A fading New Year’s resolution
New Year’s resolutions can be a tricky bag of guilt. We are well-intentioned as we make plans for fresh starts in the new year, only to find these resolutions slowly fading away. Some have embraced choosing a word to focus on and even to study from God’s word. Amy Carroll shares today about the struggle she had with a Word-of-the-Year and how God gently used it to teach her in the midst of the fading New Year’s resolution.
Amy Carroll is a speaker and writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries. She’s the author of Breaking Up with Perfect as well as the director and coach of Next Step Speaker Services. Amy and her husband live in lovely Holly Springs, NC with a bossy miniature dachshund. You can find her on any given day texting her two sons at college, typing at her computer, reading a book, or trying to figure out one more alternative to cooking dinner. Share life with Amy at www.amycarroll.org and on Facebook.
I want it all
Saying I want it all sounds so worldly. We usually associate it with the wanting of money, a nice home, a great job, a fantastic husband, and loyal friends … the list goes on.
But what if “ALL” actually is the cry of our hearts to have all that God has made available to us — strength, hope, joy, love and peace? In this inspiring interview with I Want it All author, Gwen Smith, Kathi uncovers the passion behind I want it all and the promises found in the Bible for exactly that, ALL! Gwen shares the moment she discovered just where God was taking her with the writing of this book, as well as the pain of watching her father’s battle with cancer. Discover what ALL can actually look like in your own life.
Finally, we’d love to hear your thoughts on wanting it all. What does I want it all mean in your life and what can you pursue with even more purpose after hearing this episode?
This podcast episode reminded us a lot of an episode we did about more than a year ago with called I Want God.
I didn’t have my daddy leave me when I was a little girl, as Lysa Terkeurst recounts of her story in her new book Uninvited, but I have felt the slap of rejection.
The time when my seventh grade school friends planned a birthday party for everyone else, but not for me.
The time I blew it with a close friend, and I asked, “Do you still love me?” And the answer was, “A little less right now.”
The time I was passed over for a job that I felt capable to do, in favor of a younger, more talented woman.
Slap. Slap. Slap. Long after the red mark of the blow faded, the impression on my heart lasted.
With each new rejection, I made a mental note on how to never let it happen again.
So in junior high, I went on those before-school walks with my friends around the block taking covert puffs of cigarettes. I wouldn’t inhale because that would give me lung cancer which was deadly. But I pretended and puffed, earning my inclusion in the group.
I learned not to upset anyone so as not to have their love withdrawn from me. I learned to be likable, amiable Emily, becoming adept at people-pleasing.
I stopped putting myself out there for jobs I thought I could do, because there was always someone else who could do it better than me anyway.
Lysa writes, “Rejection isn’t just an emotion we feel. It’s a message that’s sent to the core of who we are, causing us to believe lies about ourselves, others and God.”
My lie was that I better blend into the crowd to be liked and accepted. That I better never tick anyone off, or I would never be truly loved. That I needed to try harder or else I would never be worthy enough to fulfill the dreams God gave me. The burn from the slaps in my past never fully healed because I kept rehearsing the scenes over and over, believing their stinging truth. I was now my own worst enemy.
I was the one rejecting myself, no one needed to do it for me.
I remember sitting at a conference with inspiring speakers. My usual M.O. means mourning that I’m not like these speakers. Oh, I’d like to be like them – inspiring, motivating, educating, but I realize I am not up to par with them. And probably never will be. The negative talk hisses, “I’m not educated like they are. I will never be able to do it as well as them. I am not equipped or connected. I just don’t have what it takes!”
During worship time, God whispered as if He sat right beside me. “Emily, what you are moaning about is sin for you. You are staying stuck in the belief that you are not enough. You think this is a belief about yourself, but it’s really what you believe about me. You believe I am not enough for you.”
“Oh, Lord, no!” was my first response. “You are sovereign, all-sufficient and every other praise adjective I was taught in Sunday School.” Yet He showed me I honored Him with my lips, but my actions showed otherwise. When I constantly let rejection define me by belittling myself, comparing myself and trying hard to be perfect, what I was really doing was telling God His approval was not enough. That what He made when He made me was obviously not good enough.
