I hate New Year’s resolutions. There I said it. Maybe it’s because I am limping into 2016 after a rough year. Maybe it’s because my house is torpedoed and we’re broke and exhausted after the holidays. Maybe it’s because I’m tired of making goals and failing. Whatever it is, I cringe inwardly when I think about it — the same kind of cringing my husband does when tax time is upon us.
I do want to live intentionally, though, and the new year has me thinking about resolving to be the kind of woman God wants me to be. Here are some core thoughts the Holy Spirit has been speaking to me about.
1. Be the woman who dares to be real though the world demands a happy front.
Maintaining a socially acceptable equilibrium by always answering, “Things are fine,” may satisfy others, but it is not truth they can hang their hat on when life falls apart. Nor is it believable. Nor is it representative of anyone’s daily life. So I’m asking the Lord to help me be appropriately authentic in all my relationships. I love what J.C. Ryle, author and minister in the Church of England during the 1800’s, said, “Never be content to wear a cloak of religion. Be all that you profess. Though you may err, be real. Though you may stumble, be true. Keep this principle continually before your eyes and it will be well with your soul throughout your journey from grace to glory.” Yes and amen. Lord, please help me to be true and real with all those You’ve placed in my life to serve.
2. Be the woman who stays for the hard conversations when most leave.
Sharing something real either stops a conversation in its tracks or starts one. We’ve all been there. I experienced this most after our son was delivered stillborn. Many times, I summoned all the courage I possessed to share the truth with another and regretted it almost instantly. I could see fear in their eyes. They were already gone before the conversation started. I’m ashamed to admit that I, too, have let fear or inconvenience dictate my responses or lack thereof.
God has something better in mind. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” Jesus is at home with the very hard of life. Because His Spirit lives in us, we can be too — even when we don’t have the answers. May the Lord help us to choose His fearless, courageous love and stay for the hard conversations of life.
3. Be the woman who chooses sincere compassion when tempted to fake it.
If we choose to fearlessly love, we must also choose to sincerely love. Romans 12:9 says, “Love must be without hypocrisy.” I was reminded of this when an acquaintance recently shared her heartache over watching her parents age and decline. Tired from the day and a sleepless night, I found myself nodding in faked sentiment. The Lord corrected me, “Julie, this woman’s pain matters to me. Do the best you can to hear her heart and show her love for My sake.” His words changed my response and more importantly, my heart. Lord, we speak so much of compassion, but resist it when it costs us something of value. Please help me live it well especially when it inconveniences me.
4. Be the woman who surrenders to the guttural sanctification process of humility when it’s easier to pay lip service to it.
We talk about humility a lot in the church, but let’s face it — it’s not easy to live. This often comes into play for me when I’m being corrected or when conflict of any kind arises. Proverbs is filled with verses about humility. It is the foundation of every good thing — a good marriage, parenting relationship, friendship or relationship with God. Intimacy grows deep roots when planted in the fertile soil of humility and brokenness. May I grow these roots well even when it pushes against my own flesh. May it cause me to be more like my Jesus who chose a humble life and an even more humble death for our sake.
Speaking of humility, I ran across a book recently that captured my attention. Ray and Betty Whipps detail their love story amid the challenges of World War 2 in the book, ‘Til We Meet Again. Married for over 70 years, Ray offers a priceless piece of advice for us all, “If you’ll allow an old man a final moment to preach, I will leave you with this simple bit of advice — the best I have:
Use your whole heart.
Use all of it when you fall in love.
Use every part of it to raise your family.
Use all of it to trust God.
Use it to be strong.
Use it to be of good courage.
Use it to fight fear.
And use it to believe that wherever you are, God is with you.”
Wow! Simple, priceless and profound truth to meditate on for years to come.
So I may not be cranking out a list of things to do this year, but I do want to intentionally focus my life upon these key truths. May this year bring each of us many opportunities to be the women who live real and wholehearted lives before the Lord and in so doing — change the world around us for His sake.
Welcome to Ungrind!
Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?
If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.
So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!
Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
Get Our Free Ebook!
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions
The Psalms is a book that's rich with the reality of what life's like in this fallen world. Here are...
3 Ways to Navigate Personality Differences
Sometimes personality differences can wear on us. Here are three ways we can navigate them in a loving manner.
Surprised By ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’
If you haven't seen this film, God may speak to your heart through it in ways you weren't expecting.
The Wedding Ring
Are you struggling in your marriage? Here's how a wedding ring helped one wife fight for her marriage.
5 Ways to Live an Out-of-Control Life
Here are 5 ways to let go of control and trust your present and your future to God.
5 Creative Places to Find Prayer Accountability
Do you want to pray more, but are easily distracted? Here are some practical ways to stay focused.
How to Rescue a Day Gone Wrong in Your Marriage
Just because a day doesn't start well, doesn't mean you can't rescue it.
What Women Are Saying
-- Suzanne Hadley Gosselin, author of Expectant Parents: Preparing Together for the Journey of Parenthood
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
-- Gary Chapman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages
We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.
Faith4 years ago
When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds
Motherhood4 years ago
Surviving a Strong-Willed Child
Faith5 years ago
7 Ways to Create A Family Altar
Friendship6 years ago
Beyond the Registry: The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expectant Parents
Relationships5 months ago
5 Ways to Teach Your Child to Hear God
Marriage6 years ago
4 Reasons I’m Not Facebook Friends With My Husband
Everyday Faith5 years ago
6 Simple Ways to Give Thanks in the Thick of It
Articles5 years ago
10 Ways Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
Articles7 years ago
How to Lift Up the One You Love
Articles5 years ago
Relationships10 months ago
Facing Our Motherhood Fears
Digging Into Scripture2 months ago
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions