These are the days where reflections are posted all over Instagram, dust is brushed off your sequined outfit + resolutions dauntingly hang in the back of your already full mind. After the toasts are cheers-ed + the ball has dropped, how can one begin a new year well? I am on a journey to learn this myself.
2019 was one of the fastest years of my life. It was filled to the brim with joy, laughter, learning + growth, but also over-commitment, tears, difficulty, fogginess + distance. Don’t get me wrong, there were a ton of genuinely wonderful events [ mission trips, weddings, big birthdays, engagements + more ] but there were many moments I spent questioning the intentionality of my lifestyle.
Now, here we are. The old has gone, the new has come. 2020. A perfectly symmetrical, even year, promising clarity + newness. I like the sound of these things. As I was praying, reflecting + dreaming, Holy Spirit laid a few guidelines on my heart to pave the way to wholeness, peace + joy in this new year. Typically those would stay in one of my many half-finished journals, but my spirit prompted me to share in this space.
Here we go. . .a few ways to start [ + hopefully end ] well.
reflect x 12.
Somewhere between Arizona + Texas, on my family’s Christmas roadtrip, I began to reflect. I was feeling the overwhelming sensation that comes with the question “Where did this year go?” The Lord stirred me to list out the months of the year + reflect month by month all that had happened. So there in the car I made my lists, realizing as I went how close the Father was this year, how full my life is + how thankfulness should always grace my lips. Here are a few simplified months of mine :
january – a brave move + restoration
may – walks with God + big prayers
august – supporting dreams + new beginnings
december – love + laughter + learning real
quiet outside voices.
I have a problem. I hate checking my email, but that little red notification number drives me insane. Every morning came with checking + deleting 99% of the content flooding in. I love freebies, coupons + supporting small business, but all of the incessant content became way too much. Unsubscribe it is. But how?? I spent a little while scrolling to the bottom of every email to click that invisible button all while resisting the nonexistent urge to “Buy 11 get one free!” The monotonous task wore on daily, until I discovered the app Unroll.Me. If you, too, struggle with the forever full inbox, do yourself a favor + download this. You’ll thank me later!
Do you enjoy scrolling through your Instagram? I know, I know, it gets a bad rap for being a time wasting commodity, but if you’re anything like me, it can be an inspirational avenue for beauty, content creation + enjoying snapshots into people’s lives. I make the mistake all too often of quickly following people from tags, for giveaways or because we have mutual friends. By doing this, I am allowing my feed to be an unintentional conglomeration of accounts, with zero curation or intentionality.
My desire for Instagram to be an online space where I both give and receive beauty, inspiration + truth. It takes intentionality to achieve that vision + that involves unfollowing! I have a ways to go, but I’ve taken time to weed through my following, and cut down on the number of voices speaking into my feed.
You may have heard the saying “You become most like the people you spend your time with…” I have to conclude that in our digital day and age, this applies to Instagram in a similar way.
eliminate + replace.
I love throwing things away. Apparently it’s genetic! My mom and grandma both love trash day. Whether its a t-shirt or a towel, it feels nice to replace items that are well loved + worn out as well as eliminate items that are no longer of use to you.
Before I left for Christmas break, I minimized my closet [ something I am constantly doing due to my affection for thrifting ] my pantry, and my creative supplies. I had an Instagram sale and donated some items to a thrift store near me. Through many years of moving, my parents have always demonstrated how regular elimination of stuff makes room in your home, and your soul.
A few ways I am eliminating + replacing :
laptop case – I have had a $6 marble laptop case for years. It has lived a good life + is in need of an update. I opted for a minimal camel colored case, with the same hardshell protection I have now. My current case still has some life in it, so I will either donate or sell it.
laptop cord – mine has some fraying wires + has trouble charging sometimes. I used a little bit of Christmas money to replace this! $15 got me this one with a lifetime warranty. Score!
photo library – This has been a problem for a while. As a photographer, a serial screenshotter + overall memory maker, I have over 15,000 photos to sort through. I will feel so good when this task is complete!
computer files – I use my computer for school + work. Over the years it has become cluttered with excess font downloads, design elements + documents. I would love it for this laptop to be in commission for many years to come, so I’m doing my best to steward my storage.
Here are some questions I like to ask while decluttering to make it a more enjoyable experience:
Do I love it?
Do I use it?
Does it perform its job?
Do I own something like it?
If the answer is no to any of these questions, especially the last three, I donate, sell or toss it!
slow + steady.
Over the course of a very full year, the Lord has been stirring my heart towards slow. Slowing amidst the fast pace of life. Slowing even when it seems counterintuitive. Slowing despite my to-do list. Practically, this has looked like making time with Him in the morning s l o w. I have the privilege of doing school + work in the comfort of my own home, meaning my mornings are open, as long as I don’t fill them with the unnecessary “urgent” tasks.
In the corner of my room I have a beloved yellow, velvet chair that I thrifted for 99 cents. Unbelievable find right? It is a constant reminder of how lavishly God gives gifts to His children! For the most part, I spend time with him in that chair daily. I began a habit in the latter half of the year, to not leave until I sensed He was done speaking. As someone who wants to do, accomplish and finish, this was honestly agonizing some days as I watched time pass. This habit was kept far from perfectly. It required me to slow down, manage my competing priorities, and surrender.
Here’s the one thing I crave from God,
the one thing I seek above all else:
I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house,
finding the sweet loveliness of his face,
filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace.
I want to live my life so close to him
that he takes pleasure in my every prayer.
/ psalm 27:4 / the passion translation
This verse has been a vital reminder + encouragement for this year, and hopefully for my life. Time with Him is never wasted.
I am finishing John Mark Comer’s book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry and learning what a slow, peaceful life looks like according to the way of Jesus. I hope to surrender to slow in 2020. Even if slow looks like daily momentary pauses and silent surrender. These words are not a promise or a resolution, but a public declaration of partnership with Holy Spirit to push against my comfort zone + my “normal.”
+ + + + +
Here we go, 2020. Thank you Lord for all you have ahead of us, we are an expectant people.
happy new year,