In fact, I was the clay, smashing my vessel and fisting it to God, “Not good enough! Remake me!” And The Potter takes that lump, with my uncertainties and insecurities and says, “You are my workmanship. I knit you together perfectly. I chose you as my own before the foundations of the world. When I made you, I declared it good, VERY good even. I bought you. With a heavy price. I made you enough already. When will you confidently believe it?”
I know you have your stories of rejection too. Just think back to junior high, the hotbed of so much rejection. Have you carried those wounds through adulthood? Have you let them define you? Tell lies about you? It’s funny how we try so hard to find approval in the ones who rejected and hurt us. Isn’t it enough to know the Creator of the Universe believes we are enough?
Lysa observes, “People can’t fix from the outside a perspective that needs to rewired on the inside.” Not admittance in the Cool Club or perfectly performed responses or acquiring the best suited job. None of that tells us we are enough. So it’s useless trying so hard to make it so. But there is a salve to heal the hurts of rejection. It’s turning to the Truth, running to the Life to show us the Way.
I confessed the lies I believed about myself. But I also had to confess my lack of faith in my Father. His Word is truth and He’s says we are cherished and approved! Do you know how healing it is to accept God’s approval and quit chasing after the world’s?
“Lies flee in the presence of truth.” Tune your heart to believe a new truth: You are accepted, for now and forevermore!
*All quotes taken from Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst.
Emily Nelson is part of the Kathi Lipp ministry team. More about her can be discovered and loved at her website, www.beyondtheredchair.com.
“If God can do this for me, He can do it for anyone.”
“What if you gave up on your dream today, and tomorrow was the day that it came true.”
“Never let your dreams die!”
You’ve been working so hard – maybe it’s a business, a ministry, a relationship – and you realize it’s not happening. You keep praying and hustling and for some reason, some unknown reason, the thing that you knew was supposed to happen, the thing you felt in your bones was God’s will for your life, is not happening.
I’ve felt this several times.
- The job as manager of a bridal boutique when I was in my early 20’s.
- My first marriage.
- A radio show. (For two different major ministries.)
Oh there are many more. But these three? I remember where I was standing, what I was wearing, who I was with when that particular dream died.
One of these dreams was killed for me. It was a long painful death that caused me a lot of hurt and heartbreak. And the other two? I had to be the one to let it go – to make the decision that these particular dreams were over and it was time to move on.
Those were some of the hardest decisions of my life.
I was past the point of being sensible. Others saw that my dream was not going to happen. But I had those voices inside my head (and later, on Facebook) that told me differently.
“You and God can do anything.”
“Don’t give up on your dream!”
“With God, all things are possible.”
So I kept willing my dreams to stay on life support instead of letting them die with the dignity that they (and I) deserved.
Because even though everything is possible with God, it doesn’t mean God gives you every possibility.
Oh, I say I want God more than anything else. I know all the right things to say. But I want God through my dream. I want God to do what I want God to do, and give me my dreams so I can point to Him and say “Only God.”
But God promised his presence – not my presents.
So how do you let a dream die? Something that you’ve prayer for, prepared for, and invested in? How do you say goodbye? Here are some hard steps I’ve needed to wrestle through:
1 Acknowledge that it was important to you. This is not a time to be the fox with the grapes who said, “They probably were sour anyway.” So many times we try to explain away disappointment instead of feeling out way through it. It is good and right to grieve a dream that will never happen. It is important to acknowledge this was important to you. And then, there is a process of letting go. For me, this process involves praying, reading God’s word, talking with trusted people (my close circle of friends, my husband, my pastor,) and honestly, crying.
Looking at the five stages of grief that we go through when someone close to us dies, I think it’s interesting and helpful to note that we must go through those five stages when a dream dies.
1. Denial – refusing to let the dream die
2. Anger – Feelings of injustice that the dream is being taken away
3. Bargaining – Trying to make deals with God to get the dream back
4. Depression – Mourning the loss of the dream
5. Acceptance – Moving on and making room for a new dream.
But I believe for those of us who know God, there is a 6th step to grief.
