Monday, February 2, 2015

When Today Is The Day

I've had a fairly random, messy, chaotic, beginning to 2015.

While many people were at the gym fulfilling their New Year resolutions, I may have been eating gummy snacks with my grandchildren. 

The spaces that desperately need to be cleaned in my home? Well, my side of a perfectly large closet looks like an explosion has occurred. Someone in this house must collect shoes and it isn't my husband.

The kitchen needs deep attention. As in, do-not-look-in-the-oven, (or behind any door) it-will-freak-you-out. 

This Friday night we hosted our Grow Group. I had six of our grandchildren that afternoon. I'm happy to report they all survived. Our dogs shed more than normal when they are nervous and little people seem to make them nervous. Minutes before the guests arrived I had finished vacuuming, and while the two-year-old was in the bathtub, I brushed my teeth and cleaned the toilet. 

How do you just stop living like that?

Every year I dream of getting a fresh start in January.  As if the first of a new year is some magical event when more time and space will appear in life. 
The truth is, more things were added to my life in January. All the regular stuff plus our youngest daughter being home for the first few weeks and a wedding date set for May 30th. We still have windows that are only ruffed-in and half of the garage is full of pieces and parts of the aftermath of months of house reconstruction and mayhem. I have a determined, but aging father who just spent a week in the hospital and a friend my age who lost her battle with cancer a few days ago. 

Deep breath. 

I have lived long enough to know that life will never get less crazy. 

So, thank goodness for this truth, since I missed January 1st through the 31st!

I began using Lara Casey's Powersheets last year. I'll admit, I felt as if I were chipping away at Mount Rushmore to say, "no" to some really good things, so I can say a better, "yes" to some other things. 

Lara wrote a book that recently hit the shelves, called Make It Happen. I've actually devoured it. Mostly because I love her heart for the Lord and how her words have helped me process what is really important in light of eternity. The focus of her book is to define the core of who we are. This, of course, is a process. But if we get started, little by little, peeling back layers of the big picture, stop the distractions and to do those things that matter. Yeah, all of that.

One of the most challenging things for me has been to write out specific goals. I am a woman who is motivated by deadlines. I am a creative that is distracted by shiny objects and Pinterest. I have long failed at goal setting. Mostly because I was going about it all wrong. I was making goals that started with, "I want," and "I will, instead of just getting things in line with His will.

And I really didn't want to make this goal public, but I feel like that is what the Lord is putting on my heart to do. For accountability and to encourage you in your journey, no matter what that looks like for you. 

So without further fanfare, here are my foundational goals for 2015.
1. Go Deeper (My 2015 word!) -to seek the Lord deeply above all else and before all else. Why?  Because I get off track easily and all other paths lead nowhere. Because I need God to direct my steps and I am inherently selfish, and because I don’t have the answers, but He does. Because I want to use the time I have left on this earth well and live on purpose. One of the verses I've claimed for my word deeper is in Luke 5:4-7. Jesus instructs Peter to put out into the deep water and let the fishing nets down. Peter and his professional fisherman friends, had worked hard all night and caught nothing. Still they did what made no sense at all and experienced a miraculous catch. They did it because Jesus said so. I've trusted Jesus as my Savior for a few decades now, I've put a lot of energy into doing things I thought were for the Kingdom. I hope some of them were. But now, I feel the Lord asking me to do some things that don't make a lot of sense. I'm just trusting Him to take me deeper and for the results.

Verses: "Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch." Luke 5:4 and "The deeper your love, the higher it goes; every cloud's a flag to your faithfulness." Psalm 108:4 and "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!" Romans 11:33 (There are so many more!)

2. Love and honor my husband. The why? So many reasons really. I’m always finding areas in my life that need more of Jesus. The truest test of my heart, the ones that reveal those places, is how I treat others, especially my husband. I want God to have access to all those places. I'm always learning and I long for our marriage to be all that God intended. What I know is that my marriage is a holy gift. Jim and I are better together. Our testimonies are intertwined. He is the lover and protector of my heart. I want it to be so evident to the world around me. I see this as a great need, especially in the church.

