Advent of a new year: choosing your ‘word’

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Throughout a year loaded with more change than ever, my word for 2020—growth—continues to stretch and mold me. Yet, when I reflect on the past 12 months, I’m encouraged by the countless ways in which I’ve given my word a good workout. Perhaps it’s my age—reaching the halfway point in Club 50 membership can do that to a girl—or maybe it’s the date on the calendar that sparks possibility and expectation as we await the advent of shiny new beginnings. In either case, excitement stirs in my belly as I meditate on my word for 2021: a theme, of sorts, or call to action that captures the spirit of what I’m drawn to most, in this moment—a life of surrender. For me, this looks like creating a plan, but releasing attachment to future outcomes. And, instead, approaching each day with playful curiosity, while practicing resilience in the face of whatever comes.

What word or theme will you focus on in the new year?

Surrendering: the painful process of pruning

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How often do you pray for patience, and then without warning a situation occurs that demands an inner fortitude that a) you never knew you possessed and b) you wouldn’t need to tap into had you not asked for patience? I wrestle with this lately. But not patience so much as seeking to live out my word for the year: growth—which shows up as frequent “pruning” and a daily practice in humility. Merriam-Webster defines pruning as “to cut off or cut back parts of for better shape or more fruitful growth.” As a Christian, this can be a painful process of surrendering in any number of ways, such as letting go of a position, possession, relationship or some other desire to better align oneself to the image of Jesus. In my case: be careful what you pray for. Yet without a season of pruning, we carry around “dead branches” that hinder our ability to grow. And to eventually flourish.

What area of your life could use pruning?

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A nasty word called addiction: from bondage to freedom

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In today’s post, I share a snapshot of a decades-long journey from bondage to freedom. Until six months ago to the day, I lived as an addict most of my life. Ever since I can remember, food consumed me (pun intended). Not so much the taste and health benefits, but the ways it [temporarily] anesthetized my emotions and contributed to a false sense of control. For years I engaged in an active bulimic lifestyle (see Body shaming comes in all shapes and sizes), bound by rituals that revolved around binging and purging. More than three decades ago, I “beat” the physical cycle of abuse but, throughout the subsequent years, lived with the psychological torment of a distorted body image, yo-yo dieting (an unhealthy practice with hidden dangers) and self-inflicted shame. Social interactions where food played a major role—parties, work lunches, friendly get-togethers—served to debilitate and oftentimes paralyze my mind. Until I finally surrendered these thought patterns. Bottom line: there’s always hope.

For more information, contact me.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The price of sacrifice: a necessary evil to create space, balance

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The boss and I were discussing a non-work-related topic and I mentioned “not having time.” He said that depended on the level of importance I placed on accomplishing a particular task. And that it would, of course, require a sacrifice of something else on my agenda. Ah yes, the sacrifice. Herein lies the conundrum: I refuse to surrender a couple big-ticket commitments. Although I’ve unloaded one burden (see “When you run out of margin…”) that will free up space, I still struggle to carve out time to do the things I need to do and those things I want to do. Not to mention the 7-8 hours of sleep I should log in each night. I’ve juggled, rearranged and finagled my morning and evening schedules. I’ve simplified, multitasked, prioritized and modified habits and routines. Yet I continue to wrestle with this challenge. Perhaps the answer is to re-examine my needs and wants to find a balance between the two.

What are you willing to sacrifice for more time?

If you ignore the warning signs

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Last month, I was over it—sick and tired because I had overcommitted and overextended myself. But I learned when you ignore your body’s warning signs, it will raise the flag of surrender when enough is enough. After 26 days of putting up a good fight (my doctor’s words), I needed help (also her words). On the bright side, while I spent two full days in bed, I read two books from cover to cover, logging in over 650 pages [read Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer if you get a chance]. On the less than bright side, let’s say it wouldn’t be unreasonable for me to hire a cleaner to overhaul my home. And, although I have a few obligations lined up for February, most of the month is open—because this time I’ve learned my lesson thanks to countless missed engagements, reduced time in the hot room and little headway on advancing my goals. Yet.

What does it take for you to learn a lesson?

[Image credit: photostock, FreeDigitalPhotos.net]