6. Hope – We get to hope for better things. Yes, a dream has died, it is worth grieving. But when our faith is made real? We get to experience real hope.
If a dream is worth dreaming, it’s worth properly grieving.
2. Spend some time wrestling with God. It might be worth examining whether there was a reason God is withholding this particular dream. Is there something in my life that God is trying to get me to pay attention to? Is there sin that needs to be resolved? Or my favorite – has the dream become an idol. (Ugh – the ugly mirror.) Psalm 139:23 says “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” That is a bold verse to pray, but in order to have true breakthrough and understanding of what God is up to in our lives, we must be willing to confess every part we try to hide from God.
3. Understand that there is more than one way for a dream to happen. Maybe the dream isn’t dead – maybe the method is. Maybe you have been working, trying and striving, and God is saying, “Wait.” Maybe, this is not the right time, the right method, or the right person. The dream is alive, but the way is different.
4. Pay close attention to the other things God is doing in your life. Ten years ago, I wrote down 50 dreams I wanted to pray over and commit to God. 34 of those dreams have come to fruition. There are seven that I am still praying over. The other nine? I’ve come to understand that they are not part of God’s plan for my life.
And that is just fine with me.
When you see the other areas where God is moving and growing you, it’s easier to give up the things that no longer matter, that are no longer important. It’s so much easier to let a dream die when you have a record of all the great things He has done.
5. Make Room for God to give you a new dream. Just because the dream is dead, doesn’t mean the dreamer is. And the author of our lives? He is alive and waiting for you to take part in His amazing plan for your life.
Pray that God would give you the desires of His heart, so that when you dream, you can live bigger than even you can imagine.
Dream boldly. Great things have been accomplished because God’s people dared to dream boldly. But listen carefully. Is God doing something new in your life that you need to make room for?
What dream have you had to let die?
Many women find it easy to pray for the concerns and well-being of others. But when it comes to praying for themselves, it’s another story. If you are letting go of a dream and want to pray through your grief (which I highly recommend) Praying God’s Word for Your Life is a great tool to walk you through the experience.
In this book, I give you simple strategies that will:
· create a habit of praying with renewed boldness
· generate the desire for consistency in her prayer life
· provide proper expectations to see her prayers fulfilled in God’s ultimate plan for her life.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
~ Psalm 90:12 (NIV)
I’ve never really paid attention to Leap Days in the past. Oh sure, I’ve watched the Amy Adam’s movie. And when I was eight, I fantasized about asking David Cassidy to marry me, and him not being able to say no. (Oh, and I would have taken Shaun, in a pinch. I wasn’t fussy.)
And when I was younger, and in a job I hated, I resented the extra day of work. Couldn’t we just leave February with 28 days and be done with it?
But now, I’m looking at this extra day as a bonus. Oh sure, work still needs to be done and errands run, but there is something inside of me that longs to do something different: to take this bonus day and refuse to let it march by.
In sixth grade, our teacher, Mrs. Lawrence, had us write letters to our future, eighteen-year-old selves. I was so surprised to get that letter from my parents. It was full of hope and excitement from eleven-year-old me, and it served as a reminder at eighteen, when I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders as I was making decisions about my future. I’d learned a lot, I had a lot of people in my life who loved me, and that I had a great capacity for hope.
So I’m going to recapture a little of that this Leap Day.
I’m going to send my future self a letter. My Leap Day 2020 (doesn’t that sound so futuristic, like we’ll all be flying around in cars that year?) self.
This will not be a list of goals that I should have accomplished, but a list of things that I’m learning. My hopes and my dreams.
Things I’m planning on including:
- Bible verses that are meaningful to me this year.
- The way I feel about my relationship with Roger.
- Why I’m proud of my kids.
- My thoughts about how I’m growing as a person, and where I hope to be in 2020.
- Who I hope I’m growing into.
