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Well, 2017 is almost here. It’s peeking around the corner, actually, taunting me because I still haven’t set a list of personal or professional goals for the upcoming year. So, what should I do? Part of me wants to jot down that list as quickly as possible. After all, I don’t want to start 2017 playing catch-up before I even begin, right? Part of me wants to say, “Forget it! Who needs a list, anyway?” But, I know that’s not right for me either. I do need a focus of some sort for the upcoming year.
You see, I’m the sort of person who can wander off in a million different directions, trying to find the right path. All directions can seem good and “right for me” in the moment, but I can easily spend an entire year chasing handfuls of dreams and goals, but never really achieving any of them. I need focus. Can you relate?
A Common Theme
The past few nights I’ve been reading a book before bed just for fun. A family member loaned me The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines. I decided to read it because it’s winter break, I wanted to read a story to just relax, and well, because my relative wanted me to. Don’t get me wrong, I like to watch Fixer-Upper as much as anyone, but I’m not a super-fan. I don’t set my DVR to record it; I just watch it if it happens to be on when I flip through the channels.
Well, I was reading that book the past few nights and a common thread of an idea kept jumping out at me. I noticed that Joanna would hear God’s voice speak to her about something. She would sometimes wrestle with it a bit, but she would ultimately choose to trust and follow God’s leading. And you know what? Circumstances always worked out in a way that only God could have foreseen or planned. Of course, I have heard this taught bunches of times before. Listen for the still, small voice. Follow it. God’s way is better than your own way. But somehow, reading about it with the perspective of looking back, after things worked out, illuminated it in a fresh light for me.
This is what I want. These are my goals for 2017.
Not a checklist. Not a catchphrase. A plan for how to do life in this upcoming year.
You see, I’m no good at this. My past history shows that I am always trying to do things in my own time (remember those million different paths I mentioned earlier?). I tend to make a decision and then ask God to bless it, instead of seeking His will from the start. My husband and I tried to sell our house because we wanted to move to town to cut down on budget costs. We did this not once, but twice! Both times, God made the deal end before a final closing. He clearly was telling us to stay put…that he had placed us in our home and we were to stay there. Now, looking back, it’s clear. We were forging ahead without praying, without asking God what His will for us was.
A New Plan
I want that to change this year. I want to make it a point to seek God first, trusting that He will reveal his ultimate will and goals for me. And His will is going to be far better than anything I can try to do on my own. So, how can I do this? I’m a girl that needs a plan!
- I’m going to make quiet time a priority. If I don’t take time to listen for God, I will surely miss that still, small voice. For me, I tend to do this in the mornings, before the kids get up. Sometimes, though, I just can’t seem to focus or still my thoughts. I am going to give myself permission to have quiet time when it works. Some days that may be in the mornings. Some days may be before bed. Some days may just be having quiet prayer and reflection on the way to work. The important thing for me is that I make it a priority to not skip it altogether.
- I’m going to journal more regularly so I can look back and see God at work. The busyness of life makes it easy to forget just how present God can be. I am going to journal so my stressed, overloaded brain doesn’t forget the good stuff!
- And…I’m going to go for it! Whatever God tells me to do, I am going to do my best to trust and follow. Not over think and question, not doubt and worry, but follow.
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Spending time with God, listening to God, these things will help my will and desires to align with His. Then, following His leading truly will give me the desires of my heart.
I wish you the best as you think about your own goals for the upcoming year!
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