Giving, Vision & Grace

So, I've been holding on to this one for a while.

Because the reality is, a lot has been going on since I came home from Miss America. And a lot of it has been hard. A lot of it has been challenging, and exhausting, and it has some times flat out sucked.

And really, I've been keeping it to myself because, let's be really frank, plenty of people read this. Plenty of people who have made my life hard, challenging and exhausting. And it's hard to rationalize talking about life's tough parts when you're simultaneously putting yourself in a position to say, hey listen, you're kinda being a jerk, so please read about it on the internet. 

Wait. Pause.

That's not to say that nothing good has happened since September (or in 2016 at all. Duh.) Plenty of really good, big, amazing, mushy-heart-eyes, things have happened. Actually, all in all, it's been kinda magical in the last few months. But all of that has been tapered by these...challenges.

And I think, what I'm saying is, the highlight reel has been playing loud and clear for the public. But the raw stuff, the things left on the cutting room floor...oh y'all, it's sucked so hard.

I can't change any of it.

It's over and done with.

I won't sit here and detail through the tough shit.

But I will walk you through the last few days, the big dig I've been doing in my heart to set off on the right foot this month. This month. One month at a time, maybe even one week at a time. That's what I'm doing in 2017.

First of all, I got a new planner. If you want the deets, I'll share. But I super encourage you to go out, look for one that helps you align your goals, priorities, and heart song.

Then, I filled that badboy out.

I wrote down my goals. I looked at what happened in 2016. I looked at what I want in 2017. I looked at why I have been so challenged, particularly in the last few months. I looked at what was making me so unhappy, and made a really concise plan to cut it out of my life.

I said goodbye to relationships that don't serve me. I said goodbye to saying yes, just because I should. I said goodbye to negative self-talk. I said goodbye to feeling obligated to please those that have hurt me.

I decided I am saying yes to more workouts, more days off, more jobs that make heart leap, more intentional work, more honest relationships, more constant joy, more lovin on my friends, more encouraging, more grace, more mercy.

I decided that the best thing I did in 2016 was give until it physically hurt. Until I was so depleted, so worn out, so beat down, that I knew I had done it - I had given everything.

And you wanna hear something wild? When I looked back at my 2015 PowerSheets to find what I had wanted in 2016, I found that I had prayed so hard to give. It was on dang near every page. I asked for strength to give more. I asked for the ability to give even when I wasn't sure why. I asked for the confidence to give to others, even if I wasn't sure they liked me, or loved me, or wanted to work with me. I asked that I would be put to work as tool to spread His joy through my persistent giving.

Low and behold, I spiraled out of 2016 thinking, I can't keep going, I have given everything. 

I guess, then, that means this year was successful.

So you wanna know what's littered through my goals this year?

Vision, with grace. I am asking - continuously - for the courage to pursue these big visions I have for myself. In relationships, in work, in commitment to my state, in my pursuit of doing something that matters to others. And I already know I will need grace to get me through. Grace, to power through my tendency to get tired. Grace, to fuel me when it hurts like this. Grace, not just to pardon my countless sins, but to give me the power to turn away from things like that negative self talk. Grace, to recognize when regardless of what I feel, and think, and want, His plan is going to be far better than my vision.

Just like any year, I don't know what is coming. I don't know where these visions that I have for my future will take me. I don't know what my life is going to look like in March, let alone in December.

But I know I have a plan. I have goals. And I have the last year to look back on (and sure, the years before this.) I have the challenges, and the sucky things in 2016 to look at and say, yep, made it through that. And dang, if I don't have some successes to look at after this year too.

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