Doesn't that sound trendy? ;)
Believe me, I titled this post tongue-in-cheek, thinking about how "culturally relevant" it sounded - but God willing, it's not quite as full of hot air as it could be. :)
I read one of the most incredibly profound books while I was flying to and from the East Coast over the holidays, and I hope that if you get a chance, you will go to your nearest local bookstore and order a copy (if they don't already have it in stock). It's called SHIFT, by Peter Arnell. I could summarize it for you, but I think Peter does a way better job of it himself:
For a number of reasons, towards the end of 2011, I found myself increasingly un-Happy. Part of it, honestly, was just imbalance on my part - being too busy, being busy doing the wrong things, not having enough downtime to meet the needs of my inner introvert, and accidentally but subconsciously beginning to identify myself by what I do, and not by Whose I am. Reading Peter's book was inspiring and timely and as far as I can tell, God-orchestrated. (I mean, really - what was I doing in the business section of Barnes and Noble?! How did I end up there?!) Lol.
I came away from reading this book confident of two things: 1) change is possible; and 2) I'm going to need some help.
There are a lot of things in my life that I wish would just shift by themselves.
They're not going to.
If I want to see things change, I'm going to have to do something.
Some of the negatives are circumstances that I simply cannot do anything about, except pray. Only God can move those mountains, and if/when He's ready to, He will. But there are things I can change. Things I can control. Things I can do.
So as I took my annual beginning of the year retreat to finish Peter's book and pray over this coming year, here are the things I've determined that I would like to either see shift or to see God do in me, as we stand at this year's annual crossroads, choose a path and start walking into 2012:
1) I want to be more present.
- Paying attention to the moment.
- Really listening to people.
- Enjoying what I'm eating, and stopping when I'm full.
- Noticing nature; taking time to look at the stars.
2) I want to be more silent.
- Listening to what I'm actually thinking, and what it reveals about my heart.
- Listening for His voice; learning to know Him better.
3) I want to be more intentionally grateful.
- I need to write it down: what am I thankful for today?
4) I want to make some personal shifts in how I structure my lifestyle:
- Diet: I need to eat things that are good for me, that promote health.
- Exercise: I need to try to exercise at least 2x a week (if not more).
- Image: I've always wanted to dress with a little more style. This is my year to do a little bit of shopping - to buy clothes that flatter and fit. I will always be most comfortable in jeans and a sweatshirt, but as I start to eat better and exercise more, I know from experience that I will feel more confident, and I want to look it. I can't go nuts; my debt-reduction plan needs to stay in place - but I need to give myself permission to look nice. And I needed a new haircut. Which I got today. (And I feel fabulous.) :)
5) I want to read and study more. (Leadership books and stories.)
6) I want to write more. And maybe finally take the risk and see if I can sell it.
7) I want to go deeper with Jesus, and fall more in love with Him than I have ever been.
- Listen. Pray. Fast. Wait. Worship.
- Dwell in the shelter of the Most High.
- Walk into my calling.
- Live with purpose. Live with joy.
So that's the new reality; at least, it's what I'm hoping for this year. I don't know when/how/what it will all look like - but because He is with me on this journey, I know it's going to be full of adventure and fun and learning and grace, and an experience far greater than anything I can imagine now.
Please feel free to check in with me from time to time, and ask me how it's going. And go read the book. You won't regret it. :)
Happy New Year, friends. Be blessed.