JOY in a New Year

I'm going to be pretty personal in this post, not saying that I am never personal, but this blog post will be slightly different. I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions. It's not even the new year for crying out loud! It's already half way...wait...over two-thirds of the way into January, but I am a firm believer that you don't have to wait for a certain date or time to start reaching a goal. Whenever you feel inspired or driven to achieve something, don't set a date to start. Go now. (Don't sit around and wait for the next new year.)

But the new year does bring about a little more goal setting than in other parts of the year because it almost feels like a chance to start over and make up for what didn't get done in the previous year. I was a slacker, though, and didn't start thinking about resolutions that I wanted to make until about a week ago...but I want 2016 to be a year a BIG growth. It's a new year, a new day, and every moment is a chance for change. 

My mom always told me that if I really want to achieve my goals I need to write them down. Of course, I wrote them down in my journal, but I'm putting them in this blog post for two reasons. 1) I'm putting them out on a public blog, so I better really, really try to follow through (because people will know if I don't), and 2) these are pretty broad goals to have, so someone else may want to try and go after these goals themselves. 

Anna's New Year's Resolutions for 2016:

  1. Pray more. Pretty simple, but it has a huge impact. Pray every morning, pray every night, and pray every moment in between. Pray from the heart, and be vulnerable in prayer. Be genuine, and be honest with yourself and God. Start the prayer not by asking, but by thanking. Don't be afraid to ask for help and healing. Pray like I'm talking to an old friend. Make sure to also take the time to listen. 
  2. Worry less. Number one and two pretty much go hand in hand. When I'm worried, talk to God, and remember that He's got me. He's a BIG God that literally fills everything. ("And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, which fills everything in every way." -Ephesians 1:22-23) How could we not find comfort in something that fills our very being? Don't let anxiety from the little things keep me from seeing the big picture. Don't worry just to worry. When we constantly worry, we are pretty much saying that we don't trust God. 
  3. Trust fully. I didn't realize until I looked back on these that they all pretty much went together. Trust God, but also trust others. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Don't steer away from being with open with someone because of fear of betrayal. Your vulnerability could actually help someone in knowing that it is okay to be broken; vulneralbility can be used to show someone just how gracious, merciful, and loving God really is. Also, remember that it is hard for someone to hurt you when God is who you are working to please. 
  4. Don't be afraid of the unknown. We are never going to know everything (that's a good thing, by the way), so we just need to take what we are given and run with it. Adhere to first three resolutions, and you should be golden. Also remember that life is a journey, have a little fun exploring. Make the most of the unexpected pit-stops and detours.
  5. Love deeper. Let God's love for you overflow to everyone you meet. Form new meaningful relationships. Garden the ones you already have. Love, love, love. Oh, and love just a little bit more. 
  6. Grow closer to THE Creator. (I felt like the all caps in "the" was necessary). Study the word, talk to Him in prayer, worship Him authentically. Get to know the definition of love and grace and the savior of your life a little better. And don't just do a devotional to say you did one, do it because you genuinely want to dive deeper into the Lord. Do it to hear what God is speaking to you. Also, begin and end with prayer. 
  7. Meet change head on. Don't EVER be afraid of it. And I mean ever. It can actually be a good thing, you know?
  8. Never overlook God's simple gifts. Not only are these little moments of joy, but they are simple, beautiful love tokens that God literally surrounds us with. 
  9. Continue to strive to live each day joyfully. Happiness is fleeting, but joy is everlasting.  

So here is to 2016. A year of changes, a year of unknowns and surprises, and a year filled with uncountable chances for unforgettable adventure. I want this year to be a year where I fall more in love with moments, more in love with others, and more in love with God. I want this to be a year that is filled with exhilarating exploration, a year that I can look back on and smile because love was overflowing. A year, to simply put it, that is more joyful than ever before. 

 Photo credit to the lovely Moriah of Moriah Elisabeth Photography. 

Photo credit to the lovely Moriah of Moriah Elisabeth Photography.