So, how’s everyone’s new year going? Recovered from the holidays yet? I hope you had a lovely New Year’s! I did. We sat down as a family and wrote down the things we loved about 2016 and six goals for each of us in 2017. I am really liking this read-your-goals-out-loud-every-day thing. 

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a huge fan of writing down what you want to add to your life in the upcoming year. If we don’t plant it, we can’t reap it. I have lots of things I want to carry into 2017 or to add to my life in 2017. Lately though, I’ve been thinking about what I need to let go of this year. Kinda like the difference between sins of omission vs. commission—it’s easy to forget the omission ones. I make goals but rarely do I make let-go’s.

A friend and I were talking about shame recently and how we both struggle with hanging onto shame. That’s something I’m working on letting go of. I’m passionate about mistakes not defining who I am. It’s amazing how many things I’ve moved from the category of “power” to “thing” this year—for example, money. Mistakes are like that. They’re just a thing. They don’t have the power to define who you are—especially if you accept that you’re human and make mistakes and go through the process of asking for and accepting God’s forgiveness and then learn from them.

God’s forgiveness is amazing when you really think about it. If it’s been a while since you first became a believer, take a minute and just remember what it was like to carry your sins all by yourself. Then meditate on God’s forgiveness: God says He takes our sins away as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12). He gives full redemption (Ps. 130:7)–I LOVE this concept. It means that any mistake or sin I’ve ever committed can be filled up with God’s redemption and turned into something that’s actually beneficial for me AND for the person I sinned against.

A lot of us had a less than perfect 2016. It’d be easy to carry our mistakes with us into 2017. But we don’t have to—and, in fact, carrying them will weigh us down and make us less able to do well in 2017. We can choose to fix them—to admit our mistakes, ask God for forgiveness and redemption and then do our best to address the issue/broken relationship and to learn what we need to learn—forgive (others or, more often in my case, myself), and then focus on 2017.

What are you hanging onto from 2016 that you can let go of?

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Christian Living, Uncategorized

Peace in 2017

Wow! Last week of the year. I can’t believe that it’s the end of 2016. I love getting to the end of a year and getting to start fresh–I know we get a fresh start every day but there’s something special about starting a brand new year. If you haven’t done the work of organizing your year, it really, really helps! One new thing I’m doing is to write down my top five goals for the year and read them out loud every day. It’s definitely helped me to stay focused on what I want to accomplish instead of getting sidetracked by the day-to-day junk.

Anyway! This week I was struck by what an amazing thing peace is. We hear a lot about peace at Christmas–how Jesus came to bring us peace with God–but I wonder if we’re so used to hearing it that we don’t really listen anymore. I know I get that way. I happened to be doing Beth Moore’s Living Beyond Yourself study on the fruit of the Spirit, specifically on peace, this past week.

She defines peace in several ways but one that I really liked was “the absence of fear and turmoil” (p.107). Thinking about 2016, we had some pretty stressful bits. I love this idea that even during the crazy–because of Jesus’ birth, life, and death–we can have true peace. I love that we can move through anything life throws at us without fear and turmoil.

I think it’s easy to forget how really awesome that is–especially if you’ve grown up in the Church or spent a lot of time around other Christians. I’ve been reading a lot of secular books lately and found myself grieving for the authors… there’s just such a tangible lack of peace. One of the vloggers my husband follows has talked about how he’s perpetually busy on purpose because he falls into depression anytime he has time to think.

It’s a sad state of affairs if you have to cram your life full to hide the fact that you don’t have peace. Why do so many people not have peace? I really liked this section where Beth Moore talked about the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1-15) and how there are prerequisites to having peace(p. 103).

Just like the boy brought all he had (five loaves and two fish), we have to surrender all we have, even when it seems inadequate for the situation at hand. Also, like Jesus had the people to sit down, we have to put ourselves in a position of trust and rest. This one is really hard for me. I tend to ask for God to intervene and then keep checking on/trying to intervene myself when I feel like He’s taking too long or not doing it the way I want it done.

As we move into 2017, we all have a choice: are we going to do the work of surrender and trust or not? It may not even make any difference in our circumstances on the outside but it’ll definitely change how we handle those circumstances.