Reflections on Transition Part 6

19 Jan

Quick Review:   2017 transition into new intentional growth plan – Well underway.

Life word:  BELIEVE          Life verses:  Jeremiah 29: 11-14
LIFE PRAYER:   Deepen my relationship with Jesus Christ in order to effectively share the greatness and love of our God toward each person.  Keep my heart committed to relationships.                 Stay focused with this:  “Whatever is  true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things.”  Philippians 4:8

Word of the Year:  WARRIOR.      Attributes of God:  Almighty, Victorious, and Just
Memorize Scripture 1 and build into life:  2 Peter 1:5-8, 10   “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue and to virtue,  knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with community affection and affection with love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ……Therefore, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities, you will never fail.

As the journey continues, I strive to live out my goals – my intentions for growth. It is imperative that God be given continual freedom to reign – to take control of my mind, heart, strength, and life, including all circumstances. Without this, it is impossible to maintain an attitude of humble obedience.  And without that submission, no true growth is possible.  Without giving God control, I am not living for Him in love.  Not in my goals, not in my life.  Not in my heart.  Not in any area that matters.

No matter the focus of the year – obedience is key to growing our relationship with God and our relationships with those who reside in our spheres of influence.

With those few pieces of information, it is a go.  Important decisions come and go.  Days pass.  Weeks turn into months.  Prayer continues throughout the entire year.  Each month, I ask for a specific area to work on.  (Reference: 6 key areas in Part 5, click here:  Reflections on Transition Part 5)  Each quarter, pause, take a quick review.  Staying the course? Need to re-align? Has the year gone entirely different than anticipated?  Have major events outside my control occurred?

The steps related to intentional growth and stretching areas and comfort zones are documented.  They become the structure upon which the year (2017) will hang.  Yes, the details and steps to each goal flexes and smaller bits change as the year unfolds.   Learning to live within limitations is a struggle, I will be the first to admit.  But that does not relieve me of the responsibility to grow.  Limitations are something everyone faces.  Challenges are nothing new.

Growth is a choice.  The Word, the Verses, The focus remain as guides for the plan on the white board. God holds the markers and eraser so-to-speak.  The plan dictates what direction I am choosing to steer my life and what areas to work on this year.

The events of 2017 as they will unfold somehow all fit together. Held in God’s hand to provide for my safety and growth.  This is a proven truth for me, year after year.

Growth steps – in no particular order (yet)

  • Follow GODs timing – using HIS strength to accomplish HIS desires – not mine.  He is God, I am not.  Remember that always.
  • Expand asking my husband what I can do to make his life easier – then do it.
  • Expand my R.E.A.D. Bible time.
  • Expand prayer time.  Be deliberate and strategic.
  • Add new Bible reading plans as short duration plans are completed.
  • Expand my personal meditation practices to include multiple times weekly until I achieve 2 hours.
  • Expand my personal mindfulness practices until I can hold thoughts, inner peace and calmness for 30 minutes.
  • Continue to practice awareness and observation.  Document key areas.
  • Continue to process the grief and loss experienced in life in 2016 and 2017.
  • Expand prayer lists to include 3 people who will be called into my life for mutual growth.
  • Stay flexible.  Do not over- or under-schedule.  Maintain regular hours.
  • Practice self-control. Maintain regular disciplines.
  • Increase wellness practices in dietary choioces, healing choices,  mental acuity, and physical exercise.
  • Begin by end of Jan to express my faith artistically and journal more intensively what I am learning in 2017.
  • Determine by mid-Feb what Lenten plans will be.  Prayer guide, special study, special discipline to abstain from a joyous practice for a short period of time?  How best to prepare my heart for Easter? Ash Wednesday is March 1.
  • Participate in a summer class? As health allows.
  • Step out – in faith – leave my comfort zone – into a new ministry or outreach.  Stretch goal to stretch faith.
  • Trust God to do it.  “Lean not on my own understanding“.

Last step: The above will be organized into the SMART areas.  Remember my 2017 S.M.A.R.T. means Spiritual, Mindful, Action to Obey, Relationship-oriented, Tangible growth. (click: Reflections on Transitions Part two) This will be done off-line.

I hope you can see the benefit of this method of transitioning from year to year.  One can maintain course in the bumps of early January, while clarifying, adding, and subtracting what is needed to move from last year’s plan to this year’s plan for growth.

What was achieved is now to be maintained.  What was specific for that chapter, can be stopped.  What is necessary can be added, without an all or nothing approach.   Be kind to yourself.  Be gentle with others.  Healthy change is baby steps every day; not a jump off of Niagara Falls.  Expect the plan to shift as the year unfolds. Expect the framework to remain unchanged.

I’m hoping that this series was useful.  If you have never before considered intentional growth as a part of a life-plan for success, I’m hoping you will consider it now.  And most of all:  I pray that you will consider a TOP DOWN approach.

Martha L Shaw - Poet, Writer, Artist

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