When Stopping Is the Start

what we stop NQA

What if instead of starting in January, we stop?

I know, that sounds a little crazy in the midst of all the New Year’s resolutions about healthy living, spiritual growth, and relational investments that fill my Facebook feed and probably yours too. But hear me out.

What happens in your heart, your home, your church, your community if you chose to stop instead of start in a few areas?  I’m not suggesting you stop exercising or reading your Bible every day.  In fact, I’m not suggesting you stop {or start} any particular activity. But there probably are a couple of areas where some elimination would be useful for most of us. Here are two that immediately come to mind:

Stop comparing.

It’s so easy to look at someone else’s home or kids or weekly meal plan and begin to feel like our own is woefully inadequate. I admit, I get caught in the comparison trap far more often than I’d ever want to admit. I was talking with one of my best friends recently and we shared how easy it is to believe the worst about ourselves while only seeing the best in others. Let’s stop walking down that dangerous path, my friends! Let’s make 2014 the year we stop comparing.

Stop explaining.

Why is it that, as women, we always feel like we have to explain ourselves and our family’s choices? A couple of weeks ago, I was sharing with some friends about my husband’s and my plan for healthier living in 2014. One of the ladies sitting near us at the ball game immediately started talking about how she was way too busy to do all that and that she wouldn’t even want to because she loves cooking the good foods her family likes.  And me? Well, I started explaining how I love to cook and how much my family enjoys yummy foods also. And then it dawned on me, I don’t have to explain. It’s okay for the choices we make to be different from those of others, even our closest friends. An explanation for why and how we made those decisions isn’t always necessary.

I love the fresh start a new year brings. I love the way it feels to start something new. But this year, I’m realizing sometimes what we stop is more significant than what we start.

What are you stopping or starting as this new year begins?

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Teri Lynne (20 Posts)

Teri Lynne is a word loving, idea slinging, encourager of rest, focus, and embracing life's seasons. Her priorities include good coffee, excellent books, and lingering conversations. She is the author of Parenting from the Overflow and Prayers from the Pews: The Power of Praying for Your Church and the co-author of Self-Publish: Moving from Idea to Product. Teri Lynne and her worship leading husband live with their growing-up-way-too-fast teenage daughter and their ever pitiful basset hound in North Alabama where she finds time to write in between the car line and rotating laundry.


Comments

  1. cynthia fernstaedt says:

    I’m not one to compare..but the explaining..oh yes, do that one all the time! In fact, as I started reading this article, I was also in the process of explaining a decision to someone…and it was not needed.

  2. Your post has given me pause, pause to stop. This is a refreshing way to consider my new year. Thank you.

  3. Our family has made a commitment to watch what we say about other people…in other words, stop cutting people down even if (especially when?) they aren’t present. Our dinner conversation started with a “family joke” about someone else’s (horrid) stew recipe…oops…that had to stop. Then the convo moved to something that happened in our small group…and then moved to how so and so was so wrong to have said such and such…and then we were in out of bounds territory again. We all looked at each other, grasping for something positive to say; and someone finally blurted out, “Um, well, thanks for making dinner, Mom.” We all laughed a bit awkwardly. We hadn’t realized how much our conversations were centered on topics that did not edify others.

  4. I worked with a life coach several years back. One of the things I came away with is that I do not need to defend (explain) myself. She said it diminishes me when I do that. Depending on the circumstance I try to keep this in mind. Family often wants to know my thought process.

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