Spilling the Secret to Living Your Life Like a Boss

We are not sissies.

Or whiners.

We’re not quitters.

Or victims.

Here’s to doing the hard things in 2017.

I don’t really subscribe to the New Year’s resolution. In fact, I have vegetables in my refrigerator that will outlast most of the declarations of change blowing on the wind today.

But I am a sucker for a good starting point. The writer in me likes a rich, symbolic beginning: birthdays, anniversaries, the start of school or summer, the start of a new job…………and a new year.

So…..I’m wondering……can we make a collective commitment here for 2017? Something akin to a group resolution? Perhaps if we do it together, we might actually see it through to some sort of success. A support group for strong women who want to be stronger. If we could all persist in doing one thing that could make the most dramatic difference in our lives in the next twelve months, I think it would be this…

I will do the hard things.

This single determination will decide the impact of our 2017.

Hands down.

Without question.

So what is the landscape of “the hard things”? They’re the things that live on an incline. They’re hard to reach, and your inner naysayer will venomously suggest they require more than you have.

But you are stronger than you know. And you will only touch that by testing the bounds. By pushing you harder than you ever have.

It may look like getting healthy, losing weight, making better food choices, exercising self-discipline, running a 10K.

It may look like intentionally loving and serving a hard, distant spouse while allowing Jesus to fill your need to be loved and protected. It may look like choosing to forgive a cheating spouse for your own freedom and health. It may look like marriage counseling – with or without your spouse.

That’s the hard thing.

It may look like brave, honest, scary, big steps to beat an addiction. Maybe it’s checking yourself into rehab.

It may look like opening your mouth to someone you trust to say, “I’m drowning and I need help.” And then following through with difficult action steps.

It may be the heavy lifting of faith. Believing what we know when our feelings are screaming something different. Such unreliable wretches our feelings are.

If it feels like it may kill you, you’re probably on the right track.

It may be removing yourself from social media because the comparison and the falsehood devours your soul.

It may be doing the thing that terrifies you.

Maybe it’s a difficult confession. A secret that imprisons you with fear and lies. If I know anything, I know the haunt of the hidden. And the healing that is possible with its release.

It may be committing to get up and shower and dress every morning when the depression beckons you to stay in bed. To go outside and walk around the block for fresh air. To go to dinner with friends. When you feel like every step and every breath is a slogging through the mud of heaviness and hopelessness.

It may be making huge sacrifices to get out of debt.

It may be a dogged persistence to awaken at 5:30 to spend time with Jesus. And don’t dare tell me you can’t. We do what’s important to us. It will take a while to create that habit, so don’t cop out the first week with, “I just can’t.” Rubbish. You can do it, friend.

I will do the hard things.

And if we do great for ten days and suck on Day 11. Then we get our butts up on Day 12 and get back after it.

And if we suck for the whole month of April. Then we start again on May 1.

It’s really not how many days we win that will determine our success. It’s what we do the day after we fail that will. Failure is part of the process. Expect it. Use it. If we allow it to fuel our efforts, we will last for the long haul.

That’s the hard thing.

That’s how we change.

That’s how we LIVE.

We were made to do hard things, but we coddle our lazy, scared selves and call it self-preservation. We call it our right. We claim it as our luxury. Frightfully, we may even call it wisdom. When it’s deluded self-sabotage.

We were fashioned to do hard things.

We will dig deep, friends.

And there will be two vital principles we must espouse for success.

  1. I will not despise the day of small beginnings (Zechariah 4:10). This is the graveyard of dreams and goals. Look around; the headstones mark the heart’s desires of millions. In loud, showy, sparkly, sexy, BIG America, we have lost respect for the small, good thing. We think our “thing” is only valid if it impresses thousands, costs thousands, or helps thousands. Garbage. The new American Dream (big on fast, short on effort) is a societal construct not consistent with our inner fabric. Newly married couples should have houses furnished with hand-me-downs not debt. Folks trying to lose weight should celebrate two pounds a week. Folks following a dream have to wake up, believe, and work hard even when that twenty-four hours holds no signs of progress. We cannot languish in the days of small beginnings; we cannot underestimate the impact of simply sticking with a thing day after day.
  2. I will have a long-term goal with a short-term perspective. We must daily slay the temptation to feel overwhelmed. For instance, my body is vertically challenged and bent towards roundness. If I told myself, “You have to eat healthy and exercise for the rest of your life if you want to maintain a healthy weight,” I would want to quit before I started. That sounds daunting and terrible. But if I just have to do it today, that feels totally doable. I can exercise and eat healthy for one day. And then I wake up tomorrow and tell myself the same thing. Because a whole bunch of todays stapled together make a month. They make a new habit. They make a changed life.

