The beginning of the year can bring extra challenges.
Fitness challenges. New Year’s Resolutions. Yearly goals.
They can overwhelm even those of us who appreciate a good plan.
How do we decide which goals to meet? Even the options between good, better, and best are enough to drown us.
What if we used a kids’ activity to help us?
Connect the Dots.
Remember these drawings? The sneaky goal was to help us learn to count: draw a line from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4.
But the larger life goal is this:
Connecting the dots helps us discover the big picture.
Dots for Me
These are three dots popping up for me this winter.
1. Fitness Challenge
My niece Amanda shared a faith/food/fitness challenge, The Little Way, with our family at the first of the year. I joined in. Today is Day 17 of 30 Days with Revelation Wellness. It encourages us to hope in little changes, that even they can make a difference.
2. Bible Memory
A new Bible memory challenge begins next week at Do Not Depart in Philippians. And because it’s my thing, I definitely want to participate fully in it. It will progress at a slow pace over the next few months. (If this interests you, I’d love for you to join, too!) Memorizing in the moment increases my hope both now and later.
3. Writing Challenge
And finally, beginning February 1 Anita starts the #write28days blogging challenge. I always enjoyed the #write31days so much and now that they’ve ended, I’m grateful Anita is picking up the baton. I’ll be sharing 28 verses/songs/snippets on hope.
I’m choosing each of these challenges because I want to do them. Thankfully they’re all staggered in time, go at different paces, and involve different areas of my life.
Connect the Dots
But how do they connect?
When possible, we like our lives to be integrated. Connected. Whole.
I’ve discovered the connection in my dots: It’s my One Word for 2019, Hope.
I’ve been looking for ways to practice hope, not just think about it.
And if Jesus is my living Hope, I want ways to practice Jesus, not just think about him.
So these three challenges, these dots of fitness, scripture memory, and writing, are each connected to each other through my commitment to hope this year. I love when God brings things into alignment.
Based on the work of C.R. Snyder, Brene Brown says in The Gifts of Imperfection that hope happens when we do these three things:
- We have the ability to set realistic goals (I know where I want to go).
- We are able to figure out how to achieve those goals, including staying flexible (I know how to get there, I’m persistent, and I can tolerate disappointment and try again).
- We believe in ourselves (I can do this!).
My three dots check all three boxes.
Yet even with that, none of my three dots are end-goals in themselves.
My hope through them is not for weight loss or memory improvement or better writing skills (although if those things happen, I won’t object).
Nor for perfection. And maybe not even for completion (we’ll see).
These challenges are just points of connection for hope. They are useful to help me see the bigger picture, the larger-than-life Hope, a more accurate view of Jesus.
What are the dots in your life? Do you see a theme running through them? Is there a connection waiting to be made?
Even as we connect the visible dots of today, we still won’t uncover the whole grand picture until later. It’s too big to see at a glance.
But in the meantime, today’s dots are enough. They keep us moving forward. They stir us toward progress. To faith. To hope.
Follow your dots.
* * *
Do you see a thread running through your life in this season? Please share in the comments.
- If you want to join the memory challenge, get all the details here. Or ask any questions in the comments. Once you sign up, we’ll send you links to download the resources to help you memorize easier.
- If you want to join the writing challenge, details are at Anita’s place.
- Only Love Can Do That – The Voice of Martin Luther King Jr.
- Ordinary Is Underrated – The Ministry of Ordinary Places