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Oh, My Word!

canstockphoto4407279The thought that a meaningful arrangement of letters could serve as a guidepost throughout the course of one year seemed highly unlikely to me…

until I actually tried it.

This concept was introduced to me by Julie Voorhees, who described it as a One Word Challenge.

Julie states: The one word challenge is very different from making resolutions to achieve or setting goals to be met. A focus word is simply an invitation for God to work out His unique plan for you. This one word serves as a reference point for the next 12 months. Without obsessing about the word or His plan, you simply allow the word to creatively surface. And pretty soon, you naturally begin to notice how God is intimately working in and through your life.

So in 2013, rather than list my resolutions (which curiously seemed to repeat themselves year after year), I took the plunge.

After careful consideration and prayer, receive was chosen – and God certainly threaded this word into my life in many ways throughout the course of the year.

One of my journal entries early on: Lord, allow me to be a vessel through which others receive You.

This prayer, repeated often during the past months, has actually become my personal mission statement.

God has shown me that I need to receive others more fully – talking less, listening more. (Still working on that one.)

Though I would much rather be giving, He has presented opportunities for me to humbly and gratefully receive the help and kindnesses offered by others.

And sadly, I  had to receive the hard truth that something I wrote was deeply hurtful to someone who was grieving.

In whatever I read, receive caught my eye like a  flashing light, giving me pause.

Each time this word came to mind or appeared in print,  God reached in more deeply, and His guiding light grew brighter.

Having this focus word – and yes, one that challenges – has proven to be a purposeful way to journey through the year.

I love reflecting on the myriad of ways that God has used receive – to teach, to encourage, to help me grow.

For 2014?

My word surfaced in an instant.  I am both excited and intrigued about what God will reveal through wholehearted.

And in case I didn’t make myself clear…I wholeheartedly recommend choosing a focus word for the year.

If you choose to do so, please share your word with beWARM!

To read more about choosing a word for the year click here.

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Scientists recently announced that as our life expectancies have increased, 72 is the new 30! Heartened by this exciting news, I promptly declared my adolescence and revamped my outlook on adulthood.

The promise of the years ahead has buoyed my spirits.

In all seriousness, of late I have been thankful for the wisdom of my years…and for the freedom and confidence that comes with being comfortable in my own skin (wrinkles and all).

Back in my teen years, my world was ruled by raging hormones, coupled with unbridled narcissism. Oh, that I would be popular! And would that boy I had a secret crush on ever like me?

Adolescence had me in such a spin. Thoughts of inner growth and development were a foreign concept. Focus on all things exterior were of utmost importance.

But now….oh joy…we get another chance at growing up!

The beauty of this is that we now are better equipped for the experience. Our backpacks for the journey now hold containers of life experience (along with various bags and sags which I refuse to discuss).

Way back when, puberty just happened. At this stage of the game, we can actually welcome – even cherish – new ways of growing and seeing.

All it takes is that “bring it on” attitude, and a willing and open heart…one joyfully expectant that there is more to life than we ever imagined. (And… these days just waking up every morning is enough to fuel gratefulness with a capital G.)

Now that we have such a new lease on life, where or to whom will you devote your time and energy? What thoughts will you allow to occupy your mind?

I hope that spiritual development will be high on your priority list. For as our years advance, our best and most secure investment is in the Lord. Let’s jump into to this “bonus phase” with gusto…and enjoy a deeper life for the long haul.

We will always win the popularity contest with Him.

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (The Message)

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Mass Messaging

Has anyone else grown weary of the incessant email marketing barrage? You know, the 50-80% off with free overnight shipping from buytheseproductssoyouwillbestylishbeautifulandhaveahappylife.com

For the past few days, I have been unsubscribing.

It all started when my tech-savvy daughters were aghast at the 12,000 odd messages sitting in my email inbox. Clearing out those excess bits of information had not been high on my priority list for some time.

Make no mistake – I do enjoy shopping on my favorite websites. And I love the rush of purchasing something at an additional 40% off the already reduced price. (Thanks, Mom, for teaching me to be a bargain shopper.)

But really…do we need to be inundated with electronic temptations from multiple sources every single day? I have had more than enough of these Continuous Temporal Distractions cluttering my inbox – and my mind.

Is there such a syndrome as CTD?

And so, I delete – again and again. I doubt I will ever win this one, but it sure feels good trying. (And my inbox has been significantly lightened.)

So here’s a thought…what if we received frequent online messages from God? He certainly doesn’t need to market Himself – and He is not troubled in the least if His ratings have dropped in the latest polls. But He does reach out to us on a regular basis.

What if He tried GMail…the celestial version of Constant Contact?

The cool thing is, God could personalize His communiques. They might read something like:

Whoa! There goes that fear creeping in again. Trust me on this one.

Did you notice how beautiful the sky is today? All for your viewing pleasure.

No offense – but your patience threshold has been a bit thin lately.

Thanks for spending a moment with me in quiet prayer. I am always glad to be with you.

The fact is, God’s communications are perpetual.  No need to click a link on your latest device to read or hear them.

All you need to do is make Him your Number One Contact…. and open your heart.

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