Whatever your “thing” is for the next season of life, fight on, fierce one. I’m cheering you on all the way. I’m believing in you even when you’re not. I’ve got faith you can borrow. Because you were made for better things.

And we will not be selfish in the fight. We will not get up simply to make our lives more palatable. To be happier. To focus on me, me, me. We will use our strength to help and serve and love.

And, in the end, we will find ourselves happier, more whole, more fulfilled than we ever dreamed possible.

Here’s to doing the hard things in 2017.

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10 Comments

  1. Vickie foxx
    Vickie foxxReply
    January 1, 2017 at 9:17 am

    I will do the hard things in 2017.

    • Cookie Cawthon
      January 1, 2017 at 9:56 am

      And I will be praying for you and cheering you on, Vickie. You’ve got this, beautiful friend.

  2. Cheryl
    CherylReply
    January 1, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Once again, Cookie hits me between the eyeballs. Let’s do this hard thing – actually several hard things!!!! Love you and thanks for sharing your heart with us!!

    • Cookie Cawthon
      January 1, 2017 at 10:10 am

      Happy New Year, Cheryl! And here’s to a year of fighting the good fight, loving like Jesus, and waking up and doing the hard things! Bring it, 2017.

  3. Melissa Brock
    Melissa BrockReply
    January 1, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Great message sweet lady! Thanks for encouragement that I need❤️️❤️️

    • Cookie Cawthon
      January 1, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      I hope your 2017 is full of all the blessings and rewards that come with doing the hard things, Melissa! Press on, friend.

  4. Ferebe
    January 2, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Thanks, Cookie… How did you get so wise while still so young????

    • Cookie Cawthon
      January 2, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Unfortunately, Ferebe, a lifetime of difficult correction from the Lord. Only Jesus.

  5. Martha Davis
    Martha DavisReply
    January 2, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Cookie, my starting point for doing the hard things was my 61st birthday on 12/28! I’ve been doing some hard things, though unintentional, for a long time! Last year, I intentionally decided I wanted to be healthier and make lifestyle changes to ensure I stayed healthy.

    On 12/28/16, I was over 70 pounds lighter and a specimen of health . . . on paper. Perfect labs, perfect BP, fewer medications. But despite what the doctor and lab reports say, after 10 years, I still suffer from worsening fatigue that affects my life in ways that irritate the daylights out of me!

    The changes I made last year were good ones. But after listening to your video on being joyful based on 1 Thessaloians 5:16-18, I realized that I’d been giving my physical health far more attention than my spiritual and emotional health.

    I spent most of last year fretting over a broken relationship in my family and my sadness over the situation had a negative inpact on my relationship with other members of my family. Typically, after everything’s over and everyone’s left for their respective homes, I fall apart and weep for a couple of days. But this Christmas, for the first time in 4 years, I didn’t shed a single tear over the absenc of loved ones from our family celebration! Hallelujah!

    While I’ve been happy over my weight loss and improved physical health, I’ve had frequent pity parties about the unrelenting fatigue that has limited my physical abilities and made me so dependent on my husband. I haven’t driven in over two years. But shouldn’t I have been praising Jesus for a loyal husband who has done so much for me with little complaining? I’ve bemoaned the loss of friendships that have fallen by the wayside over the past 10 years. Silly me! Those friendships weren’t the real deal
    anyway!

    I had been telling myself that my 61st year was going to be a year of a renewed sense of purpose and spiritual and emotional healing for me. I made an appointment with a Christian counselor. I contacted a trusted axcquaintance who is so grounded in her faith that I knew she would listen to me spill my guts and promise to pray for me. Before even hearing about the issues that have often taken my eyes off Jesus, this precious lady told me she was doing a 40-day prayer fast and asked if I’d like to partner with her. She suggested a book and it’s no surprise that the book was one I’d purchased and never read. And then, I listened to your video . . .

    I was immediately struck by your words on the first time you felt real joy. I was convicted by what you said about being in continual conversation with Jesus. That day, I prayed for at least two hours in one sitting! The words pored out of me! I prayed again that night. The next day, I was grateful for time alone because I couldn’t wait to talk to Jesus again!

    Cookie, thank you for your video and this post! The video affirmed my commitment to be joyful, regardless of my circumstances. This blog post convinced me that I am ready to improve my emotional and spiritual health in the coming year and that I can live a life of purpose that honors God! There are lots of people with greater affirmities than mine who serve the Lord in amazing ways!

    You know I always get carried away when I see how the Lord is using you, Cookie! Pray with me, girl! The Lord has, and will, do great thing!

    • Cookie Cawthon
      January 2, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      Gah, Martha. Thank you for sharing your journey. We are all a continual work in progress. Here’s to joy and hard things in 2017! And peace and love too…. 🙂

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