“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
Happy New Year! I’m not that big on New Year’s Resolutions. They don’t seem to last and I usually become much too ambitious, like “I’m only going to eat salads and exercise three times a day”. But the last couple of years, I’ve set “goals” for myself instead of resolutions. Then each year, around New Year’s Eve, I like to look back through my journal and evaluate the past year and set a few goals for the one that’s coming. I’m grateful to say that I’ve seen progress in the goals that I set for last year.
My first goal was to write a book…ummm, yeah…so let’s move on to the second goal… (I did a lot of research to that end, but I have yet to start the actual writing process).
My second goal for 2011 was to get healthier. I made some progress on this in the realm of exercise. I had a walking partner for nearly 5 months and I can climb the three flights of stairs at my work with much more ease now. I’ve felt the benefits of exercise and plan to continue.
Last year’s third goal was to become more disciplined. This was an overall quality I wanted in my life. For me, the key to this meant getting up earlier. If I got up early enough in the morning, I was able to exercise, spend some quality time with the Lord, and get to work on time. This started my day off right and spilled over into other areas that needed self-discipline, like staying focused at work and keeping my home presentable.
The fourth goal of last year was to love others more. Growth in this area came from an unexpected source. Early in the year a friend of mine helped me to realize that I have serious struggles with anxiety. Much of my worry was simply brought on because I was afraid of people, of what they would think of me. I confessed this to my small group ladies and they prayed for me and sent kind notes full of Scripture and encouragement (One of these dear friends sent me the video above. I told her that if I had this little choir to follow me around singing this song in all their adorableness, I would never be anxious again). But this past year, I found that it’s difficult to really love someone if you are worried about what they think of you. I was too concerned with myself, too self-conscious, to love others well. But when I made a conscious effort to love others I focused on them–on their needs, on making them feel welcome and comfortable–not on myself. So this goal for 2011 turned into a great ally in my battle with worry, and my battle with worry helped me meet this goal!
Financial responsibility and generosity were my fifth goal. I wanted to manage my money well and be able to bless others on a regular basis. I don’t make a large salary so there isn’t that much to manage (which is good for me since I’m horrible at math…) and living on a tight budget can get a little tricky at times. But God continues to be faithful. So, by His grace, I was able to give money, time and food to church members, friends and strangers, and stay within my means.
So here are my goals for 2012:
1. Sketch a rough draft of my book (a little more doable).
2. Eat healthier. I need better nutrition in my diet along with the exercise.
3. Become more disciplined. (This is still very much a work in progress…I am most definitely not a morning person.)
4. Grow in love. (Still a work in progress…)
5. Grow in trusting God.
The Lord continues to prove Himself faithful to me and I continue to doubt. So this year I want to strengthen my trust in Him. I plan to study God’s providence and care in the book of Ruth and throughout Scripture.
So what about you? What were the big events, accomplishments, setbacks, miracles that happened in your life last year? Do you see how God has brought you through? What do you hope to accomplish in this New Year? In what areas would you like to see growth? Why not prayerfully seek the Lord’s guidance and set some goals for yourself?
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:33-36