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The year is new. The day is new. The mercies (praise God) are new.

Lord God, please focus our eyes on You. Point our hearts in the direction of Your Son. Give us strength to run towards you. Thank you for a new day, a new year and new mercies. You are gracious and merciful!

An Effective 2015 :: Part 2

You’ve read Part 1 on how to have an effective 2015, you dreamed big, laid out a plan, got your team on board and now you’re ready to put feet to your God-inspired goals. For some of us, here is where things start to go awry. We sought God’s face in the planning but set Him aside for the implementation. I wrote the post below last year and believe strongly that it certainly pertains to the the topic at hand. The title of the post and my next tip for an effective 2015: DON’T BOOTSTRAP YOUR NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS.


I’m a fan of New Year Resolutions. They def get a bad rap but I love the rhythm of it all. The new year, fresh start, reflection and hope for better in the coming days.

However, I’ve noticed myself falling into a bootstrap trap that I’m wondering if you may be in, too. (Bootstrap, as in: Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.)

We finish Christmas, where we’ve spent time reflecting on what GOD DID and in our self-reliant amnesia, walk toward the new year and talk about what WE ARE GOING TO DO.

How do we forget so quickly? We’ve just spent concentrated time praising God for SENDING HIS SON TO LIVE ON EARTH SO THAT HE WOULD DIE FOR OUR SINS AND BE RAISED IN VICTORY OVER THEM. That’s our God, yall. That is some serious power. However, just a few days later, we’re back to thinking we are all-powerful and can control ourselves by the sheer force of our will.

We start pinning things like: Refuse to lose. // No guts, no glory. // Yes you can. Believe in yourself. // You are whatever you want to be. You just have to decide to be it. // Be the best version of yourself.

We set goals, resolutions and make commitments. We want to lose 10 lbs, read more, find a church, spend more time with our kids, stop smoking, eat more vegetables…Then we muster all the strength we have, set alarms, get accountability partners, create incentives and set off on the first Monday of January ready to tackle our resolutions. Inevitably, March arrives. If you’ve made it that far, you’re probably starting to wane. You read one book in January but haven’t picked one up since. There were lots of workouts and vegetables between Jan 6 and Feb 13 but it’s Valentine’s, so let’s eat some chocolate and call it good.

Do you see where I’m going here? It’s the same thing every year. Folks have all kinds of theories about why this happens but I’m convinced it is this: WE BOOTSTRAP OUR RESOLUTIONS. Instead of asking God to search and show us where He wants to refine us, we look to the mirror and the world. Instead of asking God for some of that power He used to bring Jesus into the world, we look to our own worthless flesh to try and pull it off.

Hear me on this: I’m not telling you to say, “I want to lose 10 lbs. God give me the strength to do it.” I’m talking about something DEEPER, RICHER, BETTER.

I think we’ve been putting the cart before the horse. We know how we want to be/look/act so we just try to start being/looking/acting that way. Believers hear me: This is not how it should be. We have to remember what Matthew 6:33 says: Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and everything else will be added.

What if our resolution was to seek first the kingdom of God? Do you know what kind of power the Holy Spirit puts behind a desire like that? You’d no longer be relying on your flesh for the change but the POWER OF GOD to do it THROUGH YOU. Amazingly, when we seek first the kingdom of God, everything else is taken care of—just like the verse says.
When I’m seeking Christ, I remember that my body is a holy temple to be used by Him and HE helps me take better care of it. When I’m seeking Christ, I am less selfish toward my husband and my children because I am aware of how much Christ unselfishly loves me. When I’m seeking Christ, I read more because I desire refinement and growth instead of the numbness I enjoy while watching TV.

When I’m seeking Christ, I find grace in March and in May and in June and all year long. Grace never runs out. My strength will run out. Grace, God’s presence, His working power never run out.

Let’s let go of our bootstraps. Let’s look to the cross and ask God to cause our hearts to so burn for Him that we would SEEK HIM FIRST in 2015. We can trust that everything else will be added.

An Effective 2015 :: PART 1

I love this time of year. Christmas passes and I feel an excitement as the new year dawns. A clean slate. A fresh start. Renewed focus. All things a new year offers. I’m here today in my fav coffee shop seeking God’s face and dreaming about next year. I want to share with you a few things I’m doing in hopes that it would bless you. Turn off your phone, leave the kids with their baby daddy, get alone somewhere AND:

1. PRAY: DON’T MISS THIS STEP. We often get excited about getting after our planning and start putting things on paper without first getting on our knees. Our God created the seasons, He is over the seasons. He is in the rhythm. He is in the new year. He is the God who makes all things new! He is the one we must look to for renewal, direction and purpose. Ask Him to help you get the other voices out of your head. Your own, the voices of well meaning friends, your potentially nagging MIL, the hubs and just listen to HIM. Ask Him, beg Him for clarity and wisdom.

2. DREAM: The new year goal setting should be filled with hope and excitement for better. Don’t get bogged down in the how until you’ve let the Lord direct your dreams. What big, cool things can God do with you this year? Will this be the year you start the adoption process, get your family into a house, go on a mission trip, write a book, have more energy, get involved in church, get out of an unhealthy relationship? What is it? DREAM BIG.

3. FOCUS: I admittedly have lots of goals and dreams but struggle with focus. I’m working through a DO and DON’T list of what I want in the new year. I DO want to be a present mom, help women find freedom and hope in the gospel, be energized. I DON’T want to be stressed out, exhausted, irritable with my kids. The list is much longer but this helps me reflect on 2014 and focus in on which dreams help accomplish what God has impressed upon my heart to want this next year.

4. PLAN THE HOW: Reasonably think through the how. You want to be stronger but haven’t worked out in 3 months? For the love, don’t set a how goal to be at the gym 7 days a week. Your body will hate you and you most likely won’t be able to sustain that for more than a week. (Who are we kidding? 3 days max.) Instead, how bout you plan when and where specifically on your calendar and then shoot for 5 days a week and cut yourself some slack if you hit 4. Reminders in your phone and dates already set on the calendar will go a long way in helping you put feet to your dreams.

5. BUILD YOUR TEAM: Get your team, your people, on board. Read someone else in on your dreams. Tell your friends or your spouse and let them know how they can support you. Feel called to start a non-profit but don’t know where to start? Seek out a mentor. Want to have a healthier marriage but feel overwhelmed? Go to a conference. Our sweet God placed us in community. Use it!