Monday, January 23, 2017

The Goal That Changes Everything

It's 2017 and I have always loved the beginning of a new year. 365 days stretched out before me, full of hope, fresh and new, waiting to unfold.

As 2016 was coming to a close, I couldn't help but think, "What will I do with the Lord's blessings in 2017?" Not just material blessings, it extends far beyond that to include opportunities He gives me to share a kind and encouraging word with a stranger, time with family and friends, or even an opportunity to share how Jesus has changed my life. Each day He gives me on this earth is a gift, am I going to live in the moment or squander it away on meaningless things that do not matter?  

I have many goals, desires, and aspirations for 2017, and they are all fine and good. But realistically, half of them will not get accomplished this year. When I think about the thing I want to truly accomplish this year, it can be summed up in three little words. To Be Present.

To enjoy the here and now. To enjoy the season that I'm in right now. For me that season is motherhood. A season that is often chaotic, crazy, messy, and a double dose of challenging. Along with these words, it's also special, rewarding, amazing, and fleeting. God has blessed me with so much and I do not fully enjoy the blessings that He has so generously bestowed on me.

Growing up, I remember the thing I looked forward to the most was getting married and being a mom. I am shocked at how fast this time has gone. We will be welcoming our last baby into our family in 2017. Just like that, ten years of growing our family will come to a close. I know I have many years of motherhood ahead, but I do not want the precious time I have left with my kids at home to slip though my fingers.  Leaving them with memories of a distracted mom that was not fully present.

Now for the action plan. It's all good to pick a word or set a goal, but words without action are meaningless. Without a plan, my good intentions will fall flat and never transform or produce growth or change in my life.

To my shame, the number one thing that robs me of enjoying life and being present is my cell phone. This year I am going to work on not spending time mindlessly scrolling my Facebook feed and being "attached at the hip" with my phone. I love Instagram and Pinterest. I want to use them in moderation and not be so enamored with the "eye candy" of all the pretty pictures of projects I could accomplish in the future all while neglecting the present. My sweet boys are growing older by the day. Often, they will run up to tell me something about their day, a funny event, or an exciting thing they just mastered. If the story rambles on I find myself only half listening thinking about what I just read or saw on my phone. I don't want to live life this way. I want to be fully present to enjoy these little moments with my boys. For all too soon, they will be grown and moments like this will be few and far between.

One of my jobs as a believer is to "abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul (Galatians 5:17)." My flesh wants to do what it wants to do. I am going to have to fight hard against these desires to let my phone distract me by drawing me into mindless scrolling and searching. It is not going to be easy, but that is why #1 on my action plan is to  read my Bible daily, and to commit my goal of being present to prayer. Focusing on the things of Christ will help me to abstain from the desires of my flesh. "I can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

Goal #2...Eliminate the distraction. I will be setting up a cell phone charging/docking station in my kitchen. A place that my phone and all other electronic devices will stay most of the time. A place that I can easily hear if it rings, but not connected to my palm 24/7.

Goal #3...To not give up. This process won't be easy, but thankfully, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

Do you have a goal you are hoping to accomplish in 2017? Do you find it is easier to come up with a word or phrase to focus on for the year? I would love to hear your thoughts below.

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