Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness and honor.

Proverbs 21:21

Today is January 21 so I was reading in Proverbs 21. Verse 21 spoke loudly to me so I guess today is the day of 21!

I woke up at 6 a.m., prayer and journaled in the dark of the morning, inspired by candles and hot tea and now some soaking music is awakening the house.

So let’s jump into my three top priorities for this 31-day challenge:

1. Becoming emotionally healthy, holding love and tenderness in balance with boundaries. I’m so thankful this year’s word is “Tenderness”. My usual method of dealing with hard things in life was to create a hard outer shell. Well now I’m being reminded to stay tender and soft. Trust God with my heart and emotions. By the way, made another appointment with my counselor. Good things happen in counseling. I have some new things to cast off and pray through.

2. Reading two books a month and not grazing over 20 and never finishing a book. This month the books are “Try Softer” by Aundi Kolber and “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud. Again, these books come at an amazing time. When difficult situations come up with other people’s demands of me I was living out of fear of losing love, fear of someone’s anger, fear of loneliness, fear of not being accepted. That is not love. Love is being honest and setting healthy boundaries. Love is also trusting in the only One who brings true Freedom and that is in Christ. Anyone who expects me to keep them happy will be sadly disappointed (and vice versa). And that has happened many times. It used to rip me to shreds and make me think that I was not enough, bad, unworthy. But I’m learning that is putting expectations in the wrong place. I’ve allowed myself to hide for too long. I can actually be honest and fully present and don’t need to fear being abandoned. Because I never will be abandoned. You will never be abandoned. God is love and He is with us.

3. Staying on target with spending plans in time and money. I’ve been recording our expenses each night which actually feels amazing. When I’m tempted with lazy or procrastinating feelings I just recognize it and tell it “No” and go do it! What a relief. As for grocery shopping, it’s been very busy and eratic around here with unexpected visits and holidays. I do have a menu and stop at the store to grab only what is needed for those meals. But I’ve yet to make one big haul for the week. But at least we have a plan and I’m sticking with it. Not having to think about the plan is half the battle. I think I’ll need to go Wednesday night for a thorough grocery visit because tonight the family will be at a basketball game and I’m at CPC.

So there we go! Into the third week of January and actually sticking to some rhythms and habits that I really want to take root this year. Hope you’re January is off to a good start. It’s never too late to start. You can start right now! What habits are you planting?