It’s February, so it seems fitting to talk about New Year expectations now that the new has worn off for most people. Also, I am a habitually late to the party of all things, so better to eventually show up at some point instead of not at all, right??
If you know me you’ll know I don’t do the resolution thing. Never have. I am just not disciplined enough to overwhelm myself with a list of unrealistic ideas that feel like brainchild plans for myself at the time.
Personally, I have always felt a little confused watching people try to restructure their entire life & discard years of habits all at once, and committing to do it on a certain date. I don’t know about you, but I have a ‘one thing at a time mom brain.’ All these strongholds didn’t show up overnight & it’s going to take a lot longer for me to be freed from them.
I do however, create goals & prayer targets for myself. I hit them when God’s timing & my appointment(s) to show up & do my part are divinely linked up. This eliminates pressure & disappointment. After all, God is the pilot of me, not me, even though I incessantly try to switch seats.
In 2015 I hit all my goals, plus some awesome answered prayer & restructuring happened that I never saw coming.
My aim was set on simple things: schedule a date night with Jason once a month, embrace each day more, capture memories with my mind or my camera encompassing the 4 of us, since Chase was moving to college last August, look for God in every situation bad or good, connect on the phone with people when I had free time & stop depending on social media to define relationships electronically, go straight into the spiritual gifts that God was truly revealing & crush fear at every turn; ignoring people who were pointing doubtful fingers watching me start from scratch- I could go on & on…. but my point is to meet you in this second month of the year & ask you, what do you want? Like profoundly in your guts crave? What is setting a fire in you even as you think of it, maybe your heart beats rapidly over the idea. And I ask, what’s keeping you from having it or those things?
These are things I often ask myself. I do a lot of self reflection. And with age I have learned if some one or some thing isn’t serving the purpose to help grow the answers to those questions or may be a possible stumbling block on the journey to accomplishment, then it’s time for a restructuring plan. That’s what I did for 2016. I saw what & who didn’t work & I didn’t just talk about those changes, I was obedient to put them in place.
To be brutally honest, I didn’t leap from bed on January 1 ready to hit it hard. I was more ‘meh’ about the whole thing. I didn’t even formally create a guideline or list, until probably a week or so into this year. That’s just how I do things. I like for the kinks of something new to be ironed out before I get on board.
There was also a season that I needed to prepare for backlash. You see, when you are the person who always reaches out, whether by email/texting/calling, people decide to become dependent on you to keep the relational wheels turning. Once you decide to focus more on God, on His call over you & use your free time more effectively, sometimes others will take a huge insult to such.
I recently encountered a single friend who asked, “I don’t hear from you as much anymore & wondered if you were upset with me since you always touch base.” My answer was obviously no, but I did mention they have a phone that is capable of outbound messages & contact like mine. I have a husband, children, I teach a class weekly that needs preparation, I write, I volunteer regularly throughout the week & I also need to sleep at some point to successfully maintain all of those things joyfully. If you miss me, then touch base with me, it’s pretty simple in my opinion.
Mentioning this to you readers, in the event that you are also the leader of networking in your personal connections. It’s hard to have people sit & wait on you to maintain the balance. Extremely difficult to never be checked on yourself, but God did not intend for any individual to carry the load of interaction alone. Even in scripture it states that we carry each other through seasons, trials & burdens. If someone doesn’t understand your obedience to God & family & takes a spirit of offense to those, you need to pray that God brings the peace to close the doors or heal that type of instability.
Now, I wanted to get you going on the best hand up I could think of in combining your ambitions easily in one place too.
I was going through unread emails & ran across one from Ann Voskamp. It was the most simple way to transform your New Year intentions into a small & practical design. I actually have mine on the fridge & look at it daily to pray over & to remind myself what I want in this current season & what that looks like for me.
I will provide you with the link also, just in case you’re burnt out on your other ideas or in the event you never made any plans, but feel like you should have something to stoke the fire in you. The download is free & there are several backgrounds to choose from so just scroll down to page 2 & 3 of her framables & select for printing: http://www.aholyexperience.com/sticky-notes/#23537-frameables/145706-option-5-this-is-the-year-i-purpose-to
The point is simple…. In 2016 I will purpose to: & then you run with it. Not promise to, not commit to, not swear to, just simply saying, “I am going to intend/aim/plan/design/shape myself to this list. When it’s time the fruit will grow & when it’s time the vine will be pruned. I know my job is to trust when God says go, then I have to move my feet. Especially when they feel cemented to the ground.
In case you look at the download & feel stumped or you’re still unsure how to pray or pull these points from yourself, I will share my list with you. *please be reminded, when I wrote mine I intended only for the people who live here to see it on the fridge, not you guys, so it’s kinda messy, but you’ll get the point. I even snapped pics of the front/back of my card, which I included at the bottom of this post.
In 2016 I Purpose To:
EMBRACE: Writing; My gifts
ENGAGE: More with Jason
BE: Stomio- God’s Mouthpiece (greek)
BELIEVE: God- despite my unbelief
BREAK: Chains- Idols- Addictive Behaviors
DAILY: Crush the serpent’s head
DO: Only what God says yes to!
LET GO: Of depressive thinking
LEARN: To take care of my body
LIVE: To just freaking live!!
GIVE: The way Jesus would
GROW: In the areas I’m resistant
FOCUS VERSE: (written on the back) Exodus 4:10-16 NLT w/a focus on v. 11 & 12, “Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth?” Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see, Is it not I the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak & I will instruct you in what to say.”
I do encourage you prior to identifying the aspirations or outlook that you would like to take into this year, to bring those thoughts before God. Allow Him to shape your thinking & know that as He brings these things to the forefront of your mind, He is the one who will open the doors to seeing them accomplished.
With that said, I want to leave you with a sentence from a passage I read recently, based on God speaking directly into us, “No disciple of mine can be victor, who does not wait until I give the order to start.”
Praying for you as you take your instructions & form them into actions.