Goodbye past

Closing Doors and Opening Windows…the art of gracefully moving forward and pursuing your dreams.

As we leave 2016 we close the door to more than a year on the calendar and step into something so much bigger than turning the page. This life is yours for the making and I truly believe you are gifted and called to something unique. So let’s close the door of what didn’t work and open the window of hope and newness. Let’s embrace what we’ve learned and grow into what is yet to be, what we are growing into, what we are becoming!  Taking time to reflect on the past and ponder your hopes and dreams brings clarity and fosters growth for the future. To help you with that I’ve created a free mini-workbook you can get HERE. You might want to add it to your journal and reflect on it in the coming weeks as you move into the new year. Let the past be just that...the past. Click To Tweet Here are a few questions to consider:
  • What did I learn?
  • What surprised me?
  • What do I need to let go of?
  • What was my big “AHA”?
  Let’s open the window Opening the proverbial window of hope may sound cliche but it’s really not and here’s why; research shows that people who embrace hope are not only more successful, but healthier physically and emotionally. {Here’s a great article from Psychology Today}.  I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been in a place of hopelessness and it’s not so fun, maybe you can relate? 

If 2016 was less than a stellar year for you, I want to encourage your heart right now. I know what it’s like to go through those times that seem never ending, where you feel like you can’t take anymore. Or your’e so disappointed that you didn’t get the call, the job, the ring, the feature, the sale or the pink lines on the test strip.  It’s gut wrenching and heartbreaking. For some situations, there simply aren’t words, so I won’t even try to speak to that here. I don’t want to diminish what you’ve been through in any way. For those things that do have words I want to share a few things that I learned from my year in review:

  • Something that didn’t happen when I had hoped, doesn’t mean that dream is forever lost{insert mega hope}. It does have a bit of a sting, it does leave me wondering,”if not now, when?” Wondering how long I will wait leads to other questions: Is it worth the wait?  Do I want it bad enough to wait, to explore my heart and to possibly let go? 
  • There are some things in life that are simply not meant to be. *deep, heavy sigh* I don’t like that answer, AT ALL! Can I be honest with you and just say I strongly identify with a 5 year old that wants a happy meal, now! What I learned specifically about that is, it is ok to want something and to be disappointed when it doesn’t happen. It’s not a character flaw by any means. We all come to this place with a suitcase packed full of hopes and dreams. God wired you different than me. You and I will have different hopes and dreams and that makes us who we are…not right or wrong.
  • I am choosing to live in a place of hope, yes, choosing…stay with me here, I’ll explain below.
My big takeaway for things that didn’t happen in 2016: Finding Grace to Let Go.

Free printable here

Finding the grace to let go of what wasn’t meant for me wasn’t easy and probably won’t be when I have disappointments in the future, but the more grace I practice, the easier it becomes. There are many ways to practice grace, here are a few I found work well when applied liberally as needed:

  • Acknowledging how you really feel and understanding that feelings are not right or wrong, they simply “are”. Allow yourself to feel how you feel. Do you let yourself feel, I mean truly feel? Or do you catch yourself saying, ” it doesn’t matter, I shouldn’t care, etc and beating yourself up?” My hand goes up, I’m guilty of that. Nothing good comes from this…ever, ever!
  • Accepting the who and what of a situation that doesn’t serve you well, disappoints you, or hurts you is not the same thing as agreeing with it. There’s grace in walking away, grace in letting that thing be and grace in taking the higher road.
  • Patience molds character and is a virtue?  Yes, I’m posing that as a question. This is another one I’m not in love with but happens to be true. We live in a fast pace world and “have it your way” compliments of the Burger King slogan has been a game-changer to our culture. I’ve learned to just be patient with myself, that’s all I can control anyway. When I blow it, I remind myself that I’m a work in progress, just like everyone else and some days I need extra grace to make it through.

There’s an old saying, you’ve probably heard it before, “the future belongs to those that believe.” I like that, but I like this better; “The future belongs to those that hope and believe.” Stop right here, put your hand on your heart and say “I have hope and I believe in my future.”  Write that on a post it note and put it on your mirror, set it as a daily reminder on your phone. This is what is called a transformational belief. It’s transformational because what you believe is the narrative your subconscious plays on a loop in your head. This is where the power of choice comes into play, because you have the power to choose what you believe. So, what do you really believe?

Choose wisely

Use your super power

You have the power of choice, the most valuable and powerful tool in your life. Maybe you haven’t realized how empowered you actually are by that one six-letter word?  Perhaps you feel that life’s circumstances haven’t given you a choice? I understand just how you feel and that’s a doozie, so let’s take that apart. {grab the free mini-workbook here} There are some circumstances we do not have control over such as loss, so let’s be careful how we label and respond to that. {This post is certainly not meant to deal with loss} How we respond and categorize life’s issues is where our power of choice comes in.  You have the power of choice, the most valuable and powerful tool in your life. Click To Tweet Let’s circle back to our hopes and dreams and look at how the power of choice can be applied. I’m going to use three of my dearest friends as examples of how following a dream can impact, bless and encourage others. I want you to see that hopes and dreams can impact the world in different ways than you might have traditionally thought.  Cheryl Turner, the owner of Paris In A Cup Tea Salon came from a banking background but had a passion for antiques and tea. After owning an antique store she opened her breathtaking tearoom. She followed her heart’s passion and created jobs in her community and a highly sought after venue for holding special events such as showers, book signings and birthday parties. I’ve been there many times for lunch and it’s a place full of laughter and memory making over pots of tea and food too pretty to eat.  Lidy Baars, owner of French GardenHouse an online high end antiques store followed her passion for European antiques. What I love about her business is that she deals in collectibles, heirlooms and extremely hard to find pieces from France. Many of her clients find treasures on her site that complete a set of heirloom china or a cherished locket that reminds them of one their mother wore.  Amber Anderson of the French Pressed Home Bakery took her passion for baking and creating custom cakes to a whole new level. She and her husband bought and renovated an abandoned building that was full of tremendous history and memories in their community. She wanted a place where ‘folks could gather and enjoy something hot and delicious.” She also wanted to teach her children a strong work ethic while giving back to her community. Her creations are as delicious as they are beautiful.  What do these three women have in common? Hopes, dreams and the desire to be used to bring joy to others. Each is uniquely gifted and uses the gifts God gave her. Amber’s cakes are simply stunning and bring joy to her customers and her bakery is a delicious haven where you can sit by the fire.  Cheryl’s tearoom is a destination for memory making or to take a break from the hurry of the world and simply “be”.  Lidy’s treasures are reminiscent of a trip to France and her blog features how to graciously entertain with beautiful things, a truly lost art. What if these women had not followed their hopes and dreams? The world would have missed out on very big gifts. Grab the free mini workbook HERE if you haven’t yet:) Dear friend, what are your hopes and dreams? What are your gifts? Use your super power of choice and choose to pursue that hope in your heart. Take a chance on yourself and let this next year be your best year ever. If you are ready to dream out loud and embrace your gifts, I invite you to work with me. Let’s make a plan that works for you. My New Year’s special gives you 3 mini-strategy sessions of 30 minutes via skype or phone for $150.00. Offer expires February 19, 2017.

When life gives you the unexpected and you doubt your dreams, here's how to move forward with grace.


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Sharon Hughes