Joy in 2019

It wasn’t until late 2017 that I first heard the idea of choosing a word for the year. The idea intrigued me: choose a single word that all of your yearly goals point back to. To be honest, I don’t remember the word I chose for 2018 – or if I even chose one.

As I reflected on 2018, however, I did choose a word for 2019.

Joy.



I am not looking to do any and everything that makes me happy. I am simply doing two things: I am carving out the time to do the small things that I love – and am being grateful that I get to do them – and I am remembering that no matter what is going on in my world, I have a Joy that can never be taken from me.


I spent too much of the previous years trying so hard to do what I felt like I was supposed to do. I had to clean my house a certain way. I had to dress a certain way. I had to set goals a certain way. I spent so much time trying to be who I thought I was supposed to be that I never took the time to figure out who I really was, who God designed me to be.

I looked more to people on social media to figure out what I should do than I did looking to God. I decided I should do things because other people did them rather than because I wanted to do them. I have always struggled with feeling pressured to do what others do because I think it’s “the right thing to do.” I also let my circumstances dictate how I felt, leaving me feeling pretty crummy a lot of the time.


Maybe becoming a mom caused something to change, because quite frankly I got quite tired of living that way. But changing the habit of trying to conform to others’ standards so that I feel like I’m “doing it right?”

Yeah, that’s hard.

I’m a people pleaser by nature. I so badly want to have it all together.

But I don’t. And I never will. And I had to accept that just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for me – and it doesn’t mean it has to work for me. I also had to accept that if I let the circumstances of my life dictate my life, I was going to be a miserable person.


I decided to stop robbing myself of little things that I love because I felt like I had to be this super-structured person who lived by a strict schedule and always had everything done.

I’ve started doing things that I love again simply because I want to. Small things like reading four books at once, writing fiction, spending time with friends and family, and watching sunsets. These little things may seem insignificant, but they are little moments, little things, that I am so grateful for.

We can’t throw our responsibilities to the wind, but we can learn to be more flexible. We can leave dishes in the sink overnight because it’s been a hard day and we’d like to take a bath and relax. We can fold the laundry later so that we can play with our kids. We can do the things – big or small – that we’ve always wanted to do but never carved out time to do it.

Even more than these things – and these things are great – I’m remembering Who my true joy comes from. Please hear me here: My goal in life is not to be happy, it is to please God.


And to please God, we have to trust in Him always. We can’t give in to worry and anxiety. We have to remember that no matter the circumstance, not matter the battles, our Savior is with us always. Paul instructs us several times in the New Testament to rejoice in the Lord. He is the source of unwavering joy.

This is one of the hardest seasons of my life, but my God has so lovingly reminded me that His love is covering me. He is my true joy.


So this year I am carving out time for things that I enjoy, and I am resting it the unwavering promises of my Savior. I am finding joy in 2019.

With love,

Photo credit:

unsplash-logoTom Sodoge
Advertisements

Just Do It

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

-Chinese proverb

•••

How often do we find ourselves saying, “I want to do           ” or “Someday I’m going       to           “? If you’re anything like me, the answer is probably “much too often.” What I have realized lately is that if you want to do something, just do it.

You want to learn to paint? Buy supplies. You want to write? Put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). You want to exercise more? Find a gym.

We become obsessed with waiting for the right time to do things, but most of the time, there is no “right time.” Why start tomorrow when there is a perfectly good today? Take the first step, even if the first step is just researching what you want to do and figuring out what supplies or resources you need.

We also let the possibility of failure become a stumbling block to us. One of my professors once wisely said, “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing wrong.” What he meant was that if something is really worth your time, it’s worth the knowledge you gain from your mistakes. Every mistake is an opportunity for growth. I dabble in crocheting, and a friend of mine wanted a hat for Christmas. I think I started over on the darn thing about seven times. I was doing something wrong, and it took patience and the willingness to try again to get it right. The finished product, though not perfect, looked a lot better than if I would have just given up and left it a half-done mess.

•••

If you are wanting to try something new, stop being your own worst enemy. Also, it’s okay to do something simply because you enjoy it and not because you’re going to show it to the world. Who cares if your paintings aren’t masterpieces? If you enjoy doing it, don’t stop! Don’t let the voices of the world or the voices in your head stop you. Just do it.

With love,

B

Photo credit:unsplash-logoChristopher Sardegna

Doing More of What I Love

Sometimes life seems to be an endless repetition of tasks: wake up, eat breakfast, get ready, go to class, eat lunch, do housework, do homework, go to work, eat dinner, sleep, and repeat.

Honestly, life often is a series of repeated tasks, but that doesn’t mean we have to let our lives become boring and stale. Recently I’ve made it a goal to do more of the things that I enjoy. Some of these include:

  • I go to the gym three times a week. That may not sound like an enjoyable thing, but to me it is. I enjoy how I feel after, and I enjoy seeing how hard work results in progress, even if the progress is slow. It also requires a lot of discipline, and being disciplined in this area of my life helps me to be disciplined in other areas of my life (“Discipline” is my word of the year, so bonus!).
  • I read everyday. I’ve made it a point to read something everyday in addition to my Bible reading. I prefer to read a mixture of fiction and nonfiction everyday, but I’m satisfied if I get to read one of the two.
  • I listen to more podcasts. I take advantage of long care rides by listening to some of my favorite podcasts (which include Happier, Uniquely Woman, Cultivating the Lovely, and Mosaic).
  • I write everyday.  Just like with reading, I’ve made it a goal to write something everyday. I love to write – obviously, hence the blog. I have been an avid writer since I was in first grade and participated in the Young Author’s Convention (so if anyone ever asks, my first book was really Sammy the Toothless Shark). For years a lot of my free time was spent writing or daydreaming about stories I wanted to write. Because of school, work, life, and excuses I haven’t spent much time in the past few years writing much other than blog posts (which I definitely love writing). I’m getting back into writing fiction which fills me with so much joy.

