Theme for 2019: Choose What is Better

Hello, dear friends! Even though we’re a few days into 2019, I still want to wish you a happy New Year. In fact, these “extra days” I’ve taken to consider a theme for this year reflect the theme itself.

The Kristen you know is a planner, an organizer, a deadline-driven achiever. The Kristen of 2018 would have made sure she sent out her monthly newsletter on January 1, because that’s what her calendar said she should do.

I think the Kristen of 2019 is going to be different. Especially as I prepare for my wedding, I’m realizing there are just some things I can’t control and some things that need more time. Merging two lives is wonderful, miraculous … but also messy. I’m learning to re-prioritize as I pray and prepare for a godly marriage and home with Christ at the center. I’m hoping for courage to be selfless and sacrificial, which may mean giving up what I want sometimes for what is better.

This is the lesson Martha had to learn the hard way. When she offered to host Jesus in her home, she immediately became task-focused. She lost sight of loving people and listening to Jesus in her obsession with preparing the perfect meal and being hostess of the year. When she saw her sister Mary simply sitting at Jesus’ feet, she “lost it” and in her to-do list tunnel-vision, demanded that Jesus tell Mary to help.

Jesus had to remind her what was better:  

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41 NIV).

Choose what is better. That’s my prayer and theme for 2019. I truly believe I am called to write and continue this ministry, but I have other callings as well: to my fiancé/future husband, to family and friends, to teaching, to my church, to the people and opportunities God places in my life. Oftentimes, I can’t “plan” for what these responsibilities may require. So if the blog doesn’t post on schedule, and the newsletter runs a few days late, I’m going to be okay with that.

May God bless your 2019 with wisdom to choose what is better over what is simply good.

~ Kristen

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How to Have a Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day might be the one holiday that leaves people feeling polar extremes of warm fuzzy or arctic cold.

Honestly, it’s a holiday that holds a mixed bag for me, too. I had one boyfriend call our relationship quits on Valentine’s Day (necessary but not exceptionally thoughtful). Other years, I’ve celebrated “Galentine’s Day” with my girlfriends instead. This year, I’m focusing on old and new friends alike.

I guess somewhere along the way, I realized that I can celebrate Valentine’s Day, regardless of my relationship status.

Let me say that again.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about our relationship status. 

That’s where we go wrong. We see the heart candies, roses, and those ridiculous large bears and start to daydream of our romantic relationship or lack thereof.

There’s our problem. We make the day about us. Did get a card? Did he remember to send me flowers? Did she get me a gift?

When we make the day about us, we’ll be disappointed every time, because there is usually a gap between expectations and reality. I’m not saying we shouldn’t give gifts or send flowers. Not at all! Those things are wonderful and can be thoughtful expressions of love.

But here’s the kicker: We don’t have to have a specific relationship status to do so.

Valentine’s Day can be a day to celebrate the people we love. 

Maybe that person is a significant other or spouse, and if so, celebrate that special relationship with gusto. Relationships are gifts, and couples should enjoy a day set aside to honor their love.

However, we don’t have to limit ourselves to romantic relationships. Instead, we can expand our horizons so we don’t miss the other people we’re blessed to love. Maybe that person is a father, mother, brother, sister, son, or daughter. Maybe it’s the teens in our youth group or peers in our Bible study.

Bottom line: Make the day about someone other than you. Cook dinner for your parents. Send flowers to your little sister in college. Bake brownies for the church teens, or host a game night at your house. And if you do have a special someone in your life, find a way to show that person how much you appreciate him or her.

After all, Jesus Himself commanded us to love (John 15:12). He said that we’re to love one another as He loved us—and He didn’t just say He loved us; He showed it by dying on the cross for us (John 3:16). The love God wants us to model isn’t sappy or shallow but sacrificial.

My college Bible professor captured that idea in a simple definition of love. It’s one I haven’t forgotten and hope I never will:

“Love is purposing the good of another person.”

Isn’t that what I Corinthians 13 says? The “love” chapter is all about giving of ourselves selflessly. Love is not “self-seeking” but generous (I Corinthians 13:5 NIV).

This Valentine’s Day week, look outward, not inward, and see how you can shower the people in your life with love. I think you’ll find that when you do, you’ll have the happiest Valentine’s Day yet.

~ Kristen

I’m grateful to DailyPS.com for sharing this post on their website. Visit DailyPS.com for more practical and encouraging ways to live intentionally.

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How to Have a Happy Valentine’s Day – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

This Valentine’s Day, look outward, not inward. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)