Happy New Year! It’s so hard to believe that we’ve started a new decade. When I look back at where I was at the start of this last decade, I’m amazed to see where I am now. Life has a funny way of throwing you curveballs, and that’s ok. I’m grateful for what God’s done in my life these past 10 years. Through the highs, the lows, and the unknown, He was there and He was faithful.
When we hear New Year, we automatically think resolutions. Friends, I stopped making New Years Resolutions years ago. Most of the time they were long forgotten by mid-January when the gloomy weather got the best of me. I started making goals for my year, but the curveballs kept coming and disrupting every ounce of progress I may have made. Instead, I started coming up with a word for the year. My word for 2019 was Hospitality. Surprised? Having a word to focus on through the year allowed me to create goals to support that word. One goal for 2019 was to have 100 unique people walk through the doors of our home. We ended the year with 116. Focusing my goals around my Word of the Year, allowed me to meet the goal easier than just setting the goal and not having a focus.
When it came to a word for 2020 I started reflecting on the past twelve months. 2019 was lived more or less in survival mode. My husband and I overcommitted to be anywhere and everywhere we were needed. We worked hard, bought our first home (and all the lovely surprises that come with), my darling husband started back in Seminary, and we both committed to a life of hospitality and discipleship. 2019 was a good year, but it was also a challenging year spent mostly in survival mode. This year I don’t want us to just survive life, I want us to thrive in life.
The word thrive mean to flourish and prosper. You might be asking how you could plan to flourish and prosper this year? I’m going to share with you 6 things you should do the THRIVE in 2020. These are the steps that we will be taking to T.H.R.I.V.E. and we will build our goals around these steps.
1.) Think positively about your future.
No, it’s not magical to think positive and therefore life will be sunshine and rainbows. However, science has proved that there is a certain power to positive thinking. According to a 1987 New York Times article:
Optimism – at least reasonable optimism – can pay dividends as wide-ranging as health, longevity, job success and higher scores on achievement tests.
Pessimism not only has the opposite effect but also seems to be at play in such psychological disorders as extreme shyness and depression.
When we choose to think positively about our life and the events of, we can actually change our brainwaves and improve our mood which will then have a positive impact on your relationships and ventures. We must be careful with what we speak to ourselves. We have a lot more influence over our attitude than we believe.
“I can’t wait for Friday” vs. “This is the Tuesday that God has given me and I will use it for him.”
“I am so stressed” vs. “I have a lot going on, but I can handle it with God’s help”
“I’m so disappointed” vs. “That did not go the way I would’ve liked, but I will try again”
Thinking positive does not mean that we are happy robots all of our days. It means that we understand lifer will bring disappointments, but we know they do not define us. We choose to use the good and bad in life for our benefit. That is positive, and powerful, thinking.
2.) Hydrate your body.
You wouldn’t think something as simple as drinking water could help you thrive but it does. Drinking water improves circulation, improves energy, reduces kidney and heart failure risks, improves sleep, and improves your skin tone. You should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water. (No, sweet husband of mine, caffeinated beverages do not count.) It’s simple, it’s inexpensive, and it’s something you can start to improve your life right now.
3.) Rest on the Sabbath.
Mark 2:27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
4.) Invite God to guide your steps.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Controlling our own life is messy and unwise. We are told to trust God and lean on His wisdom for our life. David asks of God in Psalms 119:35 “Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.” and in verse 105 David says of God’s Holy Word, the Scriptures, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” David understood the importance of inviting God to step in and direct his life according to God’s own wisdom.
I know it’s easy to say and harder to do, especially when you’re a type A personality who feels the need to have complete control over every aspect. (guilty) But we can’t have complete control can we? Remember those life curveballs? We don’t get to choose when or how they’re thrown. We’re better off trusting God to guide our steps and letting Him take responsibility for those curveballs. This doesn’t mean blaming God when those not-so-pleasant things happen. This means trusting Him to work all things to our good.
5.) Value yourself enough to practice self-care.
Self-care is not selfish. I wrote an entire blog post explaining how important and selfless it really is. (Read here.) We must learn to take care of ourselves if we are to minister to others. We must learn to care for ourselves if we are going to thrive in life. Self-care can look many different ways, but it is consistent. There are 5 areas in which we should practice self-care and an example of what it could look like.
-Physical (take a bubble bath)
-Spiritual (Spend time daily in prayer)
-Emotional (Journal your thoughts and feelings)
-Mental/Intellectual (Read a new book every month)
-Social (Have a dinner date with your friends)
6.) Eliminate clutter, both physical and mental.
I don’t know about you, but I have noticeable anxiety when my space is cluttered. I won’t go into my study right now because that’s where all of my new books are piled on my desk waiting for bookshelf space. This weekend I’ll be making time to clean out some clutter in my home by reducing the overall possessions my 25%. (At least that’s the goal. I’m also a sentimental romantic so I’ll probably fight to keep that receipt from our wedding, or that rock I picked up on our honeymoon. Lord, help my husband and keep him patient with me.) If you have possessions taking up space that you never use, and honestly won’t use again, it’s time to give them away or pitch them. If you can’t remember why you bought it, if it doesn’t fit, if you look at it with distain, if it’s broken beyond repair, it’s time for it to go. No, you’re most likely not going to “need to keep it just in case” that impossible situation were to arise. Yes, I’m talking to myself here. Hand held high, I’m guilty.
Like our homes, our minds can get cluttered to. Cluttered with worry or anticipation. Cluttered with ideas and musings for a project. Cluttered with junk music and TV. We have to work to declutter out mind as well as our physical space. Christy Wright, owner of Business Boutique and a Dave Ramsey Personality, said once “Your brain is for having ideas, not storing them.” So then how do we declutter our minds from the thousands of ideas we have in a given time? We journal them out. Either in a written journal, or a video journal, get the ideas out of your head. The same method can go for our worries and fears as well. Write them down and then forget them. Start replacing the junk with good and helpful information. Instead of turning on the TLC channel when you have to clean your house, turn on a motivational podcast. Instead of watching TV to go to sleep, try reading an encouraging book.
I hope you have found some encouragement and a challenge in this word “Thrive”. I’d love to hear your word for 2020 and what it means to you! Drop a comment below or email me at ReclaimingHerGrace@gmail.com.