Phrased Up & Prayed Up

New year, new me.

Well, that's what I hope at least. I think most would agree that when the New Year hits there's almost a Cinderella moment that happens. We decide that a transformation should take place and we pick a new, better version of ourselves to be for the next year. Like Cinderella though, we usually have a "what did I get myself into" moment when the clock strikes midnight {or we're two months into the new year} and we realize that the bar we set might have been just a littttttttle too high.

Usually, the result is that we give up. We realize that we are not superhuman and that it takes a LOT of work to change habits, mindset, and to usually add discipline back into our lives. {I'm not saying this happens to everyone -- there are many resolutions that are met, and those should ALWAYS be celebrated with a large margarita & pat on the back.} For me, when I thought about 2018, I thought about my past resolutions in hopes that they would guide my future ones. What I quickly realized was that I was not great at keeping my resolutions. The goals I sat in the past were solely on what I thought I needed my life to look like, and not what I thought God wanted for me.

So this year, I decided to change things up. One of my friends taught me about a different kind of resolution, one that was based more on a word for the year that covered your whole life, versus multiple goals that spoke to all the individualistic details. This "word" was something that you wanted to embrace, become, learn from, and hopefully, be changed by. So, at the beginning of 2018, I thought, why not give it a go?

Well, after a lot of thought, I couldn't land on just one word. Instead, I felt like God was leading me towards two phrases that he wanted me to take up for 2018. Two phrases that I know I could grow in. Two phrases that I haven't ever really put a lot of energy into the past due to lack of discipline, and frankly, fear of how it could change my life. 

Honestly, I'm still terrified, but I'm trusting that God can do great things if I just obey. So here we go...

Slow To Speak

I have no doubt both my mama and my husband are reading this with an "Amen, Praise Jesus" head nod. What I realized is that I usually am quick to let my emotions dictate a conversation. Now, I do believe that there are designed times where it is healthy to speak your feelings in the moment, BUT what I struggle most with is when I let my tongue work quicker than my mind and my heart to process a situation. The result: increased anger and misunderstanding, a hardened heart, unloving words, and a perception of reality that is usually untrue. 

So, for this next year, I want to take a chill pill. I want to be more intentional about pausing, pondering, and praying before I speak. {SUP THREE P'S} I want to be more gentle, more loving, and more Christ-like with that comes out of my mouth, and I want to make sure that my response is always pointing others towards Jesus. And let me just tell ya... if I'm not slow to speak then that's not usually the case. *insert upside down smiley face here*

"Know this, my beloved brothers & sisters: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." - James 1:19-20

Prayerful

This is the one that terrifies me the most. I've always been taught the power of prayer, but never have I fully believed in it. {Nobody ever said Christians had to have it all together AMIRIGHT.} Honestly, this is something that I personally have struggled with for a long time. Prayer has always kind of scared me. A lot of it stemmed from early perceptions within my walk that it had to be done a certain way, and if it was not -- well, you're screwed basically. Only in the past couple of years has the Lord really worked to free me from the spiritual bondage I was entangling myself in. When you fully begin to believe that our God is a loving God, then prayer doesn't become as scary and becoming vulnerable with the One who knows all becomes more personal and intimate than another checkbox on the spiritual checklist. 

So, although I feel God working within me when it comes to prayer, I know that there is still room to grow. Yes, I still have to tell myself that when I surrender my prayers and requests to God, that His response will always be out of love, BUT it still takes a lot of faith to believe that God can do the things asked of Him. Like, do I REALLY believe that God can heal? Do I REALLY believe that His plan is greater than mine? Do I REALLY believe He can change someone's heart after almost 60 years? Do I REALLY believe all will work out for the greater good if I can't see the impact every step of the way?

I'd like to say yes, but I know truly the answer is no... yet I so deeply want to believe it. I really do want to believe not in only in the power of prayer, but that we serve a God that CAN do more than we've ever imagined. I want my prayers to be full of faith, not skepticism. So, I'm digging in deep this next year -- I want God to give me a heart that is faithful, even when I see a prayer immediately answered, or when I see no traces of an answer during my life on earth. 

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” -1 John 5:14

I think a big part of faithful prayer is praying over each other's lives as well. I want to be better about committing to prayer when I tell a friend "I'll pray for you" instead of letting my promise fall short. Believing that God will work not only in my life through prayer but others as well. 

So with that, here's my request. I'd love to pray for you if you'd like me to. I want to commit to you, not as someone who just nods and discards, but as someone who is trusting that God can work in crazy ways. If he's called us to lift one another up in prayer, then why the heck are we not?! With faith comes trust, both things I'm wanting to work on, and no better way to do that than inviting community into the process. SO. Got a prayer request? Fill in the form below. I'd love to pray for you. I'm excited to see how God works through me & through you this next year.

But also will you pray for me? Cause I think I just requested a talllll order {on my side, not God's - duh} and I could use all the prayer I can get. Phrased up & prayed up. Here we go. I have no doubt 2018's gonna be a good one!

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