I’ve always been a pretty nostalgic person – always made it a point to reflect and look at life as one big story – so it makes sense that New Year’s is my favorite.
Every year I like to reflect back and dream forward but this year I had so much more material to work with. Looking back, thinking of where we were a year ago at this time – in Michigan quite literally at the end of our rope – it blows my mind to see what God has done in 365 days. Through a series of circumstances, He gave us a ” George Bailey” experience as well as precious time with family and friends, grew us spiritually, stretched us beyond what we thought was possible and brought us back home to Alabama. To honor the cliche, hindsight really is 20/20. I can see how God moved in many ways; I can understand the reason behind certain struggles, I can find the silver lining.
But I can’t for the life of me predict the future.
When Christians set goals, we are partnering with God. We are jumping up, raising our hand, standing at attention saying “I’m here. I’m available. I’m ready.” It would be a grave mistake to think we have the right to say, “Okay, Lord, here’s what I need to happen this year.” That’s why prayer covers all goal setting.
My husband and I have made it a habit to sit down together around January 1 and discuss our goals for the upcoming year. For years, this meeting has failed miserably. It has failed because my expectations were too high; I am an extremely goal-driven person – Lee is not – and I am always flabbergasted that he doesn’ t magically become one at these meetings. It has failed because I have dragged him out to a public place to discuss private matters and ultimately force him to endure a situation he might not otherwise be inclined to participate in. It has failed because instead of coming with an open mind and key topics to discuss, I come with the whole year in a nutshell and want him to be engaged with every detail, ultimately agreeing with all of my great ideas.
This year, the meeting was a success. I went into it recognizing that as much as he loves and values our family, this is my thing. I’m the one who loves to chart our course and his strength is steering the ship. It was a success because I skimmed over what I’d written down and asked him which areas he wanted to chime in on instead of needing his opinion on every minute detail (does he care if I keep up a 1 coffee to 2 water ratio? Probably not ;)). It was a success because instead of a busy bookstore during the holiday season, I poured a couple of glasses of wine and we hung out in a quiet room at home while the kids watched a movie in another room. It was a success because, at the end of the meeting, we laid all of our goals down and prayed over them, recognizing that “we can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” (Proverbs 16:9).
Goal setting is a matter of good stewardship. God is sovereign but we are responsible for our time here. We’re all on the clock and goal setting asks the question… “how are you spending your working hours?”
As a homeschool mom, it can feel like educating your children is your only job. While motherhood is full-time, it is not “full-you.” In fact, if you allow it to become all of you, you’ll have nothing to pour out for your children. Goal setting is very much a way to take on the responsibility of shaping your family culture, your marriage, your children and yourself.
It helps me to break this down into categories. I put them in order of priority as a reminder that if I am strong in one, it will trickle down and benefit the others. The stronger you are spiritually, the better your marriage; the better your marriage, the better your mothering; the better your mothering, the better your homeschool, and so on. None of these can exist without each other because they comprise who you are. With my goals in categories, I can see where I’m uneven and if I’m lacking in areas that need growth. It shows me where God is working in my life and helps me – just ever so slightly – get a glimpse into the future.
If you are so inclined, set your own goals using mine as a template but remember the examples are just that – examples to inspire you, not to compare yourself to. And by all means, after you come up with some goals for the year, have a sit-down with the hubby. Just remember, leave your expectations at the door, keep an open mind, and don’t forget the wine ;).
Family Focus: Contentment
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
– Philippians 4:12-13
Join a small group
1 coffee: 2 water ratio
Trip – just us
Attend Son-Rise Max Impact in April with Lee
Plant a garden
Stick with the daily routine
Write Booklist for the Well-Read Mom
Sign up to be a greeter