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New Year, New Perspective

For the new year, I, like most people, set some goals for 2019. I set some goals that I wanted to achieve for my business. I set some of the typical, exercise more, eat better goals. Most importantly, I set some spiritual goals, like reading my bible daily and praying everyday. This past year was the first year that I have ever read my bible consistently, so I wanted to keep that up and build on that in the new year. 

On the first Sunday of the new year, our pastor challenged our congregation to a 21 day fast.  I had never successfully fasted anything before. I decided to fast social media for those 21 days. Every time I wanted to get on social media, I would pray/read my bible. This fast sparked a chain reaction, which let to these three specific goals I hope to achieve in 2019. 

#1 Get Rid of Distractions 

On  January 9th, which was the 3rd day of my social media fast, I was so shocked by how many times I would mindlessly open my phone and swipe to click on Instagram or Facebook. I actually had to move the apps to a different location, so I wouldn't accidentally just click on them from habit.  I wanted to get on social media at least 100 times over those first three days. Every time I had this want, it prompted me to pray. It has been my goal for so long to pray unceasingly in my mind throughout the day. Just buy replacing social media with prayer, I  prayed more those three days than I typically do in a week's time. I was and still am so frightened by this! I had been so wrapped up in this digital world that I was missing out on a closer relationship with God, who is the whole reason for my existence. I plan to change to way to use social media in 2019. I am also on the hunt for other things that are distractions in my life and how to get rid of/minimize them. 

#2 Stop Being Too "Busy"

On January 9th, I also had to drive to Mobile and back that day for work. So I was stuck in the car for a good 4 hours. I decided I listened to a podcast from The Porch.

( If you have never heard of this podcast, its geared towards young adults, and it's awesome! They talk about real things that we go through at this age and how to deal with them as Christians.)

Anyway, so the title of the one I listened to was "Surviving the Holidays." A point that was a part of  the message was this acronym for BUSY that I have never heard of:





In my mind, being busy has always been something that I almost strive to be. If I'm busy, I am getting stuff done. I am one step closer to my goals. Etc. Etc. But if I let myself get too busy, I have less and less time for God. Suddenly I am skipping\cutting my morning devotion short or completely neglecting a time for prayer, because I just don't have time, and I'm too "busy." That is exactly what Satan wants: to fill our lives with so many distractions and worries that we lose sight of our purpose

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

All of this said, I plan to be way less "busy" in 2019.

#3 Enjoy the Little Moments 

On the evening of January 9th, I sat down to think about my to-do list and how in the world I was going to crank out the next painting series I had planned. I started some paintings for this new series, but the whole thing had just felt so stale up until this point. I had this idea that I would do a color series, and I had this really bold statement that I was going to push behind it. I had been praying about for a while if it was the right thing to do at this time or if I was just getting cold feet, etc.  Just as I was getting overwhelmed, the words "new perspective" popped into my mind. I knew that, that was exactly what my next painting series needed, and that I needed to go outside and literally get a new perspective.

I had written down the whole previous week that I would paint or draw for at least 15 minutes everyday. The few days leading up to January 9th, I had convinced myself that I was just too "busy." (What a coincidence right?) But it was like in that moment, I NEEDED to go outside and paint. The sun was setting. The sky was a perfect shade of purple-blue and everything seemed to be bathed in this beautiful golden light.  I painted the view from my back porch and watched the sunset.  I haven't done that in I don't know how long, and I don't think that I have ever watched a sunset and painted it at the same time. It was such a beautiful moment, and I'm so glad that I paused my "busy" life to just enjoy it. It's these beautiful little moments in life that I have been missing out on because of all these distractions and my so called "busy" life. These beautiful, quiet moments where I get admire what God has created. I am reminded in these moments that I am made in His image and because of His desire to create, I have mine to create! I hope to have many more little moments like this in 2019, and I hope to capture a few in the paintings for my next painting series titled, Little Moments. 

Thanks for reading & God Bless!

Shelby Leigh 

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