Hi friends, it’s been a minute. Happy New Year!
First, a word to my subscribers: it means so much to me that this blog came straight to your inbox. Thank you for your support and for trusting me with this space. You mean the world to me. <3
This year I long to walk more gently with myself and others. Adam, my super fresh husband of four months, is terribly patient and I am so thankful for how he’s been teaching me by example to breath deeply and smile quickly. (In turn, I’d like to think I’ve taught him a thing or two about navigating the glory of ALDI and keeping his life [a little more] in order.)
This path to living gently started with giving myself time and space to set my intention for 2019 even if that meant not having it complete until the middle of January. With the busyness Adam and I faced in our first married holiday season, this extra space was such a gift. Sometimes we need to binge a Netflix show on a Friday evening, and be in bed by 9:20pm, and there is full permission for that. Glory, hallelujah.
Another step down the path of gentle living is that I have kept my mantra simple, very much on purpose. Naturally, I am a to-do list person and alongside that comes a perfectionism that far too often leads me to measure my worth alongside what I have accomplished. Goals for healthy living and greater productivity in 2019 is not what I needed. Those will come but what I need today is to intentionally create space for learning to let go and be gentle.
This past year I set a mantra each month. Maybe I’ll do that this year, maybe I won’t. I believe we should hold our intentions loosely and be ready to let them go when its time to pick up a new one. We can be so rigid with the goals we set that they are no longer fostering the growth which was their original purpose. Maybe I’ll hold this intention for one month, three months, or the whole year. I’ll keep you posted.
Finally, the mantra I’ve chosen: “to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul,” Psalm 25:1, AMP. My intention is to use this phrase to lift things to the Lord.
A lot changed for me in 2018, and I’m anticipating (and currently experiencing) waves of anxious transitional growing pains, along with waves of joy and growth. In all of it, I want to breath the truth of sufficiency. Our God has given us everything we need. In the biggest and smallest anxieties, I will lift it to Him. I will lift it up and breath deeply, knowing that in Him I am capable and at peace, and that arriving isn’t the answer. Transitions take time and I want to be gentle with this year of transition and every one to come.
Let’s invite the Holy Spirit into every care, every joy, every sorrow, and learn to experience “God with us” more fully. Practicing God’s presence is what we are often most deeply skeptical of, yet what we most deeply long for. It seems too good to be true, that we can simply lift it up and let it go.
Simple scriptural mantras are powerful tools in this mind renewal process. Our minds are full of habits and patterns, some beneficial, some not, and some that were beneficial but for a different time.
There is such freedom in knowing that we don’t have to fully understand a truth before we can claim it and ask God to teach us to embody it. This is great news because the thing about lifting my soul to our Savior is I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know what it will look like, but the deepest renewal comes when we move in faith into something we don’t yet grasp. This gives the Spirit a blank slate to build and direct the mind into truth without first tearing down a bunch of preconceived ideas.
This past weekend when I came across this mantra in Psalm 25, it leapt off the page and wrapped my heart in assurance. I started practicing it immediately by replacing “my soul” with the different things I was anxious about:
“To You, O Lord, I lift up my friendships.”
“To You, O Lord, I lift up my health.”
“To You, O Lord, I lift up the social calendar of this weekend.”
I wrote out each phrase and spent a couple minutes breathing deeply and repeating them. Simple as that. No matter the internal or external chaos we’re experiencing we are always invited to find rest in the gentle arms of our Savior. Unconditional love is our reality in every moment – we have only to lift up out of ourselves to embrace it.
My prayer for your path into 2019 is that you would be met by the Gentle Presence of Jesus each and every day. I pray that you will know deep in your soul the access you have to Rest and Goodness in Christ. I pray that you will know that the invitation is always being given.
Even when we didn’t get the dishes done or the groceries stocked, we can lift up our soul.
Even when we didn’t follow up with a friend or when we feel incompetent as a spouse, we can lift up our soul.
Even when we can’t shake the anxious feelings and feel like we’ve failed, we can lift up our soul.
Each time we do, we are met with Goodness and Grace. Thanks be to God.