Change starts with all of us. When we change ourselves, we change our lives and essentially, change the world. What we do, who we are and the intention behind our actions ripples across our families, communities and planet. If you are sick and tired of the world as it is, it’s time to look within and fine-tune the marvelous creature God created you to be.
This is one very connected world, now more than ever before in our human history. We are all called to show up and get to work, not just for ourselves and our family line, but for each other. We are NOT products of our circumstances; we get to choose the outcome. God created us to be POWERFUL. So let’s show 2021 what’s up and start making change TODAY.
Think it’s impossible? Wrong. Here are 12 everyday people, just like you, sharing their stories of how they made small shifts in 2020 that created big results.
1 – Create DIRECTION.
My struggle against busyness is the very center of my pursuit to spend more time and create more space for God in my life. About two years ago I started actively working against busyness in my life. Saying no to activities, events, people, and sometimes even extra business to try and keep myself in a state of balance that opens up space for God. But this year it took a surprising turn. As COVID life descended on us in March and helped clear the schedule on its own, I continued to find myself much busier than I would like. After praying about this never-ending busyness that I was immersed in, God helped show me that it was self-inflicted.
My own perception of who I am or thought I should be in several circles of my life was creating expectations that kept me busy. How good of a financial advisor I was, how good I am at golf, how good of a family member I am, how good of a friend I am. Each one of those identities held separate expectations that required constant activity to maintain those perceptions.
What a crazy realization it was to find out that “I”am keeping myself from God because of my pride and self-worth in things outside of Him. As I meditate on this and continue to pray over this in my life, space for God becomes more of a natural state as my self-worth in other things erodes.
Pro tip: By creating space and time for God, we can more easily hear His voice and create clarity around our goals and direction. How can you create more space in your life for God’s guidance?
2 – Create MEANINGFUL RESULTS.
I tend to resist change for so long that God usually has to swoop in and make it happen for me. (I thrive on security.)
After having my first child at the end of 2019, I knew it was time to focus on my dream of writing as a profession. When you have a baby, your availability for anything else goes down by about 75%. My free time became infinitely more valuable, and I felt a strong pull to double-down on growing the acorn of a gift God gave me with writing.
Even though I was uncharacteristically decisive in that final meeting with my boss (who was very supportive), I realized my confidence came from small but carefully-laid bricks I had been putting down for years, paving the way to that particular moment with my boss where I could say goodbye to a steady paycheck and bet on God and myself.
Pro tip: God always wants the best for us and He knows which goals and choices will bring us joy, meaning and fulfillment. What change have you been resisting? It’s the surest path to creating joy in your life.
3 – Create ACCOMPLISHMENT.
Accomplishment this year was really a result of community building. By God’s grace, any accomplishment this year was truly based on the belief that it takes a village and that we are here for each other. At a time when we had to remain distant, I was fortunate to build more relationships virtually than it may have ever been possible in-person and because of that, was able to make strides with Mission: Motherhood to move programming forward for our community.
Pro tip: Often times, we come up with several goals to accomplish each year which diverts our focus; it can become very overwhelming which may cause us to quit. Choose 1 goal and do it well.
4- Create ACTION.
This year, I decided to take a big step in my business and launch it. However, I’m a full-time mom, homeschooling my two kiddos, with a husband working a full time job, in graduate school and working towards his commercial pilot certificate. Needless to say, time isn’t something I have an abundance of. Although I had limitations, I took consistent action towards my goal, whether it was attending a networking event, finding and purchasing a domain name, or working on my business, even if just for a half hour at a time. Consistency and action (no matter how big or small) allowed me to propel forward in my business.
Pro tip: Pick 2 actionable items this week and choose 2 more the week after that and so on. I love the quote by St. Francis of Assisi “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
5 – Create MOMENTUM.
What I’ve found this past year is that my greatest distractions revolved around being too focused on things in my environment that I had literally no control over. For me, there were many times when it felt to me like I was skidding off the road and heading straight for a concrete wall. Eventually I realized that if I continued to focus on the part of the road I was wanting my “car” to go, the wheels eventually caught and my car got out of the skid! The lesson for me is to focus on what I most want, not on fearful distractions
Pro tip: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. Message Alerts. Need I say more? The mediums that interrupt you are what break your focus and drive towards your goals. What can you remove from your life?
6 – Create RESILIENCY.
I’m an artist and mom of three. Life is beautiful and chaotic at the same time. To say that this year has been challenging is an understatement. In order to stay in a positive mindset on a daily basis, I started implementing a little mind trick.
If something disappointing happens, I think of the inverse of the situation and why it could be a positive. For example, if I lose out on a commission opportunity because what I quoted was out of their budget. Instead of painting that one item for them, I now have more time on my hands to start a new project. I can use that time to make a new collection of paintings, which adds more robust listings to my website. I make timelapse videos of everything I paint which makes for fun social media content. The more people see me creating, the more ideas they have for requesting a painting of their own. Boom! My custom request list fills back up!
