Linda - Victory

I Forgot Hope

Just like that in a flash it’s no longer the start of the new year but it’s end.

As I sit here contemplating what this year has been I realized that I forgot my word for 2018! I had to look at my post from last year to remember what my the word I had chosen!

My word was Hope, and I forgot about it. I think that’s funny.

It’s funny because I didn’t have to think about it. I wasn’t in need of reminding to Hope because this year has been living it out. That is such a blessing! Throughout this year of change and transitions, hope in Christ carried me through.

Just as with all years, it has been good, sad, exhausting, joyous and at times boring. I’ve grown in ways I didn’t foresee, fell back into some old habits and can say this has been a rather productive year for me all in all.

As those social media year end round ups start up I won’t sit there comparing my year against others.

I know what I achieved, what I let slide and what I chose to do with my time.

As this year prepares to wrap up, I understand Hope a bit more. Perhaps at times when I’m hoping for something instead of putting Hope in Christ I’m missing the point. What I learned this year is that Hope was something I already had.

I’m not sure I will choose a word for 2019. At this moment I don’t have an inkling for one. I’m not even sure what I’d like to try to achieve next year. Guess what, I’m just fine with that! Dear reader if you don’t either, embrace it!

A New Year, A New Word

It’s hard to believe but 2017 is about to end. 365 days that have been good, great, sad or bad culminate in a countdown breathlessly screamed out. What is it about the end of one year and the start of another?

It’s the clean slate idea. All that happened in these last 365 days is over and done. As the new year comes upon us all, we all have the chance to be different. This is the year of (insert declaration here)!

Then the list of resolutions begin to accumulate. This year I will do this instead of that. In years past I too made a list of resolutions. A list I would soon forget or walk away from altogether.

About five years ago I discovered One Word 365 while reading through my favorite blogs. The concept appealed to me, choose a word in which to live through as a lens for the next year. That’s it. Nothing else is required but to meditate, lean into and grow into this word.

Sounds weird right?

I mean we’ve been conditioned to make those lists! And that you can only do this at the start of the new year. Lies! By focusing on a word for the year, I find I’m more apt to accomplish goals. That as I lean into the word, it’s meaning only begins to evolve and expand.

I hadn’t given much thought to my word for 2018. In fact I completely forgot about it. Life had become busy with work and preparing to move. Until that is ,I began to journal the other night. Then there it was, written several times over in my entry. My word for 2018 had chosen me.

The word that repeated itself was Hope.

Hope

HOPE

HOPE

HOPE

Hope in the impossible, hope in good, hope in love, hope in all circumstances. Because I confess I have lacked hope at times. Because I don’t always trust what can happen. I’ve even stopped hoping for certain things because it’s too painful. Hoping means caring and caring means there is disappointment.

I have at times pushed aside the true hope I have in Christ. Because the lie(s) know how to whisper to me in just the right ways. I have chosen to not hope because it hurts. When what is hoped for doesn’t come to fruition, it leaves me bruised and untrusting.

Outside of myself, there is much need for Hope throughout the world. Hope that only Christ can deliver. If one is willing to believe that good can come from trial.

I don’t think this will be an easy word to lean into. I long to walk through the beckoning doorway to have a greater understanding of Hope.

2018 is the year of HOPE.

The Year of Being Stretched

Last year was a long, hard year. Not only because of the stress of the election ( and its outcome) but also personally. For the past few years I have chosen a word to define the year and for 2016 I had chosen Stretched. What was I thinking when I chose this word ( or did it choose me?)! In years past I have picked YES, LOVE, and BOLDNESS as my words. While I encountered challenges in those years with them, always learning and growing with them, never have I been as challenged as I have been this year.

I liken it to praying for patience, I don’t know about you but when I have prayed for that in my life it shows my lack of patience! It’s like God is saying alright, you really don’t know what you are asking for here but I will answer your prayer. I have been challenged and stretched in various areas of my life, from learning how to work in a ministry, leading young adults at church, getting some kind of grasp on my financials and being pushed out of my comfort zones. I say zones because there is always more than just one isn’t there?

