Glam New Year Feed

Cheers to Our Dreams

Happy New Year's Eve!

As we spend today reflecting on 2014 and planning for 2015, I thought I'd share one of my favorite inspirational videos. I hope it kick-starts your vision for the future. 

On the last page of my 2014 devotional Billy Graham asked, "How do you think God looks at this past year of your life? Did it bring you closer to Him? What lessons will you take with you from this year into the next? What did God teach you?"

My answer to comes from this song, which became my 2014 anthem:

Know yourself and know your worth.
Don't let anyone take your life for granted.
When life leaves you feeling empty-handed, 
just keep lighting it up. My victory is yours.

I hope you take some time with week to reflect on what God taught you in 2014, and where He's taking you in 2015. Tomorrow we'll ring in the new year together with a video on 2015 planning, but today, it's all about reflecting on 2014.

Cheers to dreaming today, 
Lisamarie 


Reflections on 2013: Clarity & Commitment

Champagne Toast Candle and Erin Condren Planner

Happy New Year's Eve!

Before we champagne toast at midnight tonight and open the book of 2014, let's take some time to reflect on 2013. 

Do you ever think, what is my life? This is not what I signed up for. I wanted success, not sitting behind a desk waiting for the clock to strike five. I wanted romance and adventure, not uncertainty and change. I wanted to look great, not near religious trips to the gym. But more than anything, I want it to all make sense.

We’re taught there is no success without work, no romance without risk, no beach bodies without sacrifice, but no one told me there is no clarity in life without commitment. Until I read this, no one told me to stop waiting for it all to make sense. Like all the great lessons that don’t come with a college degree and a monthly student loan payment, I learned this one the hard way in 2013.

I spent 2013 torn between Denver and LA. On January 1st, 2013 I read this verse as directed by my devotional Jesus Calling

I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home.
I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out –
plans to take care of you, not abandon you,
plans to give you the future you hope for.
 I’ll turn things around for you and bring you home
to the place from which I sent you off into exile.
You can count on it.
{Jeremiah 29:10-14, The Message}

It spoke so clearly into this feeling of living as an expatriate in Denver, exiled from my home in California. I run on glitter in a town that offers me granola. Everyday I miss the California hustle, the work ethic, and the glamour, yet I love how the people of Denver know what's important in life. In 2013, I complained about the weather in Denver and how it snowed until May, though I know “this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” {Psalm 118:24}. I complained about my city, but I’ll plainly tell you this is where God called me. Then I wondered what happened to my hope, I craved the next best thing, the answer to my issue.

This is a symptom of the human condition, we're made to long for something more. Sometimes this longing  leads us to conclude that we married the wrong person, and therefore, we fell out of love. When in reality we stopped committing to love when the feeling of love receded. I thought I must be in the “wrong city” when the novelty and adventure, and that burning desire to make it (ironically enough, because I made it) wore off Denver. In reality, I got lazy and stopped exploring. I stopped getting out to see the city and its people, waiting to have it all figured out. As humans, we’re made to long for something more. Christians are not immune to this longing, though we’d tell you Jesus is the something more.

I thought it was home that I craved. The City of Angels looked like hope. I longed for the return of that spark, that feeling that just around the bend, life will get good again, fresh and exciting. It was a four year itch in my marriage to Denver, an endless compare and contrast, and an attempt to discern where I belong, desperately seeking resolution when life itself is living in tension. Life does not resolve.

I believed the myth that clarity preceded commitment. This myth propagates our culture, especially Christian culture. The myth tells us we need to undergo a defining, kairos moment before taking a step, before packing the boxes and moving, before we can be devastatingly honest with ourselves, before we can bleed authenticity and live freely.

I bought into this thought pattern and subconsciously, yet very intentionally put life on hold. I was waiting for it all to make sense when all the while clarity does not precede commitment. In fact, it's the opposite, commitment proceeds clarity.

We want to know all the details before we commit to a city, a church, a career, or a partner. I want to think, learn, and deliberately choose an outcome independently, and for myself. Yet, I know living in Denver for five years and living in Southern California for five years only made the decision between the two grow in complexity. Knowledge breeds complexity, but clarity does not sire commitment.

After seven months of waiting, clarity never came, so I chose to re-commit to Denver. Not because of any certainty, or because LA stopped pulling on my heart, but because I read this quote by Eugene Peterson...

The only opportunity you will ever have to live by faith is in the circumstances you are provided this very day: this house you live in, this family you find yourself in, this job you have been given, the weather conditions that prevail at the …moment.

…and realized it was time to take life off hold and turn the page of the story.

We are the characters and God is the author writing our stories into His much bigger story. God sets the scene and narrates the plot, introducing characters, allowing conflict, climax and conclusion. I’m an aspiring writer, and I want to write the next page of my story, not read it. But the story is not mine to write, it’s only mine read. I rebelled and chose not to turn the page, but it didn’t change the next page.

I'm 27 surviving my return to Southern California, learning to live in life's tension, and with the longing for home that lives in all of us. I'm walking into 2014, with the understanding that clarity does not proceed commitment, and that there's great beauty and mystery in not knowing what will happen next.

If we’re praying and leaning into what God is trying to do in us and in our lives, we’ll eventually end up where we’re supposed to be - in the right town, in the right community, in the right arms. In our culture, clarity is overrated and commitment is underated. When in fact, it is our commitment that leads to our clarity. Life is a long, slow grind that sparkles and burns, ignites and flickers. We can't hit the pause button while we figure it all out. Life is learning to let go, learning to live fully, and love freely. 

Anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life.
But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.
{John 12:25, The Message}