In class on November 15th, we discussed correctional facilities and prison reform. I posed the following question to my students: Are correctional facilities designed to “correct” behavior or character? Most of them said “both,” but some said neither. What do you think?
As we go about our holiday season, I think of those who are unable to have food, family, and fun – at the same time. Needless to say, there are individuals who have committed crimes unthinkable, yet there are some who have not. Are their lives being changed while on the inside of confinement? Are our lives being enhanced while we are captive to our vices? The truth is if we were caught in our everyday violations of malice, greed, and pride, we would be incarcerated right along side of our brothers and sisters.
So, I pose these questions to you… What are you chained to? What mental or emotional prison are you in? Is your “facility” correcting or enabling the behavior that got you there?
Now that we’re tangoing with the new year, I’d like to dare you to do a few a things. Not the cheesy stuff, but the things you may not be thinking of… yet. Designate an envelope for each of the month’s listed below and include these instructions for your future self.
On February 14th, don’t wait for someone to shower you with love. Depending upon how they feel, you may not feel loved that day, so write a brief letter to yourself to open that day. Start commemorating by loving yourself.
When Easter approaches, spring colors will be everywhere and I pray you feel just as invigorated to spring into the goals you’ve set for the year. The truth is, you may not. As for me, every April, I become deeply reflective. Both of my late grandmothers’ birthdays are in that month and they played a significant role in raising me. So, I miss them all the more and I remind myself of lessons they taught me. Maybe spring marks a special event for you. Write an encouraging reminder to yourself for that season… that things change and blooming takes time and labor, both of which you possess to make your dreams grow.
Juneis the month for weddings. If those are not your favorite events to attend, consider writing your current or future significant other. Better yet, send a card to one of your favorite couples, you know, the one that makes you smile when you see or think of them. A card in their mailbox would be perfect.
Augustis back-to-school time. Instead of complaining about revving up the routine again, try writing an encouraging message to read to your future self or your children that month. Maybe it’s goals that you or your child(ren) want to accomplish that school year. Maybe it’s organizational tips to make semester better than the last. Maybe it’s a reminder to be patient with the Walmart checkout lines. Either way, your future self will be grateful for the fresh air.
Gratefulness spills over the month of Novemberand it’s also the home of Veteran’s Day. Go grab a box of greeting cards and give them veterans that you know and even those you don’t. Seek out your nearest VA facility and share the love. After all, they shared themselves for our sake. Do you know what else November hosts? Stress Awareness Day and Go for a Ride Day! Pick a place in your state that you’ve never seen and explore how beautiful it is. I have a few spots I love to randomly indulge throughout the year. It’s the perfect reminder that your troubles aren’t too big for God to handle.
When the cold air snaps, people bundle up and cuddle up. If you’re single during that time, you may not have “all the feels.” Pick 5 scriptures (one for each week) to meditate on during the month of December. Reflect freely (ugly cry included if you have to) and pray about your direction for the new year. Treat yourself to dessert and prepare to address one fear before midnight strikes.
“Spiritually cloudy days” can creep up at any time, so you have to think ahead. When the months roll around, take out the envelope with the month’s name written on the front and do or marinate on what it says. Your future self will smile and thank you for it.
Peace & Thanks for listening!
*Special shoutout to one of my favorite Instagram accounts It’s A Day Really. Check them out as often as you can. They remind that there is always something to celebrate. *smile*
I’ve accepted a challenge by my writer’s group guru Javacia to unblock my writing potential through this annual exercise. I’ve always wanted to do it, but I didn’t expect it to be here already. Day 1. *eek*
So, what have I heard in my spirit today? SLOW DOWN.
It’s not enough to be a machine, but people expect you to be an energizing, self-sufficient, non-emotional android while getting catapulted by life events at the speed of light. Not an easy feat if you ask me. So today, I slowed down. I have a lot to do this week, and I’m sure you do too. For once in a significant amount of time, I ate my lunch at work… comfortably. Not in a car while thinking about my next stop. Not while on a conference call. Not taking a bite then answering a request. But sitting in a chair… at my desk… with minimal noise. It felt good to taste my food instead of inhaling it. Furthermore, I could have easily postponed lunch until after my afternoon meeting (which is my normal), but I looked at the clock and said – I need to eat before I do anything else. It was as if my body and my spirit agreed and aligned in peaceful matrimony. I enjoyed every bite of my bell pepper and grilled chicken.
Have you ever been like that?Not hangry (hungry + angry), but resolved that the absence of food was no longer an option? That was me today. That was the guilt-free me standing up for herself. How often do we do the same with God’s Word and our relationship with Him?
“I need to pray/study/listen to God before I do anything else.”
What a difference that would make! Unsupported decisions would decrease and broken souls wouldn’t cry as often. We would think of our actions before they commence. Our canned responses would have more depth and loveliness woven between them. Perhaps your heart is aching in that place of resolve for you to ____ before you start whittling your to-do list.
I guarantee that you’ll have a better sense of direction after you’ve consulted the Compass.
Blog like crazy, huh? Well, I’m game. Let’s see what the Lord has to say, or better yet, what I’ll have to slow down to hear. lol