Monday, January 20, 2014

Living on Purpose in the New Year - by @emilylaney

Sally Mahoney (creative commons)
Happy New Year and happy January Church4Chicks friends! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season.  

I love the start of a new year. Out with the old, in with the new. January is an opportunity to start fresh and jump into new adventures for a new year. But January is also a pretty polarizing month full of conflicting emotions as well. For some of you, the cold weather and credit card bill from Christmas are really stressful. Some of you may still not be able to shake the struggles of 2013. Others may have experienced a rough start to the new year, we’re only a few days in but maybe you’re ready for a ‘do over’.  

January can also be a month where we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Maybe you looked back at your goals for 2013 and didn’t feel like you accomplished much. I had 13 goals in 2013 and only fully accomplished 8 of them. There were a few that I didn’t accomplish because of my own lack of discipline, so there was temptation to beat myself up about my lack of progress. But our motto at Church4Chicks is Purpose…without the pressure. We need to live on purpose for the Lord but we have got to take the pressure off ourselves.  

I thought about a few ‘resolutions’ we can all make for the new year to help us live on purpose without the pressure. Here are things I’m going to practice in my life this year:  

1. Celebrate your victories – this one is huge. Maybe your goal was to lose 20 pounds but you only lost 10. Maybe you wanted to read 20 books last year and you only got 15 finished. Yeah, you were a little short of the goal. But you know what? You took steps towards accomplishing your goal. Celebrate the fact that you got closer to where you want to be. Don’t beat yourself up over small shortcomings. Stand up tall, smile, and move forward.  

2. Build others up – Jealousy, insecurities and hurt feelings can lead us to tear others down in order to build ourselves up. We women can be mean to each other sometimes! I’m striving to put aside much of my own self promotion and try to build others up.  

3. Cultivate your passion – God gifted you in unique ways and He instilled unique passion in your heart. Find what you are passionate about and cultivate it. Don’t apologize for it. I spent several years in stagnation because I felt like no one cared about my passion for social justice. But when I stopped worrying about what others thought I became alive as I cultivated my passion for justice. Living on purpose without the pressure requires you to find your passion and pursue it for God’s glory.  

4. Engage in a Community – It can be so easy to live life virtually now with little face to face interaction. It’s also easy to keep friends and family at arms length. But community brings rich accountability and meaningful relationships. Enter into real community with others this year.  

5. Spend time resting – Spend time in prayer, meditate on God’s word, rest in His grace. We all need time to refuel. My childhood pastor once said “Sometimes when you want to give up, all you need is a nap!” Isn’t that the truth? Take time to relax and don’t feel pressured to be the energizer bunny.  And spend some time resting in God’s presence and in His word.  

You are so precious and valued my sister. Take this new year as an opportunity to live in the moment and allow God to use you in amazing ways.  

I’d love to hear any goals you have for 2014. Share in the comments below.
Emily Laney is a social worker, educator and justice seeker. She has worked with vulnerable populations in the United States and abroad and loves to help startup nonprofits reach their goals. She is a Passion City Church door holder and leads a team of abolitionists at Not for Sale Georgia.  She loves her husband Brent and their rescue pup Biscuit. Sunsets and Sushi make her happy. 
You can connect with Emily on twitter @emilylaney or on her blog


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