by Anna Alessi

Apart to me can mean many things; however, I have recently used it in a question and a baseline to greet the day. While waiting for my coffee, I reflect on the blessings from yesterday. After I have gathered up as many as I can, I take a big breath and ask, “What am I doing today to set it apart from yesterday.” What habits, what truths, what openness, what words, what forgiveness, what relationships am I seeking, what decisions can I make, what bitterness can I set aside to make my day better? How can I search for the “apart” thoughts to springboard me into something new? How can a choice to find the apart behavior welcome opportunities I have never had before? Sometimes it’s as easy as taking a few extra minutes to load the dishwasher or hold the door for the person behind me. Sometimes it’s deeper. Sometimes it’s expressing a compliment or telling someone how they can pray for you. Being seen in your current thoughts or feelings can feel terrifying at first. In my experience, those moments when we express our struggles to a loved one or sometimes a stranger are the moments that are set apart. Not only for us but with the other person we share with. 

Yesterday I had a customer come into the store to buy a gift card for his wife. The transaction was typical until I went to hand him the bag. He looked at me and said, “You might remember my wife.”  He shared her name, but it didn’t ring a bell. He explained that I met her at an event a year ago, and we connected because she shared that her mother had just passed and was buying a cardinal bird for her siblings. I started crying instantly because I had prayed for that lovely woman for the whole year of 2022. I haven’t seen her since, but I have wondered about her. I have offered up countless prayers for God to keep her in the palm of his hand. That moment of him choosing to set that transition apart helped me. It was the most powerful reminder that I am right where God wants me. Like lightning, it set my heart apart in the biggest season of doubt I have been wandering through. He didn’t know I had journaled that morning, asking God to let me know if I am where He wants me to be. As the gentleman saw my reaction, he offered some words of encouragement but also a hug. His decision to set our interaction apart gave me the confirmation to keep going. You have that same opportunity today. The moments of apart thinking and action can also help us feel more connected and part of something bigger and navigate us towards more meaningful moments. 

Whatever happens, after you select the apart action is where the magic happens, instead of doing the same things every day and expecting different results (the definition of insanity). You are elevating your behavior and thoughts. Old keys won’t open new doors. I am mindful and awakened to create a whole new set of keys this year. Let’s do it together today and thrive as we set this year apart!

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