I better get on my year-end / year-beginning post before January is over, huh?
So, 2014. Another year of big changes. Here were my “areas of focus”:
1) Spend time with God daily.
I didn’t spend time with God every day, but it was close. God gave me a renewed desire this year to spend time soaking up truth through His word and prayer. And now that Emma is going through a tough phase of toddlerhood, I need to be refreshed and grounded in God every day to have a good attitude and patience. But let’s be honest – there’s no season of life when I don’t need that.
2) Eat healthy foods.
It took me a long while after Emma was born to get back into healthy eating habits, but I did finally! And with this pregnancy, I haven’t been having many cravings, so I’ve been able to stick to our normal meal plan for the most part. So I’d say this was achieved.
Finding the time and motivation for exercise is still a challenge, but nothing motivates me more than signing up for a race. Training for and running the Hot Chocolate 15K in April got me running again, and so did finding a friend who enjoyed running and lived close to me (thanks Brenda!). I wasn’t as consistent as I’d like to be, but it was an improvement.
4) Stick to a budget.
We nailed this! Honestly, starting to use YNAB (You Need a Budget) changed our budgeting lives. I love the software and cannot speak more highly of it (I am not getting paid to say this). While it took a little getting used to at first, once we got the hang of it, it has helped us track where our money is going, save up for biannual and annual expenses, and make decisions about purchases based on whether or not we actually have the money for it (which we can check on the go on our smart phones). One of the YNAB ‘rules’ is to live off last month’s income, and it seriously takes the stress out of paying bills or having paychecks arrive late. And Travis has been getting a lot of overtime pay, so we can budget based on the actual amount of money he earned instead of a hypothetical number. It has been an adjustment to actually forego or postpone purchases until the next month (and the next infusion of money) at times, but it is teaching us delayed gratification and helping us be better stewards of our money. Now if I could only figure out how to spend less money on groceries…
And now on to 2015.
I know they say that goals are supposed to be specific, measurable, timely and whatever else. Well, this year I have a lot of intangible, nonspecific goals. Though I do have 2 specific, measurable goals:
1) Give birth.
2) Start and finish the Northwoods Triathlon on August 8.
My other goals are things like:
- Don’t let newborn sleep deprivation turn me into a raging b!t@h. (Trust God to provide sleep.)
- Pray for and see my mom be healed.
- Spend more time playing with Emma instead of getting stuff done.
- Support my husband more sacrificially and selflessly.
- Read more books and watch less TV.
- Go on bike rides in the summer.
- Be more intentional about inviting people over, or getting together.
- Finish my book and either self-publish, or seek publication!
I find that life is a constant balance between being realistic and being lazy. I want to live intentionally but I also don’t want to beat myself up over not achieving arbitrary goals that I chose in an over-zealous mood one January day. The way I balance those two things is by reminding myself of this (my memory verse for Jan/Feb/Mar):
“I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” (John 17:4)
If Jesus glorified the Father by accomplishing the work that He was given, that’s also how I glorify the Father. And the work God has given me to do is revealed every day through my roles and circumstances. I am called to be a wife and mother. Some days I am called to use naptime for holding Emma instead of accomplishing my to-do list. Most days I get up early to read the Bible, but some mornings (after particularly hard nights), it just doesn’t happen. I adapt, and continue walking with God through whatever that day brings.
The past month, I have been learning and relearning how to LET GO. No matter how many times I learn that embracing God’s will for me is the path to joy, it is still SO HARD to do — even with little things! Because often His will involves hard or unappealing circumstances. But I am learning. I am learning to let go of my goals, dreams, plans — not in a defeatist mentality, but in faith that “God…fulfills His purpose for me.” (Psalm 57:2) I can trust all of me to the One who knows me, and created me for a specific purpose. He is shaping my life, this life, into something beautiful. (On a related note, read this blog post about The Invisible Mother that a MOPS mom shared yesterday. SO GOOD.)
I wrote this in my journal back at the end of November and I think it ends this post nicely:
“It is a constant battle to surrender my will, my expectations, my standards, my desires, my longings [to God]. To lay my whole self down at the foot of the cross and to say with full sincerity that I will follow the Lord anywhere — even into the day of mediocrity and petty frustrations and klutzy moves and stupid mistakes and minor inconveniences. But I will only find joy in accepting what God has for me.”
That’s what I want for 2015.