•••

Life often is a series of repeated things to check off of the to-do list, but these tasks can be made much more enjoyable by pairing them with the things you love (for example, listening to a podcast while cleaning). Your days will also become more enjoyable if you schedule in time for activities you love; the things I’ve listed are things that are put on my to-do list. I carve out time among my daily tasks to do things that bring me joy. Why? Self-care is important: take time to relax and do enjoyable (and creative!) things without feeling guilty because you think you should be doing something else.

So that is my challenge to you: make time in your schedule to do things that you love. You’ll be happier for it!

Photo Credit: Jacalyn Beales

Seasons of Life

Our lives are not linear; we do not stay in the same place constantly. Like the seasons of the year, the seasons of our lives come and go. This thought is comforting in difficult times and perhaps bitter in more joyful times.

The season that we are in is unique to us and may look quite different from the people around us even if they are in a similar time in their life. For example, my best friend and I are one month apart in age, we are both seniors in college, we have similar majors, and we are both married, yet we are in very different seasons of life. The season I am in involves managing a full-time course load for school, work, and an internship. I am not home very much and spend most of my time doing homework and housework. Genelle on the other hand is going to school full-time as well, has a work-study through the university, and is preparing to have a baby in three months! Though the seasons that we are in share commonalities, they are quite different indeed!

Both of the seasons we are in are beautiful in their own ways, and one of my favorite things to do as of late is have conversations with her about what is going on in her life and sharing what is going on in mine, because for the first time, the seasons of our lives are more different than similar and the priorities and focuses of our lives are different. I love it.

•••

The thing about life is that we can never really expect what the future seasons of life will look like. For instance, when I was a freshman in college, I never would have guessed that I would change my major or that I would be getting married my junior year. We can plan all we want, but that doesn’t mean that things are going to work out that way – and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Genelle, for example, wasn’t necessarily planning on having a baby this year, and the season she was expecting to go into changed, but the unexpected season turned into a season of joy and blessings.

A valuable skill I have learned in the past few years is to accept the season of life that I am in. The current one I’m in is quite busy. I rarely get to spend time with my husband or my family and I have to be extra intentional about finding rest and being still in the presence of the Lord. When things feel like they are too much to handle, when I’m upset about not seeing my husband as much as I would like to, I simply say to myself, “It is only a season.” Though it is a trying season at times, it is a season full of immense blessings and joy as well. I can’t sit around and wait for that perfect time in my life to come along – it’s never going to. I have to find joy in each day.

This season will go and the next one will come. What will it be like? I have no clue, but perhaps the mystery is part of the adventure.

Photo Credit: Fineas Anton

Ten Seconds

I saw a post on Facebook a few days ago that said this:

Imagine this: If you had $86,400 in your account and someone stole $10 from you, would you be upset and throw all of the remaining $86,390 away in hopes of getting back at the person who took your $10? Or move on and live? Right, move on and live. See, we all have 86,400 seconds each day. Don’t let someone’s negative 10 seconds ruin the remaining 86,390. Don’t sweat the small stuff, life is bigger than that.

Ironically, I had been thinking about the same idea all week, but in a different way.

I can be quite critical of myself. If something embarrasses me or I think that I’ve done something wrong at work, for example, I have a tendency to hold onto the moment. Honestly, I am in no way effective in a situation if I’m strung up on something that happened ten minutes or four hours ago.

I do the same thing in social situations. I’m a sensitive person. I feel everything so deeply that when someone says something to me, I grab hold of it and take it as truth. I take things the wrong way or turn a small comment into a huge ordeal in my mind and then shut down. This makes social gatherings a source of anxiety for me a lot of the time. Sometimes I shut down before I get there in anticipation of something happening. And you know what? It’s not working for me anymore.

I have seriously got to learn to let things go. Like the post said, is ten seconds worth sacrificing the rest of my day? No, it’s really not. Whether it’s a mistake I make or a comment from someone else, it is not worth me shutting down. The truth is, they don’t shut me down, I shut myself down. I make a choice.

I’m ready to make a different choice.

The choice to let things go.

The choice to learn from mistakes and move on.

The choice to live in the moment.

Are you going to let ten seconds dictate the rest of your day?

Finding Beauty in the Routine

This season of my life is extremely structured. I have class Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I listen to the news on the way to class. Tuesdays and Thursdays I take care of my best friend’s dog. Tuesdays I spend most of the day with my fiancé. Thursdays I run errands and go to the gym. I babysit Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. I work on Fridays. I go to church on Sundays. It feels like most every moment of my day is scheduled out (you should see my planner).

But the thing is, I’ve come to find beauty in this routine of mine. One of my favorite quotes is, “Today is a wonderful day. I have never seen this one before.” – Maya Angelou

No matter how routine, how scheduled, how structured my days are, each is a brand new experience, a new adventure.

For example, sunrises and early mornings and sunsets and late nights are some of my favorite times. The beauty of the sky never ceases to amaze me, never ceases to take my breath. And every day is different!


I got to marvel at the Lord’s beautiful creation this morning, and it’s so beautiful and so different than yesterday, and so different than tomorrow will be. God has shown me how to find His beauty in every day things.

Every day is different no matter how similar they seem. I know that not every season of my life will be this scheduled, but for this season, I’m finding beauty in the routine.