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  • Honing the Habit

    Unhurry Hack: When we ask the Lord to help us set healthy goals and daily seek His help, we begin to experience true change. What is it about a brand new year that brings the desire for new habits to mind? I hear five little words starting many of my sentences every January: "this year I'm going to ____." Can you relate? The goals of new years past remind me that I've wanted to exercise more, drink more water, read my Bible more, pray more...the list goes on. What about you? What goals have you made in the past? Do they still linger or have you learned to hone the habit? Let's talk more about this word "hone" I've always had a love/hate relationship with goals. As a type A personality, I love to make goals, but because I'm also human and imperfect, they often serve as reminders of incomplete tasks or failures when they start to peter out. A hone is a tool. It is a fine-gritted stone used to sharpen a razor or other tools with a precision edge. Use this word as a verb and it means to refine or master something, and make it more effective. Additionally, when we "hone in on" something we focus our attention and move towards our objective. So, how can this dictionary dive help you and me? Just maybe it is the reminder we need this year to meet our goals. This year let's hone our habits. Goals are great, but let's not limit them to the month January. As we look at our lives and consider our heart, mind, soul, what needs sharpening so that we are living healthy, abundant lives in Christ? The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. --John 10:10 Abiding in Christ allows us to live attached to Him and His will for our lives. God is at work refining us and making us more like Jesus! When we ask the Lord to help us set healthy goals and daily seek His help, we begin to experience true change. Take a look at how God helps us hone our habits: It's Christ in me - Galatians 2:20 -  "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." It's renewal - Colossians 3:10 - My new self is "being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator." It's transformation - Romans 12:1-2 - I don't have to be conformed to this world and all its worldly trends or habits, instead I can present my body "as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is (my) spiritual worship" and I can "be transformed by the renewal of (my) mind, that by testing (I) may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. *paraphrasing mine. It's being intentional - Luke 11:28 - My Bible is a gift and treasure and honing tool. I need to know what God says and store it in my heart -- and this only happens when I USE my Bible. But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” It's leaning in - Proverbs 27:17 - I can keep showing up. God has given me community and friendships to spur me on if I'm willing to listen and learn. "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." It's living by my true standard -Ephesians 5:1-2 - I don't have to model any earthly person or social media post. I can rest in the Word of God as my perfect guide and standard. As the Bible says, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. It's not giving up - Ephesians 2:10 - If God doesn't give up on me then I shouldn't either! "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." It's letting God work - Philippians 1:6 - I am a work in progress, NOT a failure. God keeps His promise to finish His good work in us! "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." It's relying on HIS power - Galatians 5:22-23 - It's not about me-power! The Spirit of God living in me yields good fruit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. It's daily life - Proverbs 17:3 - God uses the good, the bad, and even the hard to mold and shape me and deepen my relationship and daily faith. "Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart." JOIN ME IN PRAYER: Father God, teach me to seek you first in all I do. May the goals I set reflect seeking you first and a heart surrendered to Jesus. Lead, direct, and strengthen me this day. Fill me with self-control and motivation to do the things you call me to do. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

