New Year, New Intentions

Last year I adopted the idea of having a word that would help me to remember my ultimate goal for the year.  Just one word, not a list or  goals for the new year. Last year my word was “Breathe”. I have a hard time resting, and when I chose this word I was in the midst of planning a wedding and working on school things. With all the stress in mind I decided that for 2015 I could truly benefit from stopping every so often to breathe.

This was actually such a wonderful idea for me because 2015 WAS a crazy year for me! To be honest, there were several times that I forgot to breathe. I would get stressed or disorganized and I would allow myself to get wrapped up in the issues. But there were also times when I was able to put things into perspective by remembering to breathe.

This year I hope to do the same thing. I have chosen a new word, a new hashtag, and a new goal.

2016’s word is: KIND.

If I can be real for a second… Being kind is so hard. Anyone can be nice, but kindness, true kindness, is more difficult. I find myself being more nice than actually caring of others and this year I hope to change that. With choosing “kind”, I am choosing to be more outwardly kind with my words and actions.

I am also deciding to be inwardly kind as well. To me, kindness is a heart issue. It can be the thoughts we have of another person, the emotions we feel when we hear a person’s name, and whether or not we harbor feelings of anger or guilt about people. Kindness can be towards others, but also towards oneself. I could always be a bit nicer to those around me, as well as myself.

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So here we go. A full year of remembering the be kind. A full year to being inspired by the Lord to give me the gift of kindness to others, and myself. Which is a theme that most of us desire and need. To be kind to ourselves is a theme that I have been seeing more and more of this past week with people making new resolutions.

Let us all be kind to each other and to ourselves this year.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Do you have a word you are working towards?

Much love. Much grace.

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Needing Contentment

“I just want to see you content”

Seven words. Words that cut me to the core, and yet are loving at the same time. A phrase that says, “hey, I not only care about you, but I want to see you happy where you are and with what you have.”

But that word… Content… it is just so foreign.

I need more. More time. More money. More friends. More sucess. More adventures.

“Content” and “more” don’t go together. A person can’t live with both.

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I have been struggling with wanting to go to a new place to live for a while now. With marrying Mr. Yell and seeing most of our friends leave, it has been very hard to stay in our small town. I have been angry, jealous, and hurt; with myself for graduating late, and with God for not taking us to another place. He has been silent for almost a year now; and that has been the hardest thing to experience.

Then just this week my husband said something that woke me up. It made me rethink this past year’s emotions, complications, and stress.

“I just want to see you content.”

That’s it. That was the moment I realized that maybe, God wasn’t silent, at least not at first. Instead of listening to what He wanted me to do, I have been trying to push myself to do things that I feel I need to do. Things that will make me likable, smarter, or bring my life more meaning. I have been trying to make my life “better”, when instead I just  needed to learn how to be content.

Contentment is hard, guys. So hard. It is very hard to live in a world that is built on comparing ourselves to others and yet seek contentment. It is hard to see people in your same place in life who seem like they are doing it all, or that they are more likeable or needed or whatever. But can I just say that finding a way to be content is just so much better?

Even if you aren’t a believer in Christ, I challenge you just to take this week and find ways not to want more.  I want you to think about the things and people you have, and I want you to think everyday that you have enough. That you are fine where you are, and that the desire for more is not needed. For me, this is made infinitely easier when I remember that my relationship with God is all I need. I can lose everything and still know that He is good. He is enough.

This year has been rough, that is for sure. But this week has been the best week I have had in such a long time just on the basis of seeking contentment. I am learning, like I am sure much of you are, that I am pretty enough, strong enough, smart enough, loved enough, and happy enough.

I am doing my best to help those in need and make the part of the world I am in a brighter place to be. And that thought can only come from being content.

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Friends, are you content? If it means anything… I not only think you can be, but I want to see that happen for you.

Much love. Much grace.

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Feelings and Choices

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Love.

A concept that is wrapped up with many definitions, stigmas, and stories. We can love hot dogs, people, or places. Love can be seen as a strength, or even as a weakness. We as people crave stories about enduring love as we read books, watch movies, and pressure friends into dating relationships.

What if I told you that love was not any of these things? Instead, love is a choice.

Weird concept, right? Some say, “You can’t choose who you love!”, but I believe you can. While falling in love may have a less controllable feeling, loving that person day to day is a choice. When that person is hard to love, we have to choose to stay with them, to forgive, and to love them even at their lowest. Even friends (and family) are hard to love at times.

Friends, I feel so humbled writing this. It is so hard for me to love others. I feel very blessed that the Lord gave me a best friend, and now my husband, who is full of love for me no matter what I seem to do, he is right there next to me. Forgiving me and showing me what real, true love is: a choice. He chooses to not just “deal” with me or ignore me, but listens, cares, and is so wise.

I wish I could say the same about myself. I am finding myself becoming more and more impatient with people around me. I struggle with jealousy, that turns to bitterness in a very bad way. I become angry quickly when I don’t get my way or if I feel overlooked by others.

I am not choosing to love.

In fact, that is so very much the opposite of what love is supposed to be.

Love is supposed to be kind, patient, and not self-seeking. It is to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. In 1 Corinthians chapter 13, there is a whole paragraph about what love is, and what love is not. Even if reading the Bible isn’t your thing, we can all learn a thing or two from this passage. We can all learn how to love others from this.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

This is just a piece of what the choice of loving others looks like. Friends, family, and significant others; the choice always looks the same when choosing love.

I challenge you to try choosing this love. Choosing not a fleeting feeling, but the trust, hope, and forgiveness that everyone desires; and that everyone needs. Let’s go change the world by loving in a new way.

Much love. Much grace.

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