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Words by VLB

Turn the Page

Just when it feels like the gloom of January will never end and resolutions start to dull, February arrives in all of its pink, heart-shaped glory.

February boasts promises of bouquets, easy love, and days that don't feel so long or so cold. We put a lot of pressure on the turn of a calendar page, when, month after month, it doesn't play out as we planned.

Yet, I am a big believer in monthly intentions and goals, because while we have no control over how the month treats us, we are in charge of how we react to the next 30(ish) days. So in February, I chose three words: savor, speak life, and stillness.

To savor is to pause the overwhelming rhythm that I so often get trapped in so that I can soak up the blessings around me. It is to stop scarfing down meals or running from one place to the next, hair half wet and RX bar in hand. It is, instead, a slower way of life. One that feels no shame in saying no, that sips lattes for the flavor rather than for the caffeine, that actually listens to the words in songs instead of just using them for background noise. To savor is to allow myself to take in the world around me for all that it is, both beautiful and bountiful.

To speak life is to acknowledge that my words have power of life and death, like Proverbs 18:21 tells us. It is to intentionally encourage the people God has placed on my path, and to speak kindly to myself as well. It is choosing truth, even when the lies scream louder in my mind. It is assuming the best of people and speaking to them as such. It is to break the cycle of overanalyzing, negativity, and ugliness in the words I think and say. Instead, I want life to flow through my thoughts and my verbiage. My words will lead to growth, not death. I will speak to myself with respect and honor, so that I can do the same for those around me.

I'm still learning what stillness looks like as a college student. While I can't skip out on classes or commitments, I'm in active pursuit for the moments of quiet rest amongst the craziness. I've found that when I partake in a moment of intentional stillness, I feel and hear God in new ways. I notice blessings that looked like burdens, and I feel peace deeper than what a one or two minute period of pause should give me. To be still is to trust God with my time which never feels like enough, to surrender for even just a moment and let my thoughts drift toward His goodness, even in chaos.

And so here we are, the last day of February. There were days this month when I excelled in the practices of savoring, speaking life, and staying still. But there were also days that I failed miserably. I get twisted up in my own mind and overwhelmed by the tasks at hand, and suddenly my monthly intentions are gone as I wander into worry.

So often this month I was aware of just how much I need a Savior. Every time I tried to tackle this crazy life on my own, I fell short, landing bruised and overwhelmed and out of breath.

But when I consciously choose to partner with God instead of trying to fight His process, even the scariest situations don't feel quite as menacing. I learned this month that the more of my life that I surrender to the Lord, the more freedom I get to experience. God never called us to do it all, to be everything to everyone, to carry weights that are not ours to hold.

He simply asks us to listen for His voice and obey His commands. And I can't hear his voice when I'm not savoring, speaking life, or staying still. Meanwhile, God is just wishing we would relax into the plans He so carefully crafted for us.

I definitely haven't mastered the whole "relaxing into God's plan" thing yet, but, over the past 28 days, I made some progress I'm proud of. Now, it's almost March and I'm back at my calendar, staring at 31 empty squares of possibility. I'm met by the same sense of expectancy I felt before February, and before January too. The turn of the calendar page always does that to me.

In March, I'm choosing to focus on perspective.

Perspective is the declaration that I will tilt my head and squint my eyes to look at something a different way when, upon first glance, I see a mess. It is the choice to see the possibility instead of just the problem. It is noting that, in the grand scheme of things, this obstacle in front of me is not as big as I'm convinced.

This month, I want to end overthinking, to stop the spiral of doubt swirling between my ears when life doesn't go as I planned. Because when I choose a new perspective, I see the promises of God a little clearer.

Whatever this month holds, I promise to put it in perspective - to realize that no matter what happens or how I feel, I know that my God will come through for me, fight my battles, and work out all things for His glory like the Bible promises.

When you flip that calendar page, release the unrealistic expectations and rest in the fact that God already knows how the next 30 days will go for you. Set an intention that will help you to see more of Him on the earth, but don't forget to load your goals with grace.

As for me, I'm changing my perspective this month. And while I don't know what March holds for me, I am confident that with the proper perspective, I'll see God at work.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

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