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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

My Personal Goals for 2018

My personal goals for increasing in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man in 2018

Kindness seems to be a theme that continues to steer my thoughts lately--kindness to myself and kindness to my people.

That's not to say that I've been living my life un-kindly, per se, but that kindness might need to take a more active, intentional roll in my days instead of just lazily riding in the side-car.

Jeremiah 31:3 says that God draws us all with unfailing kindness. In a society replete with keyboard warriors, point provers, and social media slactivists who want to blow the loudest horns in the public square, kindness seems out of place. Old fashioned. Forgotten. But kindness is always God's play because it works. Louder words don't work. Witty comebacks don't work. Offense and self-righteousness does not work.

God uses kindness. So that's what I want to use too.

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As always when plotting out a few year-long goals for myself, I've braced all of my good intentions on Luke 2:52--my litmus test for personal growth.
"And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man."
After mentally sifting through some trouble spots of my last 365 days, I've decided upon four simple ways that I can stack kindness next to wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man.

Here's how I hope to shake out some kindness in 2018.

My personal goals for increasing in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man in 2018

In wisdom

This past December, I sat in front of a television set to watch the news. It was the first time in a long time. (We don't have TV access, so my news usually comes in podcast form.) To be honest, it felt like America was one big dumpster fire. And while I bristled at the headlines and immediately wanted to strap on my keyboard gloves and throw a few punches on social media, I realized that my gut reaction was a mixed bag of righteous indignation and ignorance. I was angry at certain societal woes, but not entirely sure why I was so angry. I didn't know enough about some of the issues to warrant even a fringe opinion. As Jon Acuff so eloquently said, "Uninformed and outraged is dangerous. Informed and outraged is powerful."

While kindness isn't ignoring problems or looking the other way, it's also not swinging blindly at anything that moves, either. Taking to the airwaves and spouting off my opinion before I know all the facts, is anything but kind. Kindness is doing my part to be fully informed about societal issues, pushing all of those issues through a grid of Scripture, and then putting feet to my opinions, not just words.

So this year, I want to dig deeper and learn more about current events so that my conversations can be led by facts instead of just feelings.

My Personal Goals for 2018

In stature

In 2017, I began seeing some unhealthy warning signs in myself. I was feeling burned out. Depleted. It wasn't until I set aside a weekend last June and one again in the first part of December to invest in my own personal passions that I realized just how parched and brittle I had become. Juggling homeschool, 2 businesses, friendships, church responsibilities, a writing schedule, and my own live-in circus of 7 had drained me of all my emotional reserves. Those short bits of self-care went a long way to nourish my soul. But, I knew they were only baby steps. For the sake of self-preservation, I needed to make kindness to myself a bit more of a priority. 

I can no longer pour from an empty cup. So this year, I'm going to make an effort to build short bursts of fun into my days. Just for me. I don't have the time, energy, or resources for weekend trips every month, nor do I think moments of rest need to be feast or famine. I can grant myself simple pleasures all throughout the month...like a few minutes to soak in the tub with a good book, a trip to a bookstore with a friend, time to linger over a cup of coffee.

I plan to sprinkle kindness of some sort or other into each and every one of my days for my health and sanity's sake. As a recovering DO addict, I'm learning to just BE. I can only carry what's mine to carry. I cannot do more today than today allows. My family doesn't need me to check all the boxes. In short, I don't have to set myself on fire to keep others warm. So this year, I'm giving myself permission to think of me sometimes. 

In favor with God

I've felt a gaping hole in my spiritual walk lately. Discipleship. I'm a firm believer that as a Believer, I should always be reaching forward to women further along on the spiritual journey and reaching back to help lead those just a few steps behind me. The kindness of discipleship reaffirms the words of Ephesians 4 which reminds us all to use the measure of faith we've been given to help other Believers grow towards maturity. In other words, I've been tasked to use my measure and to allow others to use theirs. But, I'm not. At least I haven't been.

Since stepping out of a mentorship program three years ago, I haven't really found any outlets for ministering or being ministered to. I serve. I volunteer in church. I kinda do the grunt labor--clean the kitchen, man the children's library, set up the "apartments" for our homeless ministry. But none of this translates into much face-to-face discipleship. Consequently, my relationship with the Body has grown kind of stagnant. I used to teach a women's Bible study on Wednesday nights, but I don't anymore. I volunteered to mentor teen girls in our youth group, but I stepped out of that as well.

