Friend to Friend: The Best Advice for 2020

The reality of a new decade has caused many to be overcome with emotion. Not only do we wonder what’s awaiting just around the corner, but we question God’s actions in our past while praying He's allowed us to learn from the pain.

No one said this life is easy.

In the past few days, I’ve read many reflective posts written by Facebook friends. Some made me cry, some caused me to smile with great happiness, and some caused me to kneel and pray for every single one of my struggling friends.  It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for this writer of words and maker of jewelry. To my subscribers, thank you for the many emails in which you confided to me in trust, uplifted me in love or showed support of a jewelry line created out of brokenness.   Please know I love you right back.

But this blog post is supposed to be about advice from one friend to another.

I also have a confession to make: a few months ago, I’m not so sure I had any advice to offer anyone.

Bitterness resided in my heart, mistrust was rampant, and I questioned if God knew that His blonde-haired Taos daughter even existed. And while it takes prayer and tough work with my therapist, I’m learning to be a bit more optimistic. Quite simply, I’m learning to take one day at a time and see life as a gift. For sure, it’s easier to write or read a blog post rather than live it out in the flesh, but one has to try.

I must also be raw and real with a confession of sorts: While it may not initially seem like the most Christian way to behave, I'll admit that I’m learning to be a bit…well…SELFISH.  

Perhaps I should blame it on my social media assistant, Kat?  

After arriving back home in Taos, I received a nondescript package containing an unexpected box. Inside it contained a bold sentence that almost seemed  like an order to my heart: Seven Days of Self Care.

Hmmm...

Although I’ve heard the words “self-care” used everywhere from morning talk shows to women’s magazines, I’ll confess I viewed it as an ego-centric mentality. As a mother to daughters, a close friend to other women and a hard-working artist who takes her work seriously, there’s simply been little time to focus on my own physical, mental or emotional needs. The utter thought of it seemed unrealistic.

Until now.

My caring assistant knows me well. She knows my struggles, my insecurities and made a bold statement through her Christmas gift. Basically it was something I had to gift myself, if I’m to embrace the new decade with joy. Her Self-Care Advent Box is chock full of advice and trinkets that force me to confront realities in which I can no longer ignore. Perhaps these might uplift you as well.

Seven Days of Self Care

  1. Your Past is Not Your Future. The past is something that should be forgotten, but  unfortunately, many people let it define them.  It’s a new decade, for goodness sake.   Embrace it, say “Adios!” to 2019 and don’t look into your rearview mirror. Individuals who cling to the past, with nails firmly dug in, are often miserable and greedy, blaming everything on the people who hurt them.  They refuse ownership of their own flaws and prefer to parrot, “I’m this way because of how that person mistreated me or what so and so did to me.”  Friend to friend, perhaps we should reminds ourselves of Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV) 18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

God reminds us repeatedly through His word that the past has no power over us and that we have been renewed by two things and two things only:  His love and His Grace. That’s it!  How awesome is THAT?!  Look forward and celebrate this amazing life you’ve been given. I have faith that you’ll make 2020 amazing. But you always have a CHOICE.

  1. Don’t Doubt Yourself. I’ll be the first to admit, this is a tough one for yours truly. Sadly, I tend to see the glass half empty rather than half full. Such an outlook can be attributed to a troubled past or being skeptical about the future. But know this: that’s just the evil one trying to rob us of our faith and that a higher power yearns to bring good from our life. Remember Romans 8:28:  28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Perhaps you and I need reminding of this beautiful phrase?
  1. Everything Will Be Okay.   At one time or another in our lives, we’ve probably uttered this reminder to a hurting friend or loved one. But when this assuring comment is offered up to us, it may go through one ear and out the other.  Pain, fear and hardship are usually just for a season. For sure, some seasons of pain and loneliness are harder than others, but we know God will bring good from all things. You may view this quite skeptically, but be rest assured, pain is only for a season.
  1. Good Things are Coming. No, this has no relation to the phrase, “Winter is Coming,” as made popular on Game of Thrones. Such a warning was filled with doom and gloom, not to mention constant fear. Consider Jeremiah 29:11,  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. These are the words to cling to as we fix our gaze on this new adventure.  God wants to bring GOOD to our lives but we exhibit faith that He will do so. Let us have faith together!
  1. You Are Enough. You didn’t think you could read a blog post without a music reference did you? If you ever need uplifting by a unique band, check out tunes by Sleeping at Last. One of my favorites, relating this reminder, is “You’re Enough.” Better yet, check out these lyrics or the song here.

When we grew up,
Our shadows grew up too.
But they were just old ghosts
That we grew attached to.

The tragic flaw is that they hide the truth

That you're enough.
I promise you're enough. You’re enough.

Friend, play that song over and over until it sinks deep into your bones.

  1. You are Made of Magic. Now, how you define magic is up to you. I’m not suggesting you believe in sorcery or some unsubstantiated form of witchcraft. What I AM suggesting is that you give God the credit for creating the beautiful being that resides inside of you. There is not another being on earth like you. Not a single one.  Rather than constantly compare yourself to others, celebrate your uniqueness and inward beauty that is yours and yours alone.  
  1. You Have Purpose. Please allow this writer of words and lover of music one last suggestion. If you’ve read this entire post and still feel unconvinced of your worth or how to embrace 2020, go to your favorite music platform and download Mandisa’s “Born for This.” Based on the book of Esther, one of the bravest women in the Bible, it will most assuredly make your heart smile.  In my darkest of days when I most doubt myself, I blast this song through my stereo speakers and thank God for loving a Taos hippie chick who is a bit too passionate for her own good.  Check out the lyrics below or play here.

Sometimes you gotta go, uninvited
Sometimes you gotta speak when you don't have the floor
Sometimes you gotta move, when everybody else says you should stay
No way, no, not today
You gotta ask, if you want an answer
Sometimes you gotta stand apart from the crowd
Long before your heart could run the risk
You were born for this

I hope you’ve printed out these seven reminders and placed out where you can see them.  My Self-Care Gift contained not only quotes but small gifts like massage oil, face mask, and sweet smelling lotions.  I plan on using each and every one without any guilt whatsoever. Perhaps you can handcraft such a box for someone in your own life?

May we all realize, after a tough 2019, that we can no longer be our best selves if we cannot first be happy with our own reflection. Celebrate 2020. It’s time we look inside our hearts and minds and do a little tending and mending. That may look like a bi-monthly massage or simple blocking out the world an hour each day in order bring yourself some peace and joy. What that looks like is up to you. Just know God loves you regardless. 

Without shame or guilt, may we all learn to love the woman that resides within.

Brightest of Blessings,

Angie



 

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