Love it or Leave it !  {2019–What We Loved & What We Need to Leave Behind}

Love it or Leave it ! {2019–What We Loved & What We Need to Leave Behind}

It’s always a matter of sorting isn’t it. Keep or discard. “Touch it once,” my friend once advised. Dump or recycle.

It feels like sorting through stacks of paper on your dining room table or desk. Each pile representing a chapter of your life — experiences, life-events, failures, successes, new seasons, deaths, births, sickness and health, relationships, birthdays, family gatherings, pain and sorrow, joy and laughter.

Then, lo and behold, there appeared a set of empty file folders labeled, “2020” on the side table — fresh and clean — anticipating the new material filled with stories of the new year.

But there’s a crucial area between the dining room table and the side table and that’s where you and I stand at the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year. It’s a space of grace between 2019’s table of contents and 2020’s yet-to-be-written stories.

If you’re like me, you’re overwhelmed just looking at the whole mess. Fully aware of the fact that no one has come up with a hand strong enough to hold back the new year from arriving until we’re “ready” for it, you and I both know we’ve got to plow through and move on with the seasons …like it or not.

Let’s declare January as a grace month to transition.

Have a trash can ready and start with one pile at a time. Every other day or so, go through the stories, the feelings, the emotions, the responses, the experiences, the lessons from each chapter. In each “pile,” decide what is worth keeping? What life-lessons, responses, perspectives, habits, rhythms are worth carrying over into the folders for the new year? And what pages need to be left behind …edited out of the continuing script.

Finish that first pile and stop for coffee. Sit. Rest. Don’t let regret or shame sit with you. Be thankful for every experience that gave insight into who you are and the places you’re still growing into a healthier version of you.

Don’t be afraid to look at the not-so-good stuff. It won’t bite you but don’t let it subtly slip into next year like a sneaky cat. (My grandson and I have a mutual fear of sneaky cats.)

Since I wouldn’t ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself , here’s a small sampling of things I want to “leave” in 2019 and “love” into 2020.

Leave behind…

Resentment — the tapes I kept replaying in my head — poisonous ones. Those need to be burned like the Mission Impossible tapes back in the day …”Your mission, should you decide to accept it,” along with, “This tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds. Good luck,” Joy. That’s what needs to happen to my resentment rehearsal tapes.

Anxiety about parking in parking garages, backing up , and things like that …

Offense. Letting the words and opinions of others carry so much weight only weighs me down. I’m left with a hurt I actually inflicted on myself! It also reveals pride and insecurity …both of which I need to leave behind as well!


“In 2019, I learned that sometimes you can’t side-hustle your way into the life you want. Sometimes you have to surrender it. Sometimes you have to give up in order to reclaim the essential thing at the heart of it all.”

From an Instagram post by Addie Zierman

What to love enough to carry into the new year

Walking it out with Jesus — That’s been life-giving to me at so many levels …physically, spiritually and emotionally. It clears my brain, refreshes my body and soul and gives opportunity for God to show up along the way through people as well as creation.

Morning Pages — My son, Ben, put me on to Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist Way in which she challenges you to write 3 pages every morning as soon as you wake up (and grab your coffee, of course) to unclutter your mind…a kind of “brain dump” writing exercise, as she describes. I’m both hooked and inspired by this and her writing has encouraged me to move deeper into the kind of artist God has made me to be. And just in case you’re dismissing that right away because you think you’re not a painter or poet, it’s so much more than that. It’s about being who the Great Creator created you to be… whatever that may be. Try it. You’ll like it. I promise!

Letting go of …control, the need to fix people OR things, the perfect life I’ve tried to create, obsessing over so many things (too many things to obsess over trying to recount them here). While this may sound like a “leave behind” item, it’s actually a discipline I need to carry into every year, most likely. Alas, whether I like it or not, it seems to be a “thing” to “love” into the new year.

Intentional Time with Family and close friends — I’m more passionate than ever that I need time with my family and that core of close friends to be healthy and whole. This is my tribe. We have to stick close to carry each other through until we get to the other side. This is non-negotiable and every investment I make is and investment worthwhile …always a significant ROI.

As I was walking it out with Jesus the other day, this song began playing over and over in my head and I realized of all the “things” I want to carry with me into the New Year, this is the deeper longing and desire of my heart …to take the name of Jesus with me wherever I go. I’ve found Him to be my only true hope and the anchor for my soul in every chapter, every story, and every year of my life.

Take the name of Jesus with you,
Child of sorrow and of woe.
It will joy and comfort give you,
Take it then where’er you go.

Precious name, O how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of heaven;
Precious name, O how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of heaven.


Lydia Baxter

My One Word for 2020 …coming soon.

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Daphne Campbell

    Joy, thank. you for this truly “life giving momentz”!! God has truly blessed you with the gift of words and thus encouragement. I had fallen asleep reading this, and found it when I opened my tablet just now! What a blessing! I plan to read it again shortly and take some notes for my “GRATEFULNESS JOURNAL”. As I am piled up in my bed with my hubs lying beside me with a headache from his Tuesday surgery, I do thank God for another day to be together. He was raised in a Quaker home, and speaks differently about spiritual truths than the “Godspeak” and “Christianese” that I grew up with. Sometimes that is refreshing, and sometimes when his jargon picked up from comrades in war comes out, it is a challenge to put the intended meaning together. I am glad God brought us together, though, and that God wanted me to still be learning about people HE died for,, even as I approach age seventy this May! (How did THAT happen??). My intention this year is to share what God is teaching me with a wider audience through the internet. I have purchased some equipment to hold my phone while sharing my art journey as a means to share my spiritual journey. What has held me back? My environment has become so cluttered since July 17, 2003, when I fell down my concrete front porch steps, triggering intractable pain, that has not been resolved…..making it hard to FIND items I need, or THINK I need. Also, making it hard to put together a filming space that would not be distracting to a viewer. SIMPLIFY! I am thinking of a folding screen behind me, or in front when needed. I have two, I think, out in one RV, which we have never been able to use, as cancer was found in Dick’s hip right after I bought it. I think there is one in the RV we brought back from Key West in June, due to hurricane damage. I will try to clarify my thoughts as I can on my regular platforms. You are truly a life giving woman of God, and I thank Him for your contact with my life.

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to respond. That means a lot and encourages me along this journey. You definitely need to step out and share the gifts God has given you in whatever you can right now. For me, the Spirit began reminding me to “use what’s in my hands” and I realized my cell phone was pretty equipped with a lot of technology to start as well as my laptop for writing, etc. He’s had me step out in some pretty remarkable places lately without “having it all together” yet. 🙂 It’s been a good discipline of faith and trusting God for His plan and that what He births in you, He’ll be responsible for the process and outcome. Step out. It doesn’t have to be perfect. He’ll direct and help you along the way. It’s been good therapy for me as well as coming to the realization that my (our) gifts can’t be kept to ourselves. They have to go out for His Kingdom purposes. Blessings and peace as you step out, my friend. Love you!

  2. Daphne Campbell

    Is there a way for me to correct spelling once my comment is already posted? My fingers are too large for the keyboard I am tapping on, and sometimes I literally don’t see the bloopers in time!

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Haha — I think I may be the only one who can do that from the site administrative space. No worries. All is well.

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