Let’s Get This New Year Started!

Despite the Mayan calendar hype, 2013 is here! (Did you fall for it???) I can already feel the changes this new year will bring. Old friends are reaching out more; new friends are settling in; ambitious goals are being set; and big plans are being made. But these aren’t my “new year’s resolutions”. I don’t like to call these changes RESOLUTIONS for a couple reasons.

  1. RESOLUTION implies there was a PROBLEM. Of course there were ups and downs, but 2012 did not bring me problems.
  2. All too often, RESOLUTIONS are things to NOT do (NOT eat so much junk; NOT drink so much alcohol; NOT spend so much money…). This context focuses too much on the negative and makes it harder to accomplish (honestly, I DID it for a reason, right?!)

Instead, I set a THEME for the year. 2011 was the Year of Me. I was fresh out of a long-term relationship and simply in need of some loving. Who better to love on me than ME?! 🙂 I gave myself the wants of my heart: concerts, shopping sprees, lazy days, and weekend getaways. 2012 was the Year of More. Since I spent a year impulsively indulging in my desires, I wanted to have that feeling become a constant in my life. So I made plans to save more money, have more happiness, and relax more.

2013 is going to be the Year of Do. In every situation I encounter this year, I want to DO something. Have a great idea? Execute it. Facing a problem/tough situation? Fix it. Don’t like my position? Change it. Bored? Try something new. Whatever it is, DO something about it. And when it feels like there is nothing to do, wait purposefully and spend some time with God. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” Proverbs 19:21

As with every theme or resolution, the goal is to be a better person. My hope is that as I DO this year, I do well for myself and I do good for the world.

-AM

©2013 by Ayana Martin

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Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas!! There may be gifts under the tree, but please remember the REAL reason for the season. Jesus lived and loved for our sake. Please live and love for goodness sake!

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-AM

©2012 by Alexandria Dotson and Ayana Martin

Verbs: GROW and MATURE

In the past year, I have totally revamped how I form and grow relationships (platonic, romantic, or other). During this process, I have learned one very important thing: everyone may not want to hear my perspective. Even after I have diligently listened to their perspective, they may have no interest in hearing mine. And that is OKAY. It doesn’t make me or my perspective any less valid. If anything, it makes me the bigger person because I am the one with a mind open enough to respect and observe perspectives outside of my own.

This morning’s scripture of the day came from James 1:19. It directs a person to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Funny how well it resonates with my process. I have always been a good listener. But I was not always so slow to speak, and I can definitely admit I was never slow to anger. I assumed that if a friend was divulging their woes and cares on me, that they automatically wanted to hear what I had to say in response. On occasion, this caused a wedge of disagreements. They were not open or ready to hear my persepctive, especially if it did not sympathize with their plight. Then one day, a conversation with one of my mentors enlightened me. I had just finished relaying my woes and cares to her. She acknowledged my troubles and responded with a soft question: “Would you like to hear my perspective?” Initially, I was bewildered by this response. Then, an overwhelming sense of gratitude washed over me. Gratitude because my feelings were the priority; because I now had the option (or control) to decide what I wanted to do about my situation: continue to sulk or open my mind to resolutions I had not previously thought of; and gratitude that whatever I decided, we both were okay.

By growing into this kind of maturity, I have been able to form better relationships with my current friends and familiy and ease into (and away from) new relationships with people I encounter every day.

-AM

©2012 by Alexandria Dotson and Ayana Martin

Choose Wisely

Beware of insecurities and jealousies in your inner circle.

I have been working hard on several projects: planning and executing experiments, writing a proposal for PhD Candidacy, developing our first InsertVerbHere travel project, and working on launching the InsertVerbHere non-profit organization. This is way too much work for just one person to handle. My secret to accomplishing so much is: my inner circle. These are my friends and family that I trust the most. I talk with them about my plans, my progress, my short-comings, and more. They give me affirmation, perspective, constructive criticisms, and resolutions. But they are not perfect.

Lately, things have been starting to take shape and become more real, which should be exciting, right?! Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case with everyone. I have been sensing that someone in my inner circle just isn’t happy for me. Their feedback has been waning and laced with feelings of being “left out”. And their listening skills have been disinterested.

It hurts to know that a friend cannot genuinely share in my joy without needing to personally benefit from my efforts. The vision propelling my efforts is bigger than us. So now it is very important that I choose wisely what information I choose to share with this individual, and simply love them from a distance.

-AM

©2012 by Alexandria Dotson and Ayana Martin