Pro tip: Our flow in life is all about how we respond. Many things that happen to you are out of your control, but you get to decide how it impacts you. How can you respond to maintain a gentle flow towards success?
7 – Create JOY.
The secret of my joy is grounded in my relationship with Christ. Joy does not come from outward circumstances but inward strength. It’s confident assurance of God’s love and work in our lives… even in hardships.
Pro tip: Joy is just as (if not more) important as our goals. How can you create joy in your life? What will keep you light and airy, and thus in consistent contribution to yourself and others?
8 – Create SELF-LOVE.
2020 has been a challenging year for a lot of us in terms of our relationship with food. Being stuck at home a lot more than usual, gyms closing for months, and our normal routine being turned upside down triggered a lot of us to either binge on quarantine snacks (normal) or face our obsession with body image and food. For many of us, 2020 was marked by bingeing, restricting and then guilt and shame that we couldn’t maintain the restrictions.
After years of self-imposed and diet-culture imposed restrictions, I finally overcame my obsession with food perfection (orthorexia) and shrinking my body, which has been a many decade obsession, stemming from childhood insecurities. I can honestly say I will not give any more of my money to a diet program, detox, cleanse or sneaky “lifestyle” program that is actually a diet. Instead I am choosing to love and respect myself and my body as it is right now. For many of us, these programs we sign up for to transform our bodies actually take us away from self-love and disconnect us from our own intuition about what our body actually needs.
Pro tip: Often times, we forget to take care of ourselves during the busyness of our lives. If you find you experience burn out, how can you better take care of yourself on a consistent basis?
9 – Create FREEDOM.
This year has been an incredible transformation for me. I have encountered myself in all shapes and formats. The biggest challenge was that I felt I am not doing enough, I should be better and do more, which are very solid beliefs of mine generally, which took hold when I became a mom a few months ago.
I feel society pushes all of us constantly to be “doing” or “achieving” rather than just “being” present, aware, loving and happy.
My daily practice is to be present and kind, accepting that I am enough & doing what I can with my never ending to-do list (who hasn’t one of these!). This gives me an incredible sense of relief and I sincerely believe more of us should stop and observe all the good we do and have and try to be kinder to ourselves which makes us feel more whole and live purposefully.
Pro tip: Negative beliefs about ourselves or others creates deep inner turmoil and impedes our ability to live a joyful existence. Where do you find yourself upset with yourself or others? What is your belief or perspective in that area and how can you change it?
10 – Create LOVE.
Being there for those who need me means I have to have my daily affairs in order. If I am not organized, there is no way I will be able to give of myself the way I need to (especially with a level head).
For example, I wake up early in the morning. The house is quiet and I can be intentional about how to start my day. To me, success means showing up for people who love and need me with grace and poise, while checking off priority items. Organization, intentionality and time management are guiding musts.
With anything, having a plan is part of the key to success, but the ability to pull it through on a consistent basis, in order to build habits is another. Life showed up over and over in 2020, inevitably we got off track- but I am committed to being and doing my best and that means we re-route to get back on path to what we know will work, and the family is always the focus of that.
Pro tip: The people we care deeply for need us. How can you turn off the noise in your brain or temporarily set aside your work and interests so that you can give more of yourself to those around you?
11 – Create RELATIONSHIP.
Over the years I’ve been asked on multiple occasions how to walk through times of crisis, both personally and professionally while remaining intentional to respond in love. These three points provide a framework for creating meaningful relationships and will honor God and bless your family by leaving a legacy they can be proud of.
1 – Humility: It is important to always be mindful of ways I can be value-able. I must be able to humbly add value to others as well as able to humbly allow others to add value to me.
2 – Wisdom: How I show up can differ depending on who I will be with. Wisely regulating the degree of how I show up has nothing to do with being real; it does though have everything to do with demonstrating love in wisdom to be transparent, vulnerable and genuine.
3 – Identity: For me to present myself in a manner that honors God, regardless of who I am with or what environment I am in, I must be confident in knowing whose I am. Having chosen to trust in Jesus Christ, I am more able to provide consistency in my relationships.
Pro tip: How do you want others to experience you? As confident? Loving? Generous? Kind? Challenge yourself to be this way regardless of the way others treat you.
12 – Create RELIEF.
I have had the great privilege to be part of Associated Churches over the past few years and have seen first hand how this organization provides extraordinary relief to the community. Whether it’s assisting expecting / new moms, those in food crisis, veterans or teens, Associated Churches summed up in one word is ‘relief’. Even though not-for-profits have suffered this year too, Associated Churches always has an open door to those in need. What an amazing and generous gift to give to others.
Pro tip: God has given you so many extraordinary talents and gifts. We all need to check in from time to time and ask ourselves if we are trying to be like others to fit in or be liked. God needs you to be YOU for others. What special gifts and talents make you unique and special?