Happy New Year 2017!

Such an exciting time of year for big goals, fresh plans, brilliant ideas, new clothes (just thought I’d throw that one in there!  Shopping, anyone?) and clean starts! I pray you have begun to think about changes you could make to increase your happiness, effectiveness and joy! I have!

As 2016 came to a close, I was beyond pleased to flush several circumstances we encountered in the past 12 months… things I hope to never live through again. But instead of listing the lame-o occurrences, I choose joy. 1 Thes. 5:16 Rejoice always!

Here is my list of What I Learned in 2016 that has changed who I am and how I look at the world differently from now on. Thank you, Jesus, for opened eyes.

  1. FREEDOM! (Yelled in my best Scottish Braveheart accent with my RRRRs all rolling like thunder!) I learned that freedom is the ability to do what we see fit in our lives without anyone else dictating our actions or judging us. Freedom is power. Avoid those who wish to control you and minimize your freedom. Freedom really brings a freeing feeling. Imagine that! Be free! Is the living joy being sucked out of your life? Make some changes. Be free!
  2. GOD! We all have a hole inside of us that we are striving to fill that can only be filled by God. He gave us the desire for MORE! More of HIM! We tend to try and fill that hole with other things … leading to overworking, addictions, perfectionism, life-crippling habits, over-attention on our kids, trivial busyness, social media, etc. But God.
  3. YOU! You are the only you on the planet. You are here for a reason… so am I. I encourage you to look at your God-given talents and interests and figure out what you are supposed to be doing that no one else can do but YOU! Who are you here to bless? To influence? To encourage? To serve? The rest of us want you to succeed at being YOU!
  4. TIME! We all have the same amount of time each day. Well, that’s not totally true because some of us sleep more than others (I happened to get 10.5 hours last night, but that was post vacation recovery.) …. but that doesn’t change the 24 hours we all have, does it? But I digress. There are a multitude of activities you can and could and might participate in… but should you? Just because you can do a task, doesn’t mean you are supposed to. Which leads us back to #3….
  5. WRONG! This has been my mantra for years, but it was so evident in my life this year: IT’S OKAY TO LET OTHERS BE WRONG. Arguing doesn’t help. Even truthful facts don’t help! Simply let others be wrong and move on with your life.

There you have it, folks. And can I suggest getting away from it all even for a day or two to evaluate your life. Sitting on Kapalua Beach on Maui in early November I made a list of the things in my life that were causing me to feel angry, sad, hurt, mad and frustrated. That day I made some decisions, eliminated activities, distanced myself from a couple situations and my life has been richer, freer, more joy-filled ever since. Change is good… and I’m not a big lover of change.

Make it a point to take every thought captive. Don’t dwell on horrible instances that make your blood boil. It’s a waste of time. Choose to find something to think about that brings you joy. I started a new board on Pinterest that simply makes me happy when I look at the watercolor pictures. Makes me want to run for my paints and brushes. It’s that easy! You got this!

The cool thing is, right after this new mindset, some unbelievable doors opened up for me. Desires of my heart. Thank you, God.

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