An Open Letter to 2019

Dear 2019,

Because you are just around the corner, I thought I better give you a heads up…. You are going to be different from all those other years.

I am choosing to fully abide in Christ, living in Him.

Not in my own strength.

Not in past sins, fears, and failings.

Not in other’s approval, opinion, or any other thing.

But only, always, forever… in Him.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” -2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Sincerely,

Me

Reflecting Our Maker Involves Defining Who We Are

So… Since I’m pretty transparent with my history of struggling with codependency (aka boundarylessness aka #ApprovalAddiction) and depression, I will share that one of my first “missions” after starting my great new job in an amazing new-to-me city was to get established with a great Christian counselor. This is priority for me: to have someone at my side who can look into my life objectively and help prevent me from falling back in to old destructive patterns.

However, I am not sure I got money’s worth during the hour I spent with her this week. Or, perhaps – better said: I DID get my money’s worth – but it was all packed in to the last minute of the session. You see, after 59 minutes of mostly me rambling about trying to conquer all my issues and live a more defined and disciplined life – she closed the session with a prayer. And in that prayer she said, “Father, help Tracy to define who she is because she wants to be like You and You define who You are.” Wow. That right there was worth the entire counseling fee.

That one statement got me thinking about how so many of the great #GodQuotes in the Bible are of Him defining Himself. If you doubt me on this, just do a #BibleStudy or a #GoogleSearch on the #NamesOfGod.

God makes it #CrystalClear who He is and Who He is not. And since we’re designed like our Maker, it is no wonder that when we don’t take time to define who we are and let anyone or anything else define us – we are absolutely miserable at our core.

So, my “homework” from my counselor this week is to put two columns on a piece of paper to define who I am and who I am not. And… I’m thinking I may not be the only one who needs to do this – so I thought I’d share. We live in an age where so many things from marketing campaigns to social media are vying to define us. But let’s spend some time with our Maker and define ourselves instead!

Pain, Purpose, and DESTINY

“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” –Hebrews 12:1-3 (The Message Paraphrase)

Teamwork Simplified

In my industry, Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety, there are many programs that teach team training. And that’s a good thing. In this and many other industries such as air transportation and manufacturing, the high reliability produced by great teamwork does much more than create successful popular businesses. It can literally save lives.

My idea of a high functioning team is one in which miscommunication rarely occurs and when it does it is quickly clarified so all members are working from the “same playbook” and “dancing to the same beat” once again.  This correlates well with the research coming out of the Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality arenas which aggregate data from adverse patient care incidents across the country. The most commonly identified causitive factor of adverse events in healthcare is breakdown in communication, a.k.a poor teamwork.

However, I sometimes wonder if we spend too much time teaching complicated methodologies on what it takes to be a winning team.  I saw this simple acronym come across my LinkedIn feed today (unsure of original source of the quote) that summed up great teams in one little square on my cell phone screen.

Happiness

““Do not store up for yourselves [material] treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also.” -Jesus, Matthew 6:19-21 AMP (Amplified version)

Crafted Together for HIS Glory

So, this verse came up in my Bible reading today. And, as I often do when something moves me, I #GoogleIt. (I know…. you were expecting something deep like meditate or prophesy. But, no. You got Google 😉). 
My Google search led me to the picture of the lovely crown you see here. But this picture became more meaningful because as I was Googling, I was listening to a prayer call by incredible inspirational teacher and Amazing Church #WorshipPastor, Barbara Calloway. She was talking about the #HolySpirit and specifically the importance of #unity.

Here’s something she said: “Break out of your comfort zone and decide you are going to be unified together”. As words and thoughts of unity hung in the early morning air, I continued to stare at the picture on my screen. As I looked at the beautiful crown, I realized that – although a pile of diamonds would be a site to behold – this artistic work of jewelry is so amazing and even more valuable because the individual stones have been crafted together into one beautiful masterpiece. 

In the same way that the uncrafted pile of diamonds was easy and effort-free, the introverted and conflict-avoiding version of me finds it easier to stay a “lone diamond” capturing a little glimmer of my Father’s light all on my own. But if I press through past the awkward seasons and difficult conversations that are eventually and inevitably part of every healthy relationship, how much more beauty, value, and #GodLight will be reflected in the unified whole of so many different and precious individuals! I think we’ll find it worth the effort. And I think we already know that our God is so very worthy of being crowned with our beautiful unity.

My #Instaprayer Project…. Join me??

Today I started posting on Instagram a short prayer to go along with the Scripture focus on my heart for the day. Feel free to join me in applying God’s Word and praying it back to our Good, Good Father. Here’s today’s post:Today’s #instaprayer is inspired by James 2:1-4. “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”