Well, it's finally here. 2021 has begun and it is a year full of hope and expectation for so many of us. 2020 was something wasn't it? It's definitely one for the history books that's for sure and one we won't soon or ever forget.
For the past few years, as each new year would approach, I have heard God whisper a word or a theme for the new coming year. A theme, a goal that would continue to burn in my mind and at times wake me up in the night. Hindsight being 20/20, (pardon the pun), I can look back and see that God was nudging me in a direction, encouraging me and preparing me with those themes and words. As a result, I've grown to anticipate this, to listen for it and seek it out. With seemingly everyone eager to kick 2020 to the curb and start a fresh year full of hopes and dreams, I have been looking and listening to what theme God would have for me this year. What direction would God lead me in? What is He preparing me for? What does God want to bless me with? I have found that all three of those questions work in symphony together. That's the beauty of God. As He guides, teaches, and instructs us, He simultaneously is blessing and building us up and it's all wrapped up in His love.
The word that has been running through my mind the past few weeks is the word raw. I know it might sound random. Everyone has a word association with this one and it can run the gamut, haha. But raw is what burns in my heart for this year. I want to live in the raw. I want to peel back all the packaging, all the pretense and live a raw existence.
This Christmas as I thought about this it inspired me to do something. To ditch the ribbon. To boycott the bows, haha. It's true. I didn't buy one bow or one piece of ribbon and I did it on purpose. It was somewhat in defiance really and it was symbolic for me. A full boycott of the bows! I just have the desire to remove all the cover up, all the packaging, the smoke screens and smoke machines, fakeness in any and all forms and just reveal true authenticity in all areas of life. Aren't we all so done with the deceit that seems to penetrate so many areas of life? The insane cover ups, and distractions galore that somehow seem to have become a way of life, can make life so murky, giving us a cloudy and distorted view that can potentially rob us from a raw and authentic life that God has for us. I don't know about you but you can go ahead and put a fork in me. I'm done.
The focus of this blog from the beginning has been to run in the freedom God provides in body, soul and spirit, and living in the raw is in such harmony with that. Below are the three areas I feel God calling me to live a real and raw life.
Living In the raw in Body
Don't you just love a fresh start? Even that phrase, "fresh start", it's so positive right? When we think of the word fresh we think new, clean, bright, untainted. I've already spoken about this on the blog so I'll try not to repeat myself but I can't say enough about how transformative choosing a plant based diet was for me. The holidays in all their glory are rough in regards to food. Let's just say I'm glad all the sees candy is gone. Now, we're moving on to a fresh start and jumping back on to that fresh food wagon. I can almost guarantee it'll make you feel 10 years younger. I'll be starting a 30 Day Plants Over Processed Challenge on Monday, January 11th. It's one I've done many many times with Earthy Andy. Will you join me? The goal is to eat more plants. I promise it's doable, will make you healthier on a cellular level, that you'll feel amazing, that it will help your body fight and resist illness, and can be a fun adventure we do together. I'll be posting on my Instagram, @runningfree11932. You can follow the challenge there and I will add some recipes on the blog. Obviously I'm not one of those influencers to look up to, haha. Anyone that knows me is like, "oh girl we know that mm hmm". I am that girl that will jump in the trenches with ya, that enjoys doing things together, and that believes their is power in community. Hope you'll join us!
Living in the Raw in Soul
For me I see living raw in my soul as just being as authentic as possible with people. To put forth no false pretense at all. I want to listen to people more. Like really listen. And I want to bare the deepest parts of me to others because when you do it allows them to feel safe and free to do the same and that's where the deepest, sweetest connections between people happen. I don't want to self preserve myself in those ways or play it safe. I want to be willing to show all of my flaws and not feel compelled to hide them in fear of judgment or being shunned by others. Life is too short for that and connection with others, I mean real, raw, deep connection is too precious. Being vulnerable and fearless; being my raw self for the benefit of others is 2021. There are so many needs out there. Have you ever seen so much fear, stress, and anxiety in your whole life? I have not. I pray 2021 is a year that God reveals and shows us new ways to open ourselves up to people for their benefit. It truly is more blessed to give than to receive.
Living in the raw in Spirit
I've been thinking about this one a lot and feeling pretty convicted. As I thought about those bows and ribbons at Christmas time I wondered to myself, "is that what I do with the Gospel?" Do I require the perfect themed paper with a matching ribbon and the cutest most sparkly name tag to adorn and address it before I'll send it? Many of us would never dream of giving someone a gift in a brown paper lunch sack or just holding it bare in our hands, price tag still hanging off of it, wrinkled perhaps. We wouldn't dream of it. We would perhaps be horrified at the thought of being so tacky, of potentially looking bad, being in bad form, or being rejected or thought poorly of by the giftee. I realized this Christmas that I often times do that with sharing the Good News of the Gospel and it kind of wrecked me. It wrecked me in the best way. In the conviction way that spurs you onto victory and change in that area. The Gospel, the Good News of Jesus. It's THE greatest news of all time ever and it's for everyone. Why would I feel the need to adorn it, to improve its presentation as if it wasn't good enough all by itself? Somehow I find myself in a place where I feel like I have to present it just right, with perfect timing, perfect wrapping. And you know what? Most of the time I don't have the luxury of all of that so I don't share it. I realize that the climate of our society has influenced me in ways I had not noticed. Like a thief in the night it robbed me of simplicity, of freedom and deceived me into thinking I have to present things that are palatable to society or I shouldn't share or speak of it. Can you say political correctness? What a lie from the pit of Hell. I am but a mouth piece. I have no power to convince or save anyone. I am simply called to be an empty vessel, a mouth piece for God to use. Of course we don't want to be rude, pushy or insensitive, but political correctness or societal pressure should not be the deciding factor in when, where and how we share Jesus with others whether they be someone hearing the Gospel for the first time, a prodigal that needs to be loved and encouraged back to Truth, or a young Christian who could use some encouragement, and guidance.
I am so so grateful how God so gently guides and corrects us, leading us in the direction He would have us to go. When we ignore Him or choose to seek our own path leaving Him out of the decision making processes of life we miss out on soooo much goodness, grace, growth and love.
So, living in the raw:
- eating food in it's natural state as much as possible for optimal, power filled living in our body
- living authentic, open lives for the benefit of others leaving self preservation in the past
- sharing the love of Jesus with anyone and everyone He brings on our path through the guidance of the Holy Spirit not through the filter of societal pressures and political correctness.
So, Happy New Year to you friends! I pray this year is filled with love, peace, rest, growth, and simplicity for you. I pray God continues to peel back the layers both on a national and personal level and that you experience a year filled with the rawness of God and His presence in ways you could have never imagined.
So what's God put on your heart for the coming year? What are you sensing, hoping and praying for? I'd love to hear your thoughts, hopes and dreams for 2021
Big hugs and lots of love,
Lisa Gresham is married to her husband Marty, and is currently in her 12th year homeschooling their youngest daughter Bailey. She is a grandma, and is currently working with the Youth at her Church. She is a retired High School Teacher and Coach, is an avid Writer and has her Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Development. You will frequently find her on the beaches of Orange County in Southern California, her favorite dwelling place.