  • 10 Ways to Un-hurry the Holidays This Year

    Unhurry Hack: Joyful activities can quickly go overboard when distraction & hurry are at the center of celebrating. Does this season find you groaning or grinning? Holidays are meant to be celebrated, but sometimes the bustle of preparation and festivity can leave us wishing to take a pass instead. What if there was a way to enjoy the merriment without the hurt of hurry? Whether we are celebrating thanksgiving, Christ's birth, or ushering in a new year, there is much to remember and reflect upon during these cooler months. There are many special days worth enjoying! The basic definition of celebrate means "to engage in a joyful activity in appreciation of an event" (Word Hippo). However, if you are like me, engaging and appreciating can quickly go overboard. What if there was a way to enjoy the merriment without the hurt of hurry? To guard my heart this season, I have come up with a list of 10 ways to unhurry the holidays this year and I invite you to join me in with me: 1. LOOK UP & LOOK OUT - When you feel tension to beat the clock, try physically lifting your head. Close the phone, take a deep breath, and notice what is around you. Just this week while scrubbing dishes, I tried this, and my eyes landed on a soft ray of sunshine piercing through my kitchen window. It boosted my spirit and revived me to finish the task at hand. What a wonderful gift God allowed me to enjoy through His creation, and I would have missed it had I stayed intent on rushing to clean up the kitchen. 2. ENJOY THE PROCESS - Here is where chores can become gifts. Repetitive actions found in activities like cooking or crafting, even exercising can be cathartic. So this season when you find yourself chopping, stirring, wrapping, or even addressing a stack of envelopes, try to avoid multitasking and rest in the rhythm of repetition instead. 3. TAKE IN ALL 5 SENSES - In my book Permission to Walk, A 40-Day Journey to Unhurried Peace, I challenge readers to take a "60 second challenge" : Go outside if you can, or at least to a window. Then, for 60 seconds just be still and look at God's creation in nature. What do you see, hear, taste, feel, or even smell? Take note of things like the intricate veins of a leaf or the variety of notes in a bird's song. A minute feels long in our hurried culture today, but slowing down helps us shift our priorities to keep Jesus first. 4. LET GOD'S WORD BE THE FIRST WORD - It is tempting for me to grab my phone first thing in the morning and let the world wake me up, but I find it challenging to fully circle back to God's Word once the daily rush begins. Can you relate? However, when scripture is the first message we allow into our hearts and minds, we get to experience His joy and peace first thing and God's Truth becomes a filter for all other daily input. In the holiday rush, keep a bookmark in your Bible, post-it note with verse written, or keep a devotional book handy for the first few moments of the morning. This leads us to #5 ... 5. SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS - What do you need to have ready in order to make spending time with God possible during the holidays? Are you traveling? Try keeping scripture cards in your suitcase or make-up bag. Showering or getting ready in the morning may be the only quiet moments you have in a houseful of guests. Jesus stepped away from the crowd to be alone with His Father--we can too! 6. PAUSE TO THANK GOD - We are quick to say thank you as we unwrap and admire our gifts. God is such a Good Father and Good Provider. His grace, mercy, and lavish love are often why we celebrate, but can easily get pushed to the background in a festive flurry. Who/What are you thankful for in your life? What would you say to thank God for who He is and what He has done? Will you join me in an extra challenge to Praise God and thank Him for the hard things in our lives and the many ways He draws us close and reveals His character and promises? God is good! 7. BLESS SOMEONE - Have you noticed that serving others lifts our spirits as well as slowing us down? Try something unexpected like taking a neighbor a loaf of yummy bread, or sending an encouraging note to a friend you haven't seen in a while. Shop for an angel tree or send an extra monetary gift to a missionary. Grab a few friends and sponsor a family in need--some of my favorite memories are volunteering with family and friends. With winter weather approaching, look for opportunities to check on shut-ins and others who may not drive in severe weather. Adding one of their needed items from the store is a great way to pause the rush as well as delivering a smile. Above all, serving allows us to be the hands and feet of Jesus. 8. SAVOR - Whether it is food, music, people, or landscape, pause to intentionally enjoy it. Be present and soak it all in--your gift of presence may be the very thing a friend or family member needs this year. 9. KNOW WHEN TO SAY WHEN - okay, okay the obvious here is our waistline, but in terms of holiday bustle we have permission to say "enough." Sometimes we need to turn down the invitation, buy the store bought version, ask for help. I love the Pinterest version of Thanksgiving and all things Christmas, but I have learned the hard way that our family version is way better--wouldn't you agree? Spills, goofs, and simplicity have a way of making fun-filled memories. 10. BE INTENTIONAL - Reflect on the "why" behind traditions and preparations. Are they necessary or needed? Do they distract from the meaning of day and/or the people we celebrate it with? Or do they glorify God and keep hearts present, joyful, and focused? Make time to pray over distraction and focus this season. Moments of worship scattered throughout our day can help us keep Jesus at the heart of our holiday worship this year. For further reading, check out: INTENTIONAL ADVENT: Enjoying the Better Portion of Christmas and download the free printable advent cards to help you pause & pray this season:

  • Prayer Calendar

    Let this free resource help grow your prayer life. As I read and study the Bible, I find that noting traits and names of God teaches me to lean on His character and promises throughout the month. What a difference it makes to see God at work in our daily lives! Print out a copy and try it out today!

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  • 40 DAY WALK | Unhurry My Heart

    Let's Walk Together! Click the corresponding video below for each week of your 40-day Journey to Unhurried Peace and enjoy a special author message & encouragement! This book is divided into 7 laps - think of a running laps around a track, yet instead of finishing tired and worn out, we will finish refreshed, refocused, and ready to walk in the pace of unhurried peace that Jesus taught. In a world that says run, we have permission to walk. Lap 1 - Introduction Lap 4 (Day 15-21) Lap 2 (Day 1-7) Lap 5 (Day 22-28) Lap 3 (Day 8-14) Lap 6 (Day 29-35) Lap 7 (36-40)

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