Hey there! Remember when I said, “New Years Resolutions are SO 2018”?! Well, this goals oriented girl is learning a lesson in following her own advice and letting go of unnecessary expectations! For instance, one of my intentions for the new year was to be more consistent around here. Ideally, I’d love to send new ideas and encouragement to your inbox weekly… we’re not off to the start I hoped for 😉 Now January is over and I don’t know how it happened! So, how have your goals for the new year been going? Did any resolutions stick? Did you pick a word like we talked about? Is 2019 delivering on the promise for a fresh start or have you already felt discouraged that you can only do so much in a day/month/year/life?
Yeah… me too.
Here I am preaching, “choose a word, claim that identity, and stop being so hard on yourself!” 30 days later I’m overwhelmed and crying frustrated tears to my poor husband because I’m letting myself down. I want to do it all: I want growth and new experiences and a rich community – a FULL life. I also want to prioritize my family and for this quiet season serving them in the home God’s blessed us with to be enough. I’m sure there’s a healthy balance to be found, but why does it feel like for one win, you have to take a loss somewhere else? One chat with another mom or scroll through instagram confirms I’m not the only one with this constant balance battle. So what is the deal?!
I don’t have the answer yet, but it’s something my heart is sorting through daily. Here’s what I know, it’s time to have a defining-the-relationship conversation. A little, “what are your intentions” if you will, with my goals. Because we’ve been dating for a LONG time. There are even times I get pretty attached to those goals and I think I might love them… but I’m not sure I want to marry them. 😉
Goals are good. Goals aren’t God.
“You no longer have to hope and pray that someday you will measure up, because Jesus has already measured up on your behalf.”
– Paul David Tripp (New Morning Mercies)
Measuring your worth by the meeting of (or failure to meet) your goals takes the worship and glory away from God – the One who already did the work to be enough – and places it on ourselves. Do you think if you met Jesus at the end of today you’d be proud of your last day on earth? That’s a big question. How about this one – Would you rather meet Jesus at the end of a busy day full of distractions and a completely crossed-off checklist or at the end of a day that you lived quietly, minding your own affairs, and working with your hands? (paraphrased from 1 Thessalonians 4:11) That answer is easy for me, but my actions don’t always reflect it. The world values motion and productivity and accomplishment! It says if you’re not moving forward you’re moving backwards. So while my soul longs to steward this sweet little family of mine and bless them with my time, effort, and attention, it anxiously wrestles with a desire to “do more” and cries out for a little help deciphering what’s God driven and what’s “goal” driven.
I’m practicing something new. When the feelings of failure begin to overwhelm me, I recall and reframe the day’s events. I weigh the lies of my feelings with the truth of God’s word. Instead of, “I didn’t finish the laundry and I didn’t get to the gym and I had to say no to another ministry opportunity and I put off writing AGAIN…” I’m asking myself, “What does God say about the value of today? What is the truth here?” The truth of that day is, I did some laundry and worked to take good care of the home God has provided, I took a walk with my son and got this temple-of-the-holy-spirit-body moving. The truth is, I chose my family over other things because my home is a ministry and they’re my first priority right now. That’s a day I would be proud to offer up to Jesus. Isn’t it funny how two takes on the same day can be so drastically different? That’s perspective, my friends. Sometimes we need a lot of it.
My husband surprised me with a little overnight getaway to Bend last week. The perfect opportunity for a reality check and the fresh perspective I needed. WHILE we’re walking up a beautiful, snow covered mountain, breathing fresh air, and soaking in more sun than I’ve seen in a long time, the need to achieve crept up – without me even knowing! I suggested creating a goal for our family (a fun one! but still) and proceeded to let it spiral until there was a plan and a clearly desired outcome… earth to Lauren! My wise and wonderful husband interrupted me to make a suggestion that spoke right to my heart, “I love your idea, but I don’t want to make it a goal. You don’t need another thing adding pressure to live up to.” Thank God for Jesus loving men that care to know and love the heart of their wife! He was so right. So you know what that fun “goal” is now? It’s an intention. Something we hope, and tentatively plan, to do each month. If we do – yay! If we need to skip it once or get to double up another month – great!
I believe intentionality is incredibly important and hope you don’t read my words for, “through out all the goals for your life and your cares right along with them!” Because it’s not what I mean at all. For so long my problem has been an inability to separate the two. Intentional living can be a slippery slope of living in slavery to our own unnecessary rules and expectations. Too much of a good thing, you know?!
Here’s our call to action:
Let’s quit measuring the value of our days and our life by the world’s definition. The life of a co-heir with Christ is an extraordinary one! Even if some days don’t feel extraordinary. Let’s pray for a heart that finds contentment in the 1 Thessalonians 4:11 way of life. Let’s appreciate the discipline and zeal good goals reflect and let’s grow in wisdom to know the difference between a life of intention and one that replaces God with goals.
Just like we chose a word to declare over our year and direct our endeavors towards the identity God has given us,
Let’s be intentional with the days He’s given us, stand firm on the things that are important, and pursue them in the name of impacting His kingdom!
We’re posting our intentions for 2019 on the fridge. We’re deciding on them together and committing to say “yes” to things that align (when it’s best), create margin by saying “no” to things that don’t (without guilt!), and giving ourselves grace for the in between. I’m also using one for personal goals and would encourage you to do the same! Download one of the templates below to make things super easy! Hang it up somewhere you’ll be reminded of it regularly and have a sit down date with your significant other to establish intentions for the year together. 2019 only happens once! May it be extraordinary and graceFULL!