This year has been filled with so many highs and lows as I'm sure most people's have. When I started my year, I had set so many unattainable goals for myself that seemed to only add to my frustrations as the year progressed. How many times do we set unrealistic expectations on ourselves? There's nothing wrong with setting goals, in fact, goals are what keep me on target and motivated. The issue that comes, however, with unattainable goals is that it often can put us in a negative mindset that flows over into our daily lives.

Now that the year is coming to an end, I stare at my blank planner next to me, disappointed, because I overloaded myself to a point that I stopped all together. As someone who uses busy-ness as a means to cope when life gets hard, I have finally come to a space where I decided enough is enough. Life isn't worth living if I'm constantly running myself in the ground. The moment I gave myself permission to accept that this year was beautiful, struggles and all, I exhaled, my shoulders dropping down, the stress leaving my body instantly. 

The beauty in all of this is that next year is a new year, a chance to do better and be better. As I look forward to planning all the things I hope to do in 2024, I choose to extend myself grace and lean into what God is guiding me to do. He has been equipping me for a calling that first came in my early twenties, later again in my thirties, and finally obediently I answer in my forties. 

I do not know what the future holds for me, or my ventures, but I do know that I'm excited to find out all that God has in store for me. 

Friends, the same can be said for you and your year. Maybe it didn't go as planned or how you had hoped, you could be reading this now wondering if there is any chance you could feel the feeling of stress as it leaves your body. I encourage you to let go of the unrealistic expectations you set upon yourself, and pick up the courage to continue fresh, a new year is ahead. May you be brave as you exhale all that 2023 brought you. 

With Grace, Shonda


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