When You're Starting a New Season

All of us crave new seasons in life. Whether out of boredom, unrest or struggles, the idea of starting fresh appeases the restlessness inside of our hearts. But one of the questions is, what do we do in a new season once we have it?

These past five months have been COMPLETELY new for me: getting married to my best friend, working full-time with my new husband two offices away, learning to cook, clean, host, and manage our money for two. I understood all of this would happen once I got married, but I guess I had this idea that when we said “I Do” that magic fairy dust would fall on us from above and suddenly, I would be fully able to carry out the duties of a wife… without struggling.

I quickly started to see that I was wrong.

New seasons are exciting but they also can feel daunting and we’re often left wondering if we really have what it takes after all. Everything seems so new and foreign and suddenly, the life you once lived is not the life you live anymore. I begin to wonder if I really took full advantage of my previous season and sometimes wish I could translate back in time to better prepare myself for this season and then translate back. But I have to believe that if God brought me to this place, no matter how scary it may seem, I can handle it and not just handle it, but thrive in it.

It’s in moments like these, when we are faced with something so beyond ourselves, that we must run to a God that is so much bigger than us. Take heart in knowing that He did not bring you to where you are so you could fail, but so that you would turn to Him and draw from his strength and power.

In Ephesians 1, Paul shares, what has been for me, the very strength I draw from in this new and unfamiliar season: 

I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength! All this energy issues from Christ…

Ephesians 1:18-20 MSG

Endless energy, boundless strength… yeah, I could use a little more of that please!

And notice that it says, “All this energy issues from Christ…” When I lean into Christ and his finished work, I not only have access to His strength, but boundless strength, not only His energy, but endless energy. He truly is a God of more than enough!

Whatever new season you find yourself in, embrace it not as an opportunity for you to fail, but an opportunity for God to show Himself mighty in your life. It’s really just another chance for Him to reveal to you how good He is and another chance for you, as his beloved daughter, to run into His arms and remember whose you are. So lift that head up, pop those shoulders back and strut through this season knowing that you are exactly where you need to be. It won’t be long till your next season will come and you’ll wonder what you were so afraid of.

Write this season well :)

xxo,

Jess 

How To Be Intentional in the New Year

It happens to all of us. We start off the year with the best of intentions and enough goals that, if completed, will somehow transform us into that super-woman we aspire to be, and then as the weeks roll on, one goal after another is dropped as we get busy with the life we currently live. 

Recently, Jeff and I have really gotten into lists. They say that successful people don't just plan out their day, but their week, and some even their month! While a month might be a bit extreme for us right now, we've been planning out our weeks and it really does make a HUGE difference in our productivity, not to mention stress levels. 

Take a look at each day of the upcoming week. Figure out what all needs to get accomplished that week and break it up into categories. For Jeff and I, we have our tasks for work, our finances, our side business, our own creative projects (like this blog), and personal time. Layout the tasks into each day, where you will be accomplishing something each day in each category. Sometimes, we can get overly pumped about work or a hobby that we devote all our attention to that one category and end up lacking in the rest. We usually end up feeling like we over did it and yet didn't get enough done. 

Now, we do go through seasons, and not every season will look the same. Make sure to take that into consideration. Maybe it's a super busy time and your free time is limited for a while. Maybe work is slow and you can devote more time to side projects. Wherever you are, recognize your season and embrace it. This will help you get the most out of each one. 

As far as personal time goes, this category cannot be skipped! This is where you plan your work outs, your date nights, the books you will read, or the trips you will take. I believe that if you will schedule at least one thing each day that you either enjoy or will better you in some way, then you will ultimately feel more accomplished and happy as a whole. We were created to grow and reach for higher things. We will never be satisfied with out it. 

Finally, go through your day and focus on the task at hand. If you're at work, be at work. If your spending time with your husband, don't talk about work or finances (unless your having a mutual conversation about them). If something comes up in your mind, add it to the list and let it go until it's time to address it. Being able to focus will allow you to go through your day checking more things off your list and in turn, will make you feel more accomplished, less stressed, and more able to take on the challenges ahead. 

Enlarging Your Capacity

Lucy woke out of the deepest sleep you can imagine, with the feeling that the voice she liked best in the world had been calling her name. 

-C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian

 

We all have those dreams etched deep within our hearts. They come out at night and speak to us about what could be, what might be. We all long for our dreams to become our reality but too often, we stop and look at our current lives- the messy house, the backed-up laundry, the office cubicle- and we push aside the longings that bring our souls to ache. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick..." (Ps. 13:12) and we can only take so much deferring until we decide that the ache isn't worth it anymore. This isn't growing up... this is a tragedy. 

The only way we will ever grow our capacity is to take the next step, and then the next. Faith in God is the only thing that will grow us into maturity and "faith without works is dead" (James 2:17). Your belief and trust in God has to become greater than the fear that is holding you back. Only then will you find him already there waiting for you, and ready to fill you with more of himself. 

"Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger."

"That is because you are older, little one." answered he. 

"Not because you are?" 

"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger." 

-C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian

 

The capacity you will need to fulfill the dreams in your heart is not the same capacity you start out with. But with each step of faith, each time you step out onto the ice (which is much scarier than it looks!) the capacity within you enlarges until one day, your doing things that you never even imagined before. He meets us right where we're at but he doesn't intend on leaving us there. He is whispering to our hearts through the dreams he placed there long ago. He is calling us out onto the ice where the results are uncertain, the risk is high, and the chase is wild. 

"After all," said Mr. Tumnus, "he's not a very tame lion..." 

C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe