When homes and bodies are given makeover plans, you can bet your biscuits it’s January again. Eyes sparkle with high hopes as we ready ourselves for something new, something fresh. The brisk chill outside fuels warm connections inside over a spicy chai, and we share our lists of what we’d love to improve in and around us. Making space for whatever it is God has next for us is a beautiful thing. So cast off the past year’s grave clothes and put on your dancing shoes: greater things are still to come.
Some January gifts to point you toward
New Year Tradition Help: Jen Wilkin’s Which Promises Are for Me?
I recently heard of choosing a theme verse for the year (instead of a word or a resolution), a kind of promise to grab hold of and invite along with you into the 365 days ahead. I love this idea, but it can get tricky—how do we know which passages “count”? You can’t take every verse in Scripture as a personalized vow from God; that would make some texts pretty dang awkward. The Bible does contain some promises, but it is also stuffed with stories and poems and songs and dreams. Jen Wilkin does a fantastic job of offering wisdom about how to discern which truths are safe to tuck into your back pocket for the new year.
Healthy Encouragement: An Anthem of Imperfection by Alia Joy
If your goal is to hit the gym, please read this first. Do it for your heart. You’ll giggle, you’ll sigh, you’ll feel like you’re not in this alone. Actually, no matter what form your resolution takes, this post is a gift. There will always be women who seem to do “it,” whatever “it” is, flawlessly and effortlessly (and look cute in the process). If we want to move closer to Jesus and one another in the middle of feeling simultaneously too much and entirely not enough, this gospel grounding is a great place to begin. God longs to start with your inside and work His way out.
Grace for Shame: Shannan Martin’s What Makes Us New
There might come a day—statistically by mid-February—in which your New Year’s goals end up wilty and sad, one more guilty reminder of how desperately you need Jesus. The cravings were too much, their schedule couldn’t handle it, your emotions came undone, whatever. This moment we would love to gloss over is the moment Jesus shows up in so much more glory and power than when we have our act together. Big fat sinners get a big fat Savior. When resolutions fail, grace has its day. Shannan celebrates how the cross is the best news when we find ourselves in the pit.
Lie Smashing: How to Pour Coffee Like a Believer by Emily Freeman
A java-loving blogger was caught off-guard when running low on creamer sparked some faulty theology: “If ___________, then you will be _________.” We all have our if-then lies that swirl around our souls, clouding up the truth of what Jesus has already made us. I’d recommend reading this post and then sitting with the Spirit for a while, asking Him to reveal what you depend on to be enough. Scarcity is a foreign concept in the kingdom; let’s live according to the riches of what we’ve been given in Christ.
Shape Up Your Soul: The Prather Bootcamp
After a year and a half of significant weight loss, I was finally given the go-ahead to serve as a kind of personal trainer to my husband for the next 3 months. (Poor, trusting little soul.) We’re talking 1500 calories and 64 ounces of water a day, no carbs, working out 5 times a week, no eating after 7, plus counseling, accountability, and regular bedtimes. Pretty intense, yeah? Riley lost 5 1/2 pounds last week. The big difference in our approach is the spiritual aspect: I created a notebook for him with daily journaling questions and a weekly sabbath plan. If you’d like to not leave your heart behind in your adventure of getting healthy, email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you the document—use it, tweak it, gift it, your choice.