I know it's so cliché to talk about new year's resolutions and growth and renewal. But really, that's pretty important this time of year. In years past, it really hasn't been something I've dwelt on--other than making a few lame, lacking resolutions I'd forgotten about the fourth day of the year (okay, the third). But this year, I've been blessed with a lot more time of solitude. (Thanks to the DH for working about 30 extra hours last week!) I've had time to ask: when most of the decorations have been put away and the excitement/exhaustion of Christmas has faded away, what are we to focus on?

I don't care if you resolved to be more organized or to floss your teeth everyday. It doesn't matter to me if you check off all your workout appointments or stayed within budget. Do you know what does matter to me? That you have taken the time to really assess where you are at the start of this year. If you haven't already, TODAY, sit and honestly evaluate where you are in your relationships, your health,  your financial situation, your organization and time management. Where are you spiritually? Are you spiritually dragging in your walk with Christ? Maybe assessing all of those areas is too much. Just look at your relationship with God and one thing really heavy in your life right now. How are you doing, really?

 Something God has been teaching (and re-teaching!) me is that He is the only one that can cause real change in my life. My humanness gets me every. single. time.  I can try to muster up some willpower and use the latest gadget or expert strategy to tackle my glaring faults. I can get a little motivated by watching something inspirational on TV. But that won't bring lasting change. It might help for a day, provided nothing stressful happens that day (HAHA!). Rather than pretend I can "keep it all together," why not admit, right up front, that I can do nothing without His strength? Why not ask Him for the help we need?

The start of this year has been an adventure---and has it ONLY been a week!?! I can honestly tell you God has answered more than one of my pleas for help and change and blessing. I don't mean to leave a big, gaping, vague hole here, but I'm not quite ready to share about it here just yet.

My prayer for you this year is my own prayer for 2011. That we'll start each day looking forward. That we'll take a moment to breathe deep, really deep. And rather than focusing on the lists before us, that we'll praise God for the big things He does as well as all the little things we so often take for granted. That we'll stop pretending and be more real with God and with each other than we've EVER been. That we'll ask God, honestly, what He wants…and then listen with open hearts. That we'll learn to love in practical ways. That we'll grab onto what He has for us and not let go (or compare it to what He has for the person beside us)!

My heart has been bursting with things to write about this week. And this is not one of them! This is not the easiest post to hit "publish" on, either. It's not neatly organized or well-thought out. But, it's where I am, through and through. Today, let's be where we are and seek Him to lead us right where He wants us to be, despite the awkward or pain we might feel in taking those first steps.

My verses for 2011: 
Jeremiah 29:4-20 
 Proverbs 3:5-12
  (The MSG really strikes me in a new way--I encourage you to compare different versions!) 
(A side note---I'm not the biggest fan of Jeremiah 29:11, although it's true and I claim it.
 Read this to discover why I went back to read & fall in love with the WHOLE+ chapter again!)

"When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. When you come looking for me, you'll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else I'll make sure you won't be disappointed" (Jeremiah  29:12-14 MSG)

"Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
  don't try to figure everything out on your own.
Listen to God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    He's the one who will keep you on track.
Don't assume you know it all.
   Run to God! Run from evil!
 Your body will glow with health,
    your very bones will vibrate with life!"
(Proverbs 3:5-8 MSG)