Monday, May 26, 2014

Cultivating Gentleness

For the last three years, I have joined the larger community of writers, bloggers, mamas... who have chosen a word to name the year, a word of intention to focus on for 365 days. In 2012, I chose "grace". In 2013, I chose "enough". And this year, I chose the word "defiant".

It was hard this year to make a decision. I had a whole list of really good runner up words, all meaningful and beautiful. I think I eventually landed on defiant because I was drawn to the idea of practicing defiant faith, especially in regards to my health. I wanted to encourage myself to believe the promises and character of God, even if my health does not improve, even when I feel like I am deteriorating and struggling.

But the thing is, here I am, about half way through the year, and I'm realizing this word is not a good fit. I really don't need a word to remind me to be defiant or act in a defiant manner, even in a holy sense. That seems to come a bit too naturally, actually. What I need to cultivate in my life is gentleness.

I have given a lot of thought to the kind of person I want to be and have decided that I'm much more interested in developing kindness, tenderness, gentleness, peacefulness and love. I want to be strong, but gentle. I want to be the sort of woman who disarms people rather than puts them into a state of defensiveness.

So I've just decided to change it up.

For the rest of 2014, my word of intention will be "gentleness".

I've given it a lot of thought and have compiled a list of goals for the rest of this year. I think they will all help train my heart to be more gentle. That is my hope, anyway. :)

1. Talk less.
2. Listen more.
3. Listen in order to understand, not simply in order to reply.
4. Spend more time reading books, and less time reading on social media sites.
5. Use social media as a place to practice radical kindness.
6. Wait one day before writing or posting on any controversial subject.
7. Go to bed and get up in the morning a little bit earlier.
8. Be intentional about staying up late- for relationships and not TV.
9. Be conscious of what you watch and listen to. Determine whether you are consuming violence and sarcasm or food for your soul.
10. Enjoy and create art.
11. Embrace joy and celebration and fun, believing God loves a good time.
12. Study the skies, since they leave you filled with wonder and awestruck in a way nothing else quite does.
13. Buy a telescope. {Birthday present?}
14. Be aware and attentive to the relationships God brings into your life and nurture them.
15. When you feel hurt or angry, breathe. Whisper up prayers for help, maybe even shout them out loud. But don't give full vent to foolishness. Learn to refrain from saying things you will soon regret.
16. Forgive quickly, and slather grace everywhere.
17. Learn to be comfortable with silence.
18. Always be kinder than necessary.
19. Treat others the way you yourself would like to be treated.
20. Take the humblest, lowest place. Look for ways to honor others and compete in kindnesses.
21. Spend less, buy less, learn to be content with little. You already have so much.
22. Show gratitude. Develop an eye for God's gifts in your life.
23. Remember always that a soft word turns away wrath. Overcome evil with good, using the tactics of Jesus, not those of this world.
24. Don't be a know-it-all, and don't feel you need to add something to every conversation.
25. Encourage others to bloom. Rejoice in their victories.
26. Practice nonviolence, not only in deed but also with words, knowing words can wound.
27. Slow down and be fully present. Be intentional. Be wise.
28. Try not to be overly discouraged by setbacks. Forgive yourself and keep progressing.
29. Abide in the Vine, that you may produce the fruit of the Spirit.
30. Seek forgiveness where it is needed, be quick to apologize and proactive to repair and restore relationship. It is often much more important to be kind than it is to be right.
31. Love Jesus with all you've got, and love others with all you've got, too.
32. Spend time alone with God every single day.
33. Explore and create new ways to speak in songs, hymns and spiritual songs, making melodies in your heart to the Lord.
34. Make your words count.
35. Smile more.

amy danielle


  1. What a perfectly wonderful list!

  2. Thank you Pom Pom. You are always so kind and encouraging. I could definitely learn a thing or two from you, friend. Xx


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