priorities, big rocks + goals

Call them whatever you like.

“Priorities” carries an air of importance that many can relate to.

The “big rock theory” can be helpful to us visual learners, reminding us to put the biggest, most important things into our day first.

And then there are simply “goals”. These are important because they can look like anything and be in any form and be set for any length of time.

Like I said, call them whatever you want to.

I don’t use the term “resolutions” anymore, but I do set goals each year. The biggest thing of importance for me though, is to be sure to invite God to be – and remain – in the center of what I’m hoping to do. 

Failure to meet my goals comes for me when I stack unreasonable, crazy high expectations on myself (and others) without stopping to pray and listen to what God may be trying to whisper to my soul.

If that sounds a little cuckoo to you, I get it. But, one thing I can tell you from experience is this…

Trying to do it on my own, with little to no consultation of the Word and/or prayer has led me to frustration, distraction and being overwhelmed, even to bouts of depression.

And then, I quit.

And then (eventually), I start again. I guess I’m not a quitter…

The tool that has most significantly helped me to navigate the planning process prayerfully has been the Powersheets created by Lara Casey and the Cultivate Team.

They have helped me dig beyond just creating lists that are easily and quickly abandoned in favor of latching on to more intentional, reflective, prayerful goal setting.

This is my fourth year using the Powersheets and the most excited I’ve been as I’m finally getting the hang of them. Though the prep work can be a bit intense and deep – if you prioritize it and keep it real with yourself –  it is a simple and effective tool.

You can see my process on my “Powersheets” Highlight reel on Instagram (@myjournaledlife), but I’m sharing my actual goals here.

For 2018, the biggest priorities for me (and why they were chosen) are included here:

BIGGER ROCKS | daily efforts

1 | to be a godly wife

I’ve been married twice before. The first made me a widow, the second a divorcée.

God has done some w-o-r-k in me to get me to this place and help me see that He loves me and is blessing this coming union. I want to be a godly wife because both Mister’s children (21yo + 19yo) and my own son have been through divorce and have been hurt by it.

We believe that pursuing marriage God’s way as an example to our young adults is our best, most significant ministry and what He is doing to heal and grow us from our past experiences, sin and marriages.  It’s bigger than us. We are sold out on maintaining an eternal focus and being a godly example; as a partnership.

Our women’s ministry leader at church is often heard saying, “one team, one plan” and that’s what we’re focused on. And my being a godly wife – focusing on the verses in Ephesians 4 + 5, Proverbs 31, Titus 2 and others – is my primary goal for 2018.

Prayers welcome. I’ve been single for long enough to get comfortable with it, readjusting to sharing space with a man is going to be an…adventure.

I’m excited!!!

2 | to write

I want to share my heart with other women. I want to write about common experiences we share as women, mothers, friends, daughters, siblings, volunteers, leaders, advocates and warriors in a dangerous ongoing battle. I want my words to be of encouragement and to point women back to Hope.

And mostly, I want to find a way to share the “real talk” I seem to be comfortable telling my gal pals over a cup of coffee in my living room or at a Starbucks or in the parking lot of our church. 

I’ve often struggled with wanting to be relevant, comparing myself to other bloggers and women and have desired to have a huge following to make me feel like my words matter feel like I matter. I have forgotten at times that it’s an opportunity to connect and help rather than to feel important and wise.

I see writing as an outlet for me and prayerfully a help to you.

An outlet I pray truly impacts women and the people they love and influence for God. I just want us all to walk more boldly and confidently in Jesus’ love and knowing of us.

And laugh a lot while doing it.

3 | join Mister in being a godly steward of our finances

Finances have been a source of stress for me for as long as I can remember. Even when I had a huge insurance payout after my husband’s death – it was still a stressor.

I’ve always only wanted to know just enough about money to take care of what I’ve absolutely needed to.

I. Hate. Admitting. This.

But it’s true.

I dislike dealing with money – and laws about money, and taxes and retirement plans and health benefit packages and savings accounts.

Mister “loves numbers” (he’s actually said it a few times – with a huge smile on his face!) and gets enthusiastic talking about 401Ks and retirement packages and will tithe for a whole year at a time and has no debt.

I want to be his partner, not his burden in this area. And an example for my son, who is better than me at this, but needs more direction and guidance than I’ve given him.