This year, I'll continue hosting my weekly small group on Monday nights which is essentially just me and my two best friends chatting, drinking far too much coffee, praying, and studying a faith-driven book together (like this one or this one), but I'm also going to be intentional about discipling and being discipled. I'm not exactly sure what that will look like at this point, but I'm hopeful and waiting expectantly for whatever God has on the horizon.

My personal goals for increasing in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man in 2018

In favor with man

Kindness to my children this year will look like donuts and cocoa. Two simple ways to add delight to our days.

This past year, a donut shop opened up in our little Mayberry. It's only a mile or so up the road. It opens at too-early-o'clock every morning. And it sells donuts for cheap!--three very good reasons why I plan to take each of my kids out for breakfast donuts on their birthdays. Just one kiddo, one mom, and lots of donuts. In the grand scale of awesome, donuts don't score that high, but my kids love them. And even more importantly, they love having undivided time with me on their special day.

Also, I hope to do more out-and-about school. Every once in awhile, we take this show on the road to a local coffee/cocoa shop to enjoy a treat while we work. A different scenery always has a way of calming our fragile spirits in the dead of winter when negative temps have us all at full Red Rage with each other. Now that my kids are older and getting out the door no longer requires all of my courage, I hope to make these trips for cocoa a regular liturgy in our months. We're homeschoolers, so we can. It's one of the perks.

My plumb line

Resolutions have a way of only getting half-baked before they burn up. Disappointment and guilt are often the collateral damage. I have no desire to roll onto my back and show my belly like a defeated dog should any of these goals misfire. So, I'm giving myself lots of freedom and swallowing kindness up in big graceful gulps. My plumb line for New Year's success will be forward motion. Not perfect motion, just slow-and-steady progression. Goals aren't attained all by themselves, so I know I'll have to do the hard work. But since kindness is one of the fruits gifted to me (and all Believers) by the Spirit, I know I have all I need for success in 2018. Kindness I can do! 

7 comments:

  1. My goals for this year is to get back into eat healthy and start toexercise. I need to loose some weight but my main focus is just starting a work out routine. These two goals are put on hold due to us suffering through the flu. Nothing like a family of 7 with the flu. Another goal is to read more

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    1. My husband and I have started going to the gym in the mornings together for some of the same reasons. We'd love to lose a few pounds, but more importantly, we'd love to get more healthy.

      I hope you all are on the mend soon.

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  2. Jamie, your blog is always a breath of fresh air. I read frequently but have never commented before. Regarding your wisdom goal, if you have never given World News a try, you might find it is also a breath of fresh air. They practice “Biblically objective” journalism (world.wng.org). Their daily podcast, The World and Everything In It, is a delight to listen to while exercising, cleaning, cooking, etc. I hope you might enjoy it and learn from it as much as I do!

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    1. That's actually the podcast I listen to. I love it! I usually tune in while I'm cooking dinner. I love the fact that the headlines are short.

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  3. Just wanted to throw out the resource my hubby and I are currently using in our efforts to "go and make disciples..." Multiply by Francis Chan has been a great help to us as we gather up with friends and coworkers from all over the Faith spectrum.

    On of my personal goals this year is to pray more. I'm not a great pray-er. I want to be, but it doesn't come naturally... Or maybe I'm just lazy. But I want to pray for the needs and the people that come across my radar faithfully and believe for God's touch in those areas.

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    1. Ooooo...I love Francis Chan resources! I'll have to check that one out. Thanks, friend!

      I hear you about the prayer goal. A few years ago, I started writing out short prayers in a notebook as I prayed. It has helped immensely. It keeps my mind focused. I can't write AND start think of other things. Using a prayer prompt each day also helps. It gives me a specific verse/character quality to pray for my kids and husband that day.

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    2. Yes, do! The whole ebook is free online as well as all the study resources and discipleship group resources too. We have the hard copy because I like books but the folks that come to our study mostly have just downloaded the app and do their reading for the week from there. Very accessible and has been so helpful. Making disciples feels so big and hairy... And this helps so much. Thanks for the prayer journal idea! I think I may need the structure of it 😥

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