This past week, a writers community hosted a writing challenge. I joined in for the second time because I love to write and I love a good challenge. They gave us an R word each day and we could write whatever we wanted about that word. And although my writings are shared on Instagram, I poured myself into these seven words, and there's no way I couldn't share them with you here too.
One thing I want to mention is that the more I write, the more words are given to me. You see, I learned years ago that these words I am hearing click on my key board are not mine. They are a gift from God. After all, I am on mission, and my mission is to share His story and good news. And the more I give my time to Him and the mission at hand, the more He downloads to me. And I don't think I'll ever be able to express my gratitude for that. There simply are no words to describe it.
Without further ado, here are the seven words given to me by the Hope Writers community and the words that were given to me by the ultimate Author follow. I pray that they bless you, encourage you, and lead you to seeking His face in the midst of this season in your life.
Comment below and share with me which word was your favorite. I'd love to know.
Don’t we all want a rewrite on 2020?⠀
Rewrite, redo, a total mulligan. I mean, this year was filled with so much potential, dreams, and forward motion. ⠀
“The Beginning of a New Decade” was on everyone’s posts and everyone’s minds back a million days ago in January. We were all ready to tackle this new decade of our lives with a fresh start and renewed resolutions. ⠀
2020 was going to be our year. ⠀
We all felt it, the excitement was overwhelming and contiguous. ⠀
Oh did God have others plans. Whether this pandemic was His doing or not, we all sit here wondering what happened these last 2 months.⠀
Even so, 2020 has NOT been paused even though it feels that way. The time is still ticking even though it you think the hands on the clock should stop entirely. Stop and cancel the time, like we feel our plans did. ⠀
But I’m here to encourage you NOT to rewrite 2020. There’s no need to since your story has already been written, by the Author of life. ⠀
Your time has not stopped. Your clock is still ticking no matter how long the days are and slow the time seems to pass. ⠀
Friend, rewriting means that you might be in feelings of regret. And that’s no place to be. ⠀
You are exactly where you need to be. ⠀
Right here and right now. ⠀
So don’t feel like you need a new start (#preachingtomyself), don’t feel the need to redo anything. Embrace the memories, embrace the chaos, embrace the words already marked in stone and live looking forward to what’s to come. ⠀
Don’t rewrite, just read and move forward. One step, one day, at a time.
REACH// ⠀ The word reach nowadays is thrown around so loosely. We want to impact as many people as possible, reach the masses, and make a name for ourselves while doing so. ⠀ ⠀ We want followers, likes, and a big platform on social media. ⠀ We pride ourselves on large numbers, comments, and shares. ⠀ We want to touch lives but never stop and think about the hows or the ifs.⠀ We stop short because we are only looking at the numerical reach. ⠀ ⠀ For me, I didn’t want to launch a blog again because of my reach. I don’t have my email list like I used to, I don’t have thousands or ten thousands of followers on social media, and my reach isn’t that big on that sense. ⠀ I was holding myself back by numbers when in reality, I don’t write to reach records shares. I write so that God can put His words in front of the ONE person that may need it at the time. ⠀ ⠀ Reach. ⠀ ⠀ If my pictures, my posts, my position can reach one person and encourage them to live a little braver and smile a little more than my job is done. ⠀ ⠀ Let’s stop focusing on our reach when it comes to a numerical value and let’s focus on the influence we do on a personal level. ⠀ ⠀ So whether this reaches thousands or just one, I hope that it inspires them to reach for more than influence in the masses and encourages them to reach others with more love. ⠀
REMEMBER// I think one of the reasons this Covid-19 season has been hard for some is because of our ability to remember. We remember life just a few months ago and we romanticize about it all. Oh the days of drop off lines, girlfriend coffee dates, a clear work schedule (no matter how packed), carpool lanes, after school sports, and weekends away from home. We are heartbroken for the old way of living and we dream of busy schedules and the need for gas stations and road trip snacks. But what we aren’t remembering are the prayers of a slower pace, the desires to uncluttered our calendars and homes, and the need to eliminate distractions. We aren’t remembering the stress and hustle of our old way of living, and for some reason we aren’t remembering the changes we wanted to make. Let’s take a second now, to close our eyes, take some deep breathes, and REMEMBER life before quarantine. Friend, there are things you prayed for. There are things you no longer wanted to do. There are days were you were pulling your hair out from feelings of being overwhelmed and pushed around by your planner. There are things you wanted TIME for. Time to breathe a little, rest a lot, and finally do that thing you’ve been making excuses about for years. Now is the time to remember, not to remember the old ways, but to remember what you wanted to do once you had the time to do it. Now is the time to put action behind those thoughts. Read the book (or write it ), find the exercise program you like, talk to the people you feel disconnected to, or better yet-be present in the home that holds the people closest to you. Remember the “if only’s” the “what if’s” and the “I wish I could’s” right now. And move towards those. Move forward, no matter how small the progress. We can’t go back, so let’s move forward to our new normal. A normal that could hold a better you, a better way, if only you stopped remembering the old way as the superior one.