Verses: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8 and "A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12

3. Use the resources God has given me to bring glory to His Name. Why? There is always more I can give in this way. This year I want to open my hand to God more. In our finances definitely. Where we spend our money reveals where our hearts are. I want the platforms He has given me to make much of His great name. I pray this blog home could be used better for the Kingdom. I feel God is asking me to give more of this space away to the widow, the orphan, the woman who feels unseen. I am energized by people’s stories and when someone just steps out in crazy faith. I hope to highlight more of this kind of thing here in this space in 2015. I'm sure there will be more added to this goal as the Lord shows me what that looks like. Right now I just want to rededicate all that has been given to me to honor God.

Verse: "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it." 1 Corinthians 10:26

4. Invest intentionally in my children and their children. Why? This seems like it is something that just happens naturally and to some degree, I suppose it may. But my experience is that if I am not intentional, the days just fill up and time just ticks by. I want to know, really know what is going on in the heart of my children so I can pray better. I want to spend face to face time with them as individuals and as a family. Not in some unhealthy kind of way, but as in I want to be a blessing to them. I want to know the heart of my grandchildren so I can know what makes them come alive and do things with them that build real relationships. I want them to know I love them for who God made them, not for what they do or don’t do.

Verse: "Children are an inheritance from the LORD. They are a reward from him." Psalm 127:3

5.  Prayer and journaling. The why? I want to live something bigger than myself. I want to do what matters. I believe that prayer is so powerful and real. Not positive thoughts. Prayer is communicating with the God who named every star and knows the number of hairs on every head today. The Bible has so much to say about prayer. One of the most read posts on my blog is the one on Impossible Prayers. People, word search the internet, "impossible prayers" all the time and that post will come up. Apparently there are a lot of people who have problems that no one has the answer for but God. We have the privilege of talking to God anytime. That's amazing! I want that to be part of my legacy. Praying a lot and praying boldly. Journaling helps me remember what I have prayed so I can praise Him for how He answers.

Verse: "He is near to those who call to him, who call to him with sincerity." Psalm 145:18 and "You do not have what you want because you do not ask God for it." James 4:2

6. My health. Why? Well there are so many reasons, but without energy and health, everything else is compromised. I just desire to feed my body food that fuels it well and to be the best steward of my body I can be. For me, this absolutely does not look anything like the world offers. No fads or products that make all sorts of promises. Little by little, One choice at a time. For me, the only One I want to get credit for any good thing in this area is God.

Verse: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

7. Kill Distraction. Why? Because much energy and time and resources are lost by distractions. One article I read says that the average person spends three hours on social media a day. Television is said to be even more. For me, there are many forms of distractions, but they all take away from what I really want to accomplish in the time I have on earth. Much more could be said, but I can tell you I have fasted from social media for a week at a time and I got a lot accomplished. I'm not quitting social media. I'm just not letting it rule my life.

Verse:23 "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive."1 Corinthians 10:23 and  "Everything is permissible for me"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"--but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12 (I love how the Message says it: Just because something is technically legal doesn't mean that it's spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I'd be a slave to my whims.)

8. Do all things with great love. Why? Mostly because there are so many things that come into my path that I may not know what to do, but the correct response is always to love. It doesn't mean I have to take on other people's emergencies and problems, but it does mean I need to respond out of love.

Verse: "Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

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So there you have the beginning of what my goals look like for 2015. These goals are going to be the foundation for some other things I feel like the Lord has put on my heart to do.

I appreciate how Lara Casey emphasizes that striving for perfect will hurt those around you and your progress. She says, "done is better than perfect."

Thank you!

Her core message is that we need to get our goals in line with God. We need to peel back the layers of our lives and take steps to make changes that are grace-filled, to do what is truly important, not just what keeps us saying we are, "busy."

Some of this could look counter-productive. Such as fewer followers, less social media, less money.

All I know is that I want to stop doing the things that are holding me back and start doing the things that will bring glory to God and make His name great.

I don't need a new year to start doing that.

Today is a great day to make that my focus.

How about you? What are your plans for 2015?

You know all those things
you've always wanted to do?

You need to go do them.

-Lara Casey

Image courtesy of Lara Casey


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