After much thought and prayer, I have finalized my goal list for 2014. In years past, I was quick to write any & every thing that came to mind that I wanted to change or add to my life. But this year, I wanted to be mindful of what I set before me so that 2014 could begin with intention.
1. GOD: Memorize scripture.
2. DAVID: Stop picking fights.
3. JACK & TRISTAN: Get off my phone.
4. SELF: Seek better health.
5. KINGDOM: Give…myself, my story and my $/things.
First, MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE. Throughout Christmas and January, while my Mops bible study is on break, I have been doing a study with my friend Bethany called “Me, Myself & Lies” by Jennifer Rothschild. With this study, Jennifer encourages you to look your “thought closet” and examine the things you think and say to yourself on a daily basis. Well, needless to say, I am someone who is very self-critical and through this study, I have learned to reevaluate what (and why) I talk to myself in the ways I do. She encourages you to memorize scripture so that you can combat lies with truth. The other book I’ve been reading is “Becoming Myself,” by Stasi Elredge. This woman is my best friend right now! She and I are sisters from another mister, peas in a pod, two nuts off the same tree! In her book, she also discusses the importance of memorizing scripture so that you can accept who God has made you. But here’s my confession, even as a seminary graduate, I don’t know much scripture. I know specific verses and I know generally where things are in the bible but I’ve never really set out to learn it and “hide it in my heart,” as some Christians would say. Not until now. I don’t know if it’s maturity, a new season in life or just the after-effects from living out 2013, but I now see the importance of scripture in my life. I want to learn and I want to memorize. I want to be able to teach my children about God using scripture.
With that said, Stacy & Barry over at Stacy Makes Cents said that if you do make resolutions for the New Year to create ones that are S.M.A.R.T. and most importantly for me, measurable! So, my goal this year for intentionally growing closer to God is to memorize 12 verses. I’m only doing 12 because there are 12 months in a year and that will keep my overzealous self at bay. My first verse is Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and he will establish your plans.” This applies to my blog, my parenting, my marriage and my friendships.
Second, STOP PICKING FIGHTS WITH DAVID. This subject is a little embarrassing for me to confess but this blog is about embracing my imperfection so here’s my dirty laundry…I pick fights for attention. While God has been working on this area of my life for a while, it wasn’t until I reached Week 3, Day 1 of the MML study when Jennifer brought up feelings. She said to think of a time when your emotions got out of control and asked what kinds of thoughts or actions resulted. Well, that was easy for me because just that day, I had picked a fight with David, getting mad over nothing and causing a big scene in front of my children and my brother-in-law who was visiting that weekend. As I sat in the restaurant parking lot, steaming mad at my husband, my sweet brother in law stayed in the car with me while I wiped away tears and swallowed my pride. He told me that he cared about me but said that it seemed like I created no-win situations with David. Wow. Talk about eye-opening. I sat there and asked myself, “Why do you do that? Why are you even mad right now?” It all boiled down to attention. My friend, Anna, said one time that sometimes we hold our husbands to a standard that is unreachable. We expect our husbands to give more than they are able. And for me, my desire for quality time was not being met but instead of telling him that, I was overreacting to everything else in our life.
The measurable aspect of this goal is to stop, breathe, pray and journal my out-of-control emotions. We are going to budget for more date nights and he has been more than willing to spend time with me even when he is exhausted from work. And I’ve learned to stop holding him to this standard and allow him time to rest and play. The most important thing I’ve learned is that I want our marriage to be one of mutual love & understanding, not obligation.
Third, GET OFF MY PHONE. It’s funny how I’ve come across so many articles recently on disconnecting from the interwebs (love you, Ashley) and spending that time with your family, more specifically, your children. I have had a love/hate relationship with my smart phone since I got one for Christmas in 2010. Should I switch back or keep it? What about the GPS function? Should I delete my facebook app? How much money would I save to go back to a “dumb” phone? Turns out, not that much. I called this summer and the Verizon rep said I would only save $10/month and instead he lowered my monthly bill by $30. So I kept it. It wasn’t until Lent of 2013 when I deleted my facebook account that I realized just how much time I spent on my phone. It took me a while to come back to FB but I finally caved when I had Tristan and wanted to share his cuteness with the world. And just like that, I fell back into the habit of posting all the time. I have pared down on a lot of my posts and maintain a steady flow of day-t0-day funnies, prayer requests and super cute photos, but I’m starting to realize (again) the time wasted on texting, Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest.
With that said, I want to get off my phone. I put it under Jack & Tristan since they are the most affected by it, but I know that David will also benefit from it. I will measure it by keeping a To-Do list for when I do get on the internet (things to look up, bills to pay, people to email) and intentionally spending one-on-one time with each child every day. Rather than mindlessly distracting myself on the internet, I will use this year to play trains, build towers, read more and cuddle.
Fourth, SEEK BETTER HEALTH. This is one that has been on my goal list for a long time. I chose to “seek better health” because it encompasses all of the things I need to do lose weight, exercise, eat better, cook more, etc. The way I will measure this is to first, learn to cook one new healthy recipe each month (12 total). And second, attempt to lose 50 lbs by 2015. There are 52 weeks in a year and I have about 50 lbs to lose before I am at my wedding weight. Although I don’t want to stress on the # on the scale, my ultimate goal is to be within a healthy BMI range so that I feel better and can focus on being a better wife and mother.
Finally, GIVE. When I thought about what I could do to be more intentional in the kingdom, I realized it was as simple as giving. This year, I want to give myself, my story and my $/things. I want to give myself to my family and my friendships. God has blessed me with amazing women in my life with whom I can be the real me. I have often been ashamed of who I am, what I have done in my past and who I want to become in the future. Often times, I would hold back in conversation, nod and only share things that I felt people would accept. But I finally learned to embrace myself and where I’ve been. In “Becoming Myself,” Stasi writes, “Our hope doesn’t rest on our finally getting it together. Our hope rests in Jesus.” (p.97) “God accepts us right at this moment and he wants us to accept ourselves as well. Embracing ourselves has nothing to do with arrogance or settling for a lower version of who we are. (It) has everything to do with embracing the goodness of God’s creative work in us. ..trusting God, believing that all he has made is glorious and good. And that includes us.” (pp.98-99) I also want to give my story. That will be measured through this blog and books that I hope to begin writing.
Finally, we will give our $ and our things. While we are regular givers, we are praying that God would allow us to support two specific ministries that mean a lot to us. I get nervous as I watch our budget dwindle and see the sacrifices that we’ll have to make but I am learning to think more like the widow who gave all she had. In regards to things, I continually find stuff we don’t need. Rather than selling it all, I feel like it would be better to give than spend the time trying to make my money back. If you’ve ever seen the Lorax, you’ll remember the the Thneed or “a Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need!” There are so many things out there that are marketed to fit our every need (my smart phone, for example) and too many times, we rush to buy it only to use it for a time and then stow it away, forgetting about it. As I strive to live with intention this year, I want to buy less thneeds and use our money on what counts. Thus, we will measure it with less spending and more giving.
Well, that’s it! A pretty lengthy post for 5 goals but I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my life. As always, thank you for reading! Good night!