I look down at my calendar noticing the white space and jot down dates and obligations, realizing that soon this fresh page will be filled with opportunities for ministry, connecting, and a few things I really don’t want to do.
It’s the first week in January and everyone is making lists. Lists that will make them feel guilty. Lists that might make them feel a little more productive. Lists that will make them feel like this business of producing never, ever stops.
They even have their “one word” picked out for the year like 'peace' or 'abundance'. And I’m over here trying to find one word to sum up four words.
Focus on what matters.
I don’t have a list this year, but a challenge of sorts for us to refuse meaningless striving and walking in freedom.
Instead of validation, may we seek to be available to God, to others, and whatever that may look like.
That we could look at our circle of influence differently, perhaps even make it smaller. That we could start in our homes, working outward to our jobs, churches, and community. And if, by chance, we can only manage one of those things in our circle; that we would know that one thing was enough.
That we would not seek the approval of others and waste time on that bottomless pit of people-pleasing, but instead seek time to feel the loving, correcting hand of God in our lives.
That we would no longer throw out the words, “I don’t have the time.” And replace them with the knowledge that we make time for whatever is truly important to us.
No more measuring sticks, just measureless grace for others and for us.
No more dreading what may happen, just take it day-by-day, sometimes even minute-by-minute.
No more records of wrongs and pathetic grudges.
We can cry, let go, and forgive. Repeating those steps as often as we need to.
My prayer is that grace will fill our lungs, hope will flood our hearts, and that we persistently trust in the unseen and mighty things of God. That we will pray more than we complain and love each other even when it’s not easy. And because we never know what’s next for us, we will focus on taking one obedient footstep after the other. May our focus remain on who we are becoming instead of what we produce.
White Spaces & New Beginnings is ENTRY ONE of our January blog series, Beginnings. Come back each week this month for a fresh challenge as you walk through the first month of this new year.
Jennifer Watson and her husband Jonathan have been married and in ministry for 20 years, serving as Lead Pastors in NW Arkansas. She's the mother of two teenage girls, which she says makes life "very full and fun with their different approaches to life".
Something that has shaped Jennifer's ministry philosophy is that "there is nothing below me when it comes to servanthood and nothing too out-of-reach for me when it comes to pursuing the calling on my life. I spent my early years in ministry feeling very under-qualified for my calling without realizing that the things that I thought would only trip me up were actually tied to my most important work in life." Jennifer acknowledges, "My only strategy in ministry is obedience and loving the people around me."
In her free time, Jennifer enjoys napping and binge-watching cheesy Hallmark movies with her daughters, as well as hiking and exploring when the weather permits. "During the wintertime, my favorite thing to do is stay home and look ugly- yoga pants sans the yoga."
With a tremendous following of her blog, Jennifer now prepares for the launch of her first book with Bethany House Publishers, just ahead in February! Here's a sneak peak from Freedom!: The Gutsy Pursuit of Breakthrough and the Life Beyond It.
Brokenness has become a buzzword. We wear it like a badge, proudly showing off the shattered pieces of our lives–while still fighting the same desperate battles. But brokenness was never meant to be the destination. Or your identity.
It was meant to be the catalyst for breakthrough.
Inspiring, vulnerable, and powerful, this new book from Jennifer Watson helps you take your eyes off the idol of brokenness and experience the God of breakthrough. She shows how breakthrough is really hope moving forward, even when life hurts. And she gives you practical, uncomplicated ways to:
· stop feeling shame and emptiness
· leave the victim mentality behind
· experience lasting restoration in your story and your soul
· and more
It’s okay to not be okay for a little while. But Jesus has a plan to see your scars become success stories that reflect his glory to the people around you.
To learn more about this amazing new book, and to pre-order, visit Jennifer's site by clicking here.