The biggest and most recent is moving out of my sister’s house. It wasn’t something planned but it had to happen when it did for the sake of my family and future relationships. This was hard and painful and for a most of last month I was in survival mode. In the end it has all worked out, I have found a new place to live, with friends whom I am growing closer in relationship with each day.

Another comfort zone I had was in ministry. For several years I have served at my church in the area of stage design. For many of those years it either myself or myself and one other person. Which meant I HAD to do everything otherwise things would not get done. Anyone who serves at church knows that this was not a healthy place to be in. This year I have learned how to delegate ( this has also become my new favorite word!) with my team. This has meant me letting go of wanting to be in control of how the church looks each week and trusting what my team is doing with it. It has meant placing others in charge in preparing for Easter and Christmas Eve services. This has been so freeing! Letting go of control ( when I believed I didn’t have control issues oops!) is the best gift.

The best way to put it is that God stretched me this year by having me see where I needed to also let go. It didn’t mean I needed to take on more but had to jettison what wasn’t helping me grow in relationship to him. Letting go doesn’t mean one no longer cares but also sees that others care as well. If I take on everything I am not allowing someone else to also serve God.

As I reflect on the words for each past year, I see a larger word behind them. Namely trust, in order to say YES, I have to trust. Same with LOVE, BOLDNESS and STRETCHED. I have to trust God and His providence, not mine.

As I prepare my heart, mind, body and spirit for the new year this is where I sit. In adoration of what God does all the time in my own life and in the lives of others around me. I am not sure of a word for 2017 as if yet or at all.

 

Mid Week Motivator: Six Days In

We are now six days in. Six days (more or less) of pursuing a better year than last year.

For some, it is healthy habits.

Or to pursue that dream.

Perhaps you are already feeling the pressure of getting to the point of accomplishment.

But right now you are in the midst of it.

Putting in the foundation for later on is hard work. Right now you are feeling sore from those workouts. Strategizing the next step to achieve that dream.

It can feel overwhelming. Just remember there are no overnight successes. As you take each step, it is one more than you were just a few days ago.

Remember that when you have that hard day. Then keep going.

 

 

 

Mid Week Motivator : Happy New Year

This year has gone by quickly hasn’t it?  As a child a year seemingly took forever, but now time is stuck on a fast forward button. It can seem daunting to realize that a new year is here. That your not quite ready for it to be over. I know I’m not.

Time marches on no matter what snags or walls we run into. As we begin a New Year, possibility and hope hang in the air. Plans are made or recommitted to.

 

But remember this, each year  is an adventure. Perhaps not one you particularly wanted or hoped for. But an adventure nonetheless. Think about how much you planned to happen and what actually did end up happening. The best things that happened to me this year were unplanned. Something I’ll be thinking over as 2015 draws to a close.

 

[Tweet “plan but also make room for adventure “]

 

What do you hope for the coming year?

 

 

Mid Week Motivator : Goal Setting

In just a short while we will be saying goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016! This year certainly has flown by for me at least! That being said, a few of my goals have been met and others simply fell to the wayside. As it happens in this journey called life

I’ve learned something crucial though about goals and setting them. Here are three things that have stood out to me.

1-We romanticize them. I know I have done this, fantasing about how I would accomplish it or what life would look like once I did. I can tell you that achieving a goal looks entirely different then what I had imagined. Only to end up feeling disappointed or sad that it was or over.

2- Achieving a goals or goals often means working towards smaller goals first. This part is often overlooked, look at what steps or gains you need to achieve before getting to the main goal. When I started running, I had to first run a lap without stopping before I ran a half marathon.

3- Goals can change and that’s ok. Here is the truth, our lives, schedules and dynamics can change. A backburner goal can become your main goal. You may find you have more time for one thing and not another. This may mean pushing back a due date or rethinking your strategy.

And one last thought, January first is not a deadline to start . While it does fit in nicely, it being the first day of the new year and all. But it isn’t necessarily the right day for you to start. [Tweet “start your goals at the right time for you. “]

One Year, One Word

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It seems as if my word for this year chose me. I was not thinking about a word or even seriously considering a word when it went and chose me instead. These past few years I have subscribed to the idea of choosing a single word to define my year. Doing this instead of writing out a list of soon forgotten resolutions.

