Stretch It Out - January

At the beginning of this month, when everyone was feeling excessively introspective, as they reflected on the past year and made goals for 2014, I sat on the couch, eating what was probably my seventh cookie, outwardly scoffing at others for their lofty goals, but secretly chiding myself for letting yet another New Year go by without making any concrete resolutions. In the past, my go-to excuse was, “I don’t need to resolve to be better at the beginning of every year. I’ll just be fantastic year-round and we’ll call it good.” But let’s be honest, that’s an absolute cop out and quite frankly, a pathetic justification for not setting goals for myself. With that conviction in mind, I emptied the crumbs from the folds of my shirt and got to thinking. About what? It’s hard to say. I didn’t really know what sort of resolutions I wanted to set for myself, so I started with the typical: eat healthier food, exercise more, stop leaving the laundry in the wash until it starts to smell and I have to run it again, but, for some reason, no one thing really seemed to resonate with me. So, I began to pray about it. Long story short, God ultimately put it on my heart to try something a little different. And thus began, my year-long journey toward (what I’m hoping will be) a new and improved Chelsea.

Shall I explain? OK, so for every month in the year 2014, I will be stretching myself, so to speak, in a unique way. More explanation required? Alright, let’s get down brass tacks. The month of January has dealt with relying on God as my sole source of strength and energy, both mentally and physically. So, for the entire month, I have “fasted” from purchasing coffee from coffee shops, i.e. Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, or basically anywhere that they brew and serve coffee to you. Now, I realize that for many, this may seem like nothing at all, but let me tell you, for me, this was no small feat. We’re talking about someone who regularly consumes two to three cups of coffee…and that’s before she even gets to work. And let’s not mention the coffee shop that’s a mere two-minute walk from her office. Needless to say, temptation is everywhere!

But here we are. It’s January 29th and with the exception of one small slip-up, where I absent-mindedly bought a small hot chocolate before a movie and then stared at the cup in my hand in horror and bewilderment as to how it got there, I have made it out alive. (Luckily, David reassured me that hot chocolate is not coffee, and it was a gelato shop, not a coffee shop, so we might be good.) Assuming I can get through the rest of this week, I will have made it through month one. And you know what? It really wasn’t all that difficult.

To be fair, I’ve still been treating myself to my usual morning brew, so I’m sure that has helped. But in those eye-watering moments of utter exhaustion at my desk, staring into the oblivion that is my computer screen, God reminded me of one very simple verse, “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me” (Psalm 3:5). The month of January has been a month of awakening for me (literally!) and I’ve come to realize now, more than ever, that God is my ultimate source of strength and rejuvenation. And even though I don’t necessarily plan to forgo coffee shops forever, I do feel like coffee is no longer a crutch on which i lean, and what a great feeling that is.

So, obviously you’re wondering (or maybe not, but let’s pretend) what the rest of this year is going to look like. That makes two of us! I’ve sort of decided that I’m just going to go with the flow and let God lead me through these months, as he reveals the areas in my life that require stretching. I do know that February is going to be a month of purification, with the reminder of treating my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit, but more to come on that next month! For now, I’m just excited to be on this journey and eager to see what plans await me in 2014. Thanks for reading!

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