We will be participating in Financial Peace University this semester and doing the work as a team to eliminate my debt and plan for fabulous experiences (like #FranceatFifty) and having plenty of money to support missionaries and organizations that we are drawn to by God. And the class has my “one little word” (peace; post to come) right in the title, so I’m seeing that as another positive sign.

Living simply is also a big part of our focus for the coming year as we move in together and merge two apartments full of stuff – we’re constantly having to ask ourselves – “what’s most important” before we toss and before we spend.

This is an area of great opportunity and growth for me. I believe God has already worked out my victory (for His glory) in it.

4 | flourish at work

I am degreed in education and am looking for ways to implement my training into what I do at my current job as an administrator for a very large group of volunteers at our church.

It’s a big job and I constantly feel like I’m dropping the ball, missing things and wanting to improve everything I do for the experience of our hundreds of volunteers.

I also want to build up the folks I work with and encourage them in their work – even if we’re in different departments or responsible for different things.

This year is about getting past what I went to school for and doing things well where I’m planted for the glory of the Lord. Colossians 3:23 | “Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident you’ll be paid in full when you come into your inheritance.” MSG

It’s got to be less about trying to do things perfectly and more about loving people well and looking for what God wants me to do and doing it with love, authentically.

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SMALLER ROCKS | weekly and monthly efforts

5 | complete “A Simple Year” coursework

I started it last year and did not finish it.

Gratefully, once you pay and join, you have access to your coursework for e-v-a. So here’s to starting again!

Mister and I have agreed that we want to live simply and pursue minimalism. It will start in our home and our relationship, our communication and even in how we manage our stuff.

I am hoping Mister will do at least half of the class with me (though he already lives pretty simply) and that I will be able to finish at least 3/4 of the classes this year.

6 | be/have fun

True to my introversion loving activities (quiet, sitting in quiet, creating quiet environments for processing, being quiet, being quiet by myself, turning pages in books…quietly) I began asking myself what “fun” is for me.

I want folks to enjoy being around me and for me to be a life giver (not an energy zapper) and for there to be lots of laughing l-o-u-d-l-y (the only non-quiet activity I like – he, he) when people are in my company. But, I don’t know if I really know what fun is; or my version of it.

This really is about me knowing what fun is for me, defining it clearly and making plans to make it happen – not someone else’s version of what fun is or should be.

Does anyone else sense adventure in discovering this?

7 | make healthy choices

I am still recovering from major surgery. And this particular one – an abdominal hysterectomy – takes a full year to recover all of your stamina and body to return to it’s best self; so I’m not going nuts on this one.

But, I do want to eat better, do some sort of activity outdoors and experience a toner, stronger self.

I’ve got some ideas about some challenges I’ll participate in that will help me keep this goal in mind, but I think it shouldn’t be too difficult. My guys are both healthier in their eating habits than I am, so I’ll have to come to their side in lots of ways.

Simply put, I just want to feel good.

8 | intentional love toward family

This is the year of prioritizing learning how my immediate family ticks. And Mister’s too.

Who are they? What do they enjoy? Why do they think or feel that way?

Moving aside my expectations and past experiences in favor of loving them well is the goal. And gratefully, there is margin to be intentional in this. I’ll have to let go of what’s always been done or said and not try to change them to my viewpoint or perspective, but to simply love them as I’m loved.

This is also important to me because when I’m a grandparent (a bunch of years from now, Lord willing) I’d like for our adult children and their children to want to spend time with us. We need to model that in how we love our parents and siblings now.

9 | serve others

So. Many. Opportunities. for this one.

There will be acts of kindness for our loved ones, people we work and serve alongside and even strangers.

We are praying about which organizations we will give time and resources to and ways that we can meet needs beyond prayer. It’s exciting because I think this will be the first time in a long time where I will be able to have the room in my life to sit back and listen and then act on the prompting all the way to follow through.

Like I mentioned above,  there are so very many opportunities to do this well – not for myself and not repay others for what they’ve done for me, but out of love.

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Stay tuned for what these look like in detail when I share my January “tending list” from my Powersheets in the next week or so.

Hey you! Something to consider if you’ve not started yet…

Lara Casey has shared that can help alleviate the pressure that can come with this kind of planning and preparing is the reminder that you can start anytime.

“There’s nothing magical about January 1st.”

So, if you’re reading this and January is already underway or heck, maybe it’s July – squash whatever negative thoughts are coming to you and go ahead and get started.

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