RESTORE// Restore: bring back to former condition There’s nothing about my old marriage I want to restore. We had been married for 6 years when our marriage almost collapsed and yet, there’s nothing I miss about that relationship. To restore is to bring something back to its former condition. And let me tell you now, the old Steph is not something I want to restore and the old Jakob isn’t either. You see I don’t want to restore our former marriage because it was broken, the condition was beyond repair, and we needed something new. It wasn’t salvageable. It wasn’t worth repairing. We needed renewed minds and renewed hearts, not a bandaid or some glue. I didn’t want to look new, I wanted to embody it. New ways of being, feeling, speaking, and BELIEVING. There’s a sermon by Pastor Steven Furtick called “I’m glad it happened” and that message was life changing for me. I’m glad my marriage almost ended in 2017. I’m glad my husband broke my heart. I’m glad I wasn’t the best wife. I’m glad that the turmoil, the pain, the fire refined us and made us new. I’m glad all of it happened JUST the way it did because it brought us to where we are today. Happy, whole, and thriving. God did His work in us, through us, and graciously- FOR us. It may not have been the way we wanted it to go but it’s the way it had to be. I’m so glad the pain of 2017 brought us to God’s glory every year after that. It’s a praise report I’ll repeat my whole life. The potter broke us to mold us back together the way we were made to be in the first place. I’m so glad we were not restored to the old conditions but made new in Christ. Don’t get me wrong, restoration and reconciliation are great things. You just have to be careful on what you’re restoring. And for us, our story is one of not keeping the old but one of making something NEW. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
REST// I feel like rest is more of a buzz word these days than an action people are taking. Even during quarantine, the ultimate time of forced rest. I think some of our lives have actually gotten busier, and not in the most productive ways. Be honest with yourself, how much REAL REST have you received in the last few weeks? If you’re like me, I bet this quarantine has been filled with plenty of late nights, binge watching Netflix, hours wasted on learning TikTok dances, endless trips to the pantry, zoom calls, vision boards, or just plain cheese boards. But how much r e s t have you received? Rest as in no screen time, more than 7 hours of sleep, quiet time, reading a paper book, prayer, meditation, or stretching? Walks, naps, talks, baths, etc. If I’m being honest, I can’t think of anything else to name for rest. It’s a buzz word I’ve used too. We don’t know how much longer this quarantine will last. Some places in California are saying until August! So let’s make it a priority to actually rest our minds and our bodies before we hit. the. ground. running when this shelter in place is over. Rest from screens. Rest from continuing to pack our schedules. Rest from stress. Rest from trying to be overly productive. Rest from late nights and early mornings. Rest from negative thoughts. Rest from the news. It’s not a bad thing to look back and see what you can improve moving forward. So take a moment, reset yourself and plan real moments of rest moving forward. It’ll look different for all of us. But I can beat one thing-real rest won’t involve the phone in your hand or the news on your tv. If you’re not feeling refreshed at home, do something about it. Maybe even changing your perspective about what is happening will be the rest you need. Stop doing cartwheels in your mind and sit down for awhile and breathe in some gratitude. Rest your worry and settle into some true peace.
RECONNECT// Aren’t we all ready to reconnect? To our loved ones, to routines, to the outside world? I know I’m ready to reconnect with a long road, having my windows down, and music on. I’m ready to see God’s beautiful creations. The sea, the mountains, the meadows, the trails. I’m so ready for some reconnection with the outdoors. And when I saw the word reconnect, at first I thought of reunions and reconnecting with others outside our home. But we can reconnect now too. In quarantine..yes we can reconnect even now. This last week I’ve felt more myself than the previous 8. Maybe it took me that long to figure it all out but I’m so glad I did. I reconnected with myself. I sat down, thought about what I liked, disliked, and what I wanted to change moving forward. I think I was living in a “this will be over soon” mentality and only the Lord knows when this will be over, so I needed to make a shift. I took some time to reconnect with how I FELT and how I wanted to feel moving forward. Yes, I cleaned up my nutrition and planned out my workouts, but most importantly I cleaned up my perspective and planned out my thought life. I reconnected with the person I knew I could become, no matter what my surroundings are. The shift and connection were in my mindset. I encourage you to do the same. How do you FEEL? What routines or habits do you need to realign so you get back to feeling your best? You see, we all know what needs to be done, it’s the action behind the knowledge that is the hardest to do. But to reconnect with ourselves, action (no matter how small) is what needs to be done. You may feel stuck in your home, but you're not. You're stuck in your thinking. You're stuck in your mindset and your perspective. You need to reconnect with what’s true, with how you feel, and with what is going to get you to become the person you want to be. Take some time, really think about the last 9 weeks, hone in on what’s worked and what hasn’t, and reconnect to the you that you love the most. Once you do, that connection will only get stronger.
REIMAGINE// What a blessing this quarantine has been. I know that sounds weird, and of course I’m not talking about the illness or the deaths. I’m talking about the pause button being hit, in a sense, and the opportunity this shelter in place has given us. Reimagine sounds like a Disney film, but in a way, that wonder of the word can become a real life story. Your story. Why not use this time to reimagine a new way? Why not use the time to do something you’ve always dreamt of, but never did? Why not reimagine a life that will serve you instead of you serving it? Reimagining a new normal, a new way, a better way. A life filled with truth and light. One where you can become, you can reset, you can renew. You see, there is better. Better IS out there. Better yet, better is IN you. Reimagine. Imagine your days ahead with less stress, more joy, and more time on your hands. Days with your priorities on the for front and not on the back burner. Days where peace is the normal and laughter is contagious. Reimagine who you are, who you can be, and reset the rest of 2020 to do just that. Dream bigger than you ever have, put action behind those dreams like you never have before, and create the life you want. The time is ticking, what have you done and what will you do with this time freely given to you? Are you going to stay the same, or reimagine a better you? Allow the Greatness inside you to lead the way.