By focusing on one word each of these years, it has been an adventure. Each year I have grown and matured. Often facing hard truths about myself in the process. Each time I have been Stretched. Each time it has been a good, but not always easy thing to get through.

I have moved forward with so many goals and achieved so much more. I can not tell you if it was because by choosing a word instead of placing a list of to do’s on myself the pressure was off. Pressure of not living up to an arbitrary list.

Perhaps that was the key all along. The desire to do better, attempting new things was always there deep in my heart. After all it was the same list year after year. But after focusing on one word and seeing how much more I accomplished.

Funny that.

As I stated above, my word for this year snuck up on me. In fact I did not consider this word until I reread a previous blog post. It stuck up out at me like a beacon.

Stretched. It occurred to me that each word that I had chosen in the past had done just that in their own way.

Stretched. Each word had grown me in so many ways.

Stretched. I look forward to seeing how this will play out in this new year.

Do you choose a word? How do you begin the new year?

 

Register your word on the One Word 365 website

Photo Credit: Erica Rodriguez (Mua Loa Photography Inc.) @mualoaphotog

Mid Week Motivator- Getting Started

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It is well into the first week of the new year. Perhaps you have declared this is the year that you will get healthy! Earlier this week I focused on your motivation in doing so. Today, I am going to look at the practical things you will need to do.

Exercising
1- Invest in a good pair of sneakers. A shoddy pair of shoes can lead to injury.
2-For the ladies, a good jogging bra (or two).
3-Hold off on that gym membership. Yep, you read right. Get into the habit of working out, ask friends about coming in as a guest. Figure out what works for you before putting down a lot of cash.
(Plus let the gyms woo you! There are great deals for memberships so shop around!).
4- Download apps like Nike Running, Couch to 5k etc. Try them out and see what works for you.

Food:
1-Clean out your cabinets, fridge and hiding places. Toss out the bad stuff.
2- Replace the thrown out food with the good stuff. Introduce yourself to the vegetable section, try new stuff!
3-Download an app to help you with keeping track of calorie intake. I loved My Fitness Pal.
4- Plan your meals, bring your lunch to work. In this vein, cook at home or ahead for week.

This is not everything, but this will help you get started!

You’re Going To Get Healthy, Now What?

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So you have made a vow, a resolution or declaration that THIS is the year that you will get healthy. You are going to eat all the right things and work out every. Single. Day.

You are not alone.

First congrats on this decision. Now take a step back and as yourself these questions. Whether this is the first time you have decided ENOUGH or the hundredth time, you have taken a great step.

How will this be different this time?

Yes this time, because face it there have been attempts before. Perhaps there have been some modicum of success too. At some point though, you stopped. Before you blindly jump into it this time, evaluate what went wrong last time. What did or was working and what did not.
Take a moment to consider these two questions:
Did your attitude towards food change? Did exercising become a habit?

Do I have a support system?
A support system is key. This can come in various forms. Someone who is also embarking on this health journey. Or those in your household eating the same food you are. Find yourself a community for encouragement. Those who will cheer you on and help you through those tough days.

What are my goals?

Going into this without goals is fruitless. You are changing your lifestyle. Goals will change and evolve the further you get into this journey but you need them. My goal at the start of my health journey was to get up a flight of steps without losing my breath. Then as I grew in confidence, I decided to run a half marathon two years later.

This is not an easy journey, but it is entirely worth it. I would love to hear from you! What do you want to achieve by getting healthy ?

Please see a medical professional before making any major changes to your diet and exercise routine. Keep in mind any health issues or old injuries that may flare up as well

Mid Week Motivator-Thank You

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Thank you! Thank you for reading and following my blog. You are the reason I continue to write and I look forward to what this coming year has in store!

My website is currently under construction and I hope you will continue to follow me on there. Www.lindasharonconnelly.com

I look forward to how this blog will continue to grow and evolve. It began as a way to answer questions on becoming healthy and expanded from there.

Most of all I look forward to hearing more from you.

I pray that this coming year is full of growth, adventure and love!