No – it’s not a list of goals, but it is some ideals that I want to become. I know, that just by writing them down, I have a much greater chance of seeing them realized than if I just keep them in my head.
I don’t know how this is going to turn out. It could be a colossal waste of time. Or it could just turn out to be something pretty fantastic.
If this is something you want to try, head on over to https://www.futureme.org/ and write yourself a letter. And perhaps let your kids write one too. How fun would that be?
Give your future self something to look forward to.
Speaking of giving yourself something to look forward to…
Have you gotten a ticket to an upcoming Finally Clutter Free event yet? I’ll be in Merced, CA this weekend and Modesto, CA on March 5.
Get more information and links to get your tickets here.
Warning: February 14th can be a hard day for any woman not living inside the pages of a fiction novel or in an Anne Hathaway romcom.
We spend so much time here at Clutter Free talking about how to declutter your home, but we all know the truth:
Decluttering starts with our hearts and minds. When we can be focused and intentional about what emotions and thoughts we let in (and which ones we keep from taking up a chair and sitting down for a cup of coffee) it goes a long way to practicing peace.
And yes – emotions are at a high when bad things happen – a death, illness, financial trouble.
But I find that when the world tells us Valentine’s is “supposed” to be a great day — filled with flowers, poems, secret admirers, and declarations of undying love, well—that can set us up for disappointment in a way no crisis can.
This has been a struggle for me in the past.
- The friend who got 2 dozen roses delivered to work and my total haul was a card I got from a coworker.
- When I was going through my divorce and wondered if I would ever have someone to love me again.
- The time the guy I was dating broke up with me on February 13th. (True story.)
Following are five suggestions to help you begin de-cluttering your heart before Cupid’s arrow hits you between the eyes this Valentine’s Day.
1. Avoid the Comparison Trap – It’s easy to fall into the idea that Valentines’ Day “should” be a certain way. The best way to stop comparison is to disengage from social media, at least for this day. That way, you won’t be tempted to compare your situation with someone else.
2. Take the Air Out of the Holiday
Want a perfect recipe for disaster?
- Try to get a reservation on Valentine’s Day
- Pay a babysitter on Valentine’s Day
- Expect flowers on Valentine’s Day
Why not celebrate your love on a different day?
First, it lowers crazy expectations.
Second, it’s easier to find someone to help you take care of the kiddos.
Finally, you can actually get a reservation somewhere if you want to go to dinner. (Or do like we do, try a great, but cheap ethnic food place for Adventure Dining. All the romance, but my guy doesn’t have to wear a tie!)
Go for fun instead of tradition and make the holiday your own.
3. Practice Peace – Valentine’s Day can be fun, romantic, and yummy (if there’s chocolate involved), but it can also be stressful. Did I get the right card? What time is dinner again? Too many things to juggle and your joy can get zapped. Practice being mindful that God is peace. And since He lives in you, you have peace.
4. Celebrate Life Everyday – We can hype the idea that we are celebrating the day of love. But really? Are we? Showing loved ones love does not have to be on Valentine’s Day. You can show love and appreciation everyday. Celebrate the beauty of everyday joy and love.
And on this Valentine’s, instead of waiting for others to show their love, go out and create some. Bring some candy to the janitor at your kid’s school, take a balloon to your next door neighbor who lives alone, and spend some extra time snuggling your dog.
Don’t wait to be adored. Go out and create loving moments.
5. Practice Being Happy for Others – Someone else is going to have a nicer dress, a cooler card, and the bigger flower arrangement. Be happy for them. This may be exactly what they needed after a really rough time in their marriage or in their life. Practice having an inner attitude of positive feelings and thoughts about others.
If this a holiday that can be hurtful, don’t be hard on yourself. It is for a lot of women I speak to. But, don’t let bitterness ruin your day. Think on these verses that can put your day in perspective.
If you need a boost and a confidence builder for your Clutter Free lifestyle, Kickstart to Clutter Free is the perfect way to get started. In just 14 days, Kathi gives you simple steps in getting rid of 500 things. We’ve been hearing from people all over the country that are having great success with the Kickstart eCourse. Find out more here.