Like so many, the new year is a time that I often reflect back on the past year considering what has worked well- and what hasn’t. It’s a time I look ahead and re-focus. Probably, a little more so than most who create goals for the year, it’s not only a time to look back on the blessings, but also to take a faithful approach. Sometimes the process is really informal, other times it’s more planned out. This year was one of those where I really took the time and thought about it- wrote it down and eventually set some “goals”.
I decided early on that this was the year that I really wanted to explore “Simplehearted”- to commit to all that it meant to me in terms of faith in my own life. It’s about shifting my perspective- to fully live a life pleasing to God while setting aside myself and making changes for God. I want to explore what that means in a variety of ways from my work life, to personal life, to what it looks like at home. It’ll be a year of reflection, mediating on His Word, and testing. I’m excited to see my faith grow more this year as I test what has been in my life, let go of striving for my heart’s other desires, and focus on my desire to live a life pleasing to God. I’m giving up on striving for more- because goodness knows it more often looks like pushing against God’s will and I’m letting go of discontent that life isn’t always the way I want it. How often we say we want God to take the lead, but in truth are wanting him to lead us in a certain direction? Our sinful nature makes it so hard to simply yield it all to him. This year, I want to work towards that. And as a sinner, I know there will be many times I stumble.
As I thought about the year ahead, I wound up setting 9 “goals”. There’s those parenthesis again, right? And it’s not just because my goals don’t meet all those rules they give you about goals. It’s because I kinda despise the word or what we often think when we hear it. Our “goals” are counterintuitive to letting God lead. For me, my goals are loose- they’re really desires, areas to focus, intentions etc- perhaps they are just about the actions I may take this year. That’s why I love the verse above- it reminds us that we aren’t the ones in control. With the exception of perhaps 2 of them, they tie back into the idea of Simplehearted Faith in some way or another. But in the end, except where my goals really fit into God’s plans for me, I’m okay with them not working out.
My “goals” for this year:
- Deepen My Faith- The truth is no matter how strong our faith is, it can always be stronger.
- Love Cody- As Christians, we are called to serve those around us. Of course, I’ll love my husband forever- but here I want to show it, to make him a priority and me less of one. I want to love him through his love languages- which are naturally much different than my own.
- Embrace a Simplehearted Life- Be here in this life bringing faith into the everyday- and exploring just what that means.
- Capture & Remember: Gratitude & Memories- keeping a gratitude list, making notes of memories, taking pictures- it’s much less about how this will look and much more being grateful for God’s blessings.
- Bless this House- Home is a place we serve both those we who live with us and those who visit. I want to explore this as well as what a faith-filled home should look like. (I expect this will include many lessons for me over the course of the year- like the ones I’ll learn while decluttering later this year.)
- Have Dinner at the Table- I might could have lumped this in with Bless this House or with Loving Cody and there’s probably some overlap but I want to make this a priority. Lots of actions that lead to quiet conversations with Cody at the dinner table- quality time.
- Relax & Restoration Sundays- I want to bring a Sabbath to my Sundays restoring my soul through His Word, worship, rest, creating, visiting folks, etc- carving out Sunday’s so that they look different.
- Have a Garden- The first that I’m not 100% sure it relates to my faith. I know that in some ways it does. We had a small garden last year and it was about working within our means- a great lesson in stewardship. I love that this goal is simple enough- there’s not limits, no size, no specifics- just to have one. I can do that! (or at least as long as the Good Lord allows me to.)
- Be Healthier- I know that I need to pay better attention to my health as well as Cody’s. Like the rest of my “goals” this one is pretty loose- it’s not about losing pounds or eating a certain way, but just taking steps throughout the year that will help us be healthier.
So, this year, if it serves the Lord’s purpose, those are some things I’ll be working on. But, ultimately, it’s his will and not mine- and learning to accept that at all times.
Do you struggle with the idea of “goals”? What are your thoughts on setting goals vs. following the Lord’s leading? How do we set truly Christian goals? Is there such a thing beyond the very things God commands? I know that this will be one of the things I will explore as part of my simplehearted year.