It’s February. Just last week I took down the last few Christmas decorations in our house. They are the decorations that look both Christmassy and wintery. I love the wreath I always place above the fireplace that has beautiful silver Christmas ornaments that sparkle and shine. Yes, it’s hard to believe it will be back up in less than a year.
As I put the wreath back up in the attic, I know it’s time to say good-bye to 2018. I realize I’m a little slow in this, but it really doesn’t matter. There’s a time table that’s just right for each of us which even includes holiday decorating: the putting up, and the taking down. I know I’m just now strong enough to embrace the newness that awaits me in 2019. I’m prepared to walk strong again with the essential elements that are needed in order to embrace life with gusto.
What are the needed essentials for embracing the days ahead that breathe life back into me, into you, especially if we happen to be one who feels like the wind has been knocked out of us?
1. Get alone with God in solitude. This place of stillness allows us to be aware of His presence. In this space we have the opportunity to be more aware of His perfect and unconditional love that is life-giving and life-changing.
2. Be mindfully grateful throughout the day for blessings that are around us. They are there even when we are in a place of emotional or physical distress. If possible, write them down.
3. Choose not to focus on failures or misfortunes of the past year that we have caused or that have come through the actions of others. Focus on what has been learned through the struggle and on creating a new vision of what God’s plan is that is good and that brings Him glory.
4. Spend time with friends and family in community. Make sure time is with those who are life-giving. These are ones with whom you can be your authentic self. It’s a place of love, acceptance, and safety.
5. Value others. We show how much we value and love one another through being intentional in kind and thoughtful deeds and encouraging words. Even something we may consider being small can have an incredible and significant impact on someone.
6. Read portions of scripture every day in a way that is transformational. We will know transformation is real when we see ourselves moving to deeper places of worshipping God. We also see it’s real when we observe that our heart is being changed in ways that display more of the character of Jesus.
7. Care for our physical well-being through getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night, eating healthy meals and snacks, and being active through some type of physical activity 4-5 times a week.
8. Be on the look-out for small or big opportunities that allow us some whole –hearted adventure.