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Encouragement, Goals, Inspiration, New Year

Living New: Embracing 2017

There is just something about the start of a new year. . .  Maybe it is the feeling of positivity that is swirling around or the idea of getting a “do-over.”  Whatever it is, it is nice and fresh and new and exciting.  I am not one to make resolutions.  I just don’t feel the need to.  I guess because resolutions seem to be so temporary.  But I love setting goals and having aspirations for the new year.

Before moving forward, I think it is important to take a look back and reflect on the year past.  2016.  2016 will be a year that I never forget.  It saw the birth of our baby girl-the greatest blessing of my life so far.  There were so many incredible highs, and there were also quite a few lows.  2016 was a year of change and discovery and newness and amazing-ness and struggles and weakness. . .  There was so much bottled up in those 12 months.  Giving birth to my sweet baby, dealing with postpartum hormones, battling postpartum anxiety, struggling in my personal relationship with God, accepting that our family and closest friends were a thousand miles away from our new little family, adjusting to motherhood, becoming a SAHM, learning SO MUCH about my marriage, starting this blog. . . 2016 was a whirlwind!  I’m looking back at 2016 thankful for what I learned; I learned so much about myself.  And now, I’m going to carry those lessons learned with me into this new year.

When I sat down to think about what my goals were going to be for this year, I wanted to choose a word for the year.  A word I could carry with me throughout the year to motivate me and inspire me, and to remind me of my goals.  I thought this would be really hard to come up with, but the first word that stuck out to me and kept coming up was EMBRACE.

EMBRACE (verb):  To take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly;  To avail oneself of, to adopt, to welcome, to seize.

I think this word held special meaning for me; because, in 2016, I did a lot of running and a lot of ‘backing down’. . . I got comfortable living timidly and running from and fighting the hard stuff.  This year I want to embrace all that gets placed in front of me.  I want to embrace the journey.  Embrace the struggle.  Embrace the change.  Embrace the surprises.  Embrace the beauty.  Embrace the love.  Embrace THE NOW.

On January 1st, I opened my Bible app praying that God would lead me to a passage of hope and promise, and this was the verse of the day:

I felt God speaking to me so clearly, that what happened in 2016 is nothing compared to what He will do in 2017.  He is working on something new in me right now!  Friend, if you think you are waiting on God, think again.  He is waiting on YOU!  He has already begun a work in you.  Maybe 2016 just didn’t feel like “your year.”  Maybe it was full of heartache and struggles and trials.  Or maybe it was the best year of your life, and you don’t know how any other could top it.  Let me tell you, God loves making things new.  He creates beauty out of ashes.  He makes paths in the wilderness.  He makes rivers in dry wastelands.  He is waiting for you to live new!  Whatever goals and dreams you have for 2017, He wants to lead you to them.  He wants to give you the desires of your heart.  And friends, the path to our goals is not going to be easy.  That path through the wilderness. . .well, it might be dry and bumpy sometimes but its leading you to where you want to go.  So embrace the journey, not just the destination.  Embrace the struggle.  Embrace what you will learn along the way.

This year, I am committed to LIVING NEW and loving well and embracing ‘the now.’  I am holding onto the promises of God’s goodness in my life, I am praying over my goals and dreams, I am living in the freedom that God gives me to live and love, and I am trying to bless others along the way.

I’d love to hear from you!  How are you living new in 2017?  What are your goals and resolutions?  Do you have an inspiring word to live by this year?  Let us know in the comments!


Encouragement, Goals, Inspiration, New Year

Stop Chasing Your Dreams & Start Living Them

Have you ever had a dream?  Like, some deep-rooted desire that found its way into your heart, and then into your head, and you just couldn’t stop thinking about it?  A dream that you daydreamed about, created scenerios for, and talked about regularly?  We often hear people say “chase your dreams,” and while that sounds encouraging, the reality is-“chasing our dreams” makes us believe we are never going to get to them.  Chasing our dreams seems a bit unattainable.  Because the truth is, many of us associate dreams with being outside reality-kind of like the dreams we have in our subconscious during sleep.  Dreams are big.  Monumental even.  And what we really need is to stop chasing our dreams, and start living them!

When I started Growing the Nest, I had been dreaming about it for over a year, and guys, it took me over a year to act on that dream!  And here I am with a little blog that I love and another dream-I want this blog to be a business!  I want to devote my time and energy to this little space, writing and creating content, because I want this to be my job!  I want me sharing my heart with you to be my job.  I also have been dreaming about starting a YouTube channel for as long as I have dreamed about this blog, and I still haven’t acted on that dream. . .

Have you ever looked at others who have successfully started their own business or launched their brand or built an empire and thought, “Wow, I wonder how they got there?!” or “Look how successful they’ve become!”  I have.  And the one resounding theme of success starts with LIVING your dream.

I have started reading Chip and Joanna Gaines’ book The Magnolia Story.  Since they first came on HGTV-just like most people-I was so intrigued to learn about where they came from and how their success unfolded.  Their book is so encouraging!  They just started doing what they loved, working with what they had, and living their dream.  And that dream led them to success after success.

I’m writing this mostly for myself; because, I’m tired of just chasing after my dreams.  I’m going to start living my dream, right here and right now, where I am at, and I’m going to watch it unfold.  There is no outline for success.  There is no designated path you have to take.  We all are on a different path and on a different journey to living our dreams out.

I just want to encourage you, if you have been dreaming about something, playing out your dream in your head, talking about it, JUST GO FOR IT!  I don’t think you will ever be disappointed for following a calling that has been placed in your life.  I believe God impresses dreams on our heart and calls us to different vocations for a reason.  He knows us better than we know ourselves.  If your dream seems wild and crazy, oh well!  Own that!  If your dream seems outside of your comfort zone, that’s okay-live in that!

If you have a dream, be purposeful and intentional in setting yourself up for success.  Examine what you want to come of your dream; have a purpose and direction in where you want to go.  Create a vision board with goals and milestones that you can reach and check off along the way.  Visualize yourself meeting these goals and succeeding.

Living a dream is never easy, especially at the start.  When we start living our dreams, it takes a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice.  We are starting from nothing trying to create something, so it is hard!  Dedicate time to your dreams, because that is the only way they will become a reality.

I often get caught up in comparing myself to just about everyone else. And truth be told, when I do this, I start to shut down and close off.  I stop doing the things I want to do because I am afraid it won’t be good enough or no one will care or it won’t compare to others.  But I just sell myself short when I do this.  I can’t live my dreams for everyone else’s approval, I have to live them for me-because I love them.  Remember, don’t compare your dream to someone else’s.  We are unique individuals, all with differing perspectives and experiences to offer.  Don’t compare the dream you are living to the life someone else is living, because you will be disappointed.  Comparison truly is the thief of joy.  There is a path and journey for you and your dreams to follow, and it won’t be the same as that other person.  Accept who you are and where you have come from; live in the truth that God gives you that are priceless to Him, create what makes you happy, find your niche, and live your big dreams out!

Don’t wait until you’re “ready,” start now!  Stop chasing your dreams, and start living them.