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ADJUSTING OUR GOALS
When I was 29 years old, I posted on my old blog about finding purpose in life. I felt lost after quitting teaching to stay home with my first child. What was I doing with my time? Going around town playing with my son and hanging out with friends seemed lazy to me. I felt guilty for not doing more than that. Sure I was cleaning the house and cooking dinners, but I wasn’t really helping anyone. Or was I?
Looking back, I can’t help but laugh. I want to tell my old self: RELAX. Enjoy this moment. Being home with your kids matters and it is with purpose.
I was doing great things, but I didn’t appreciate them for what they were at the time. It’s a good thing to be a new mom and completely in love with your child. I was doing something that mattered. Being a good wife and mother wasn’t the side note, it was the point. I invested all of my energy and love and time on my children and my husband. And it was fully important.
ENTERING THE NEXT SEASON
I went through that season of being a full time mom to then being a full time patient when I got sick. Now that I’ve turned a corner, I feel able to take on something more.
Some of you are in a season where you need to acknowledge the importance of what you’re already doing. Enjoy it, give it your all and don’t feel guilty about not taking on more.
And some of us are wrapping up the last season and longing for something more. We can all make a difference in the lives of others no matter what stage we’re in. So whether it’s starting something new or starting to appreciate where you’re at–START TODAY!
PLANNING TO PLAN
The problem is, many of us get into a cycle of endless planning. We’re afraid to take the big leap because what if it’s not the right one? What if we fail? What if it’s too much or it’s not enough? We are overwhelmed by options and limitations. We try to live our dream, but the sad truth is that most of us are still dreaming.
Sometimes when we have a big goal in mind we are too overwhelmed by it because we think we have to start big. The secret to reaching goals is to start small–to break your goals into manageable steps by creating realistic starting points.
If you want to lose 20 pounds, you don’t expect results after one day of healthy eating. It takes work and dedication–baby steps. You research the best diet for your body, cut out bad habits, and start up good ones. You surround yourself with people who help motivate you and make plans for meals and exercises.
It’s the same with any other goal. You don’t just jump right in and expect success. It takes time.
HOW DO I START?
If you’re like me, maybe you don’t know what you want to do. Maybe you want to help others and do something big but you have no idea what that big thing is.
When I’m consumed by where to start, I’m not getting anything done. The times I’ve sat and prayed for direction and a clear path on what my career or calling was, I didn’t get an answer. Instead, I got a question: What is important today?
In the Bible, Jesus tells us that the most important commands are to:
1. Love God
2. Love others
It’s a habit–a daily practice of following Jesus, one step at a time. I believe He doesn’t give us the whole picture because we will miss the lessons learned along the way. The lessons of trust and dependence. Of true joy and contentment. When things are handed to us, we learn nothing. When we work hard for them, the lessons are endless. God isn’t disappointed in us when we choose one thing over the other as long as we are following His lead.
So I ask myself, what am I doing TODAY that matters? Did I do anything that made a difference? Did I encourage? love? feed? listen? serve? support?
If we take that attitude–the attitude of doing instead of over-planning, we get one step closer to following God. And in doing so, the clarity of where God is leading us grows.
When I step out in faith, my worrying that I won’t be able to make a difference goes away. God isn’t about results, He’s about motive. Anything you do for the good of others is pleasing to Him.
When I stress about which direction to take, the focus is on me. When I step out and try something, my uncertainty about which direction to go isn’t the focus anymore, it’s about obedience to what God has asked me to do–which is to love God and love people.
WHAT IF I DON’T KNOW MY SPECIFIC GOALS?
1. What are you good at? What have you always wanted to do?
Maybe you like to give or encourage. Maybe you like to cook or clean. Are you right-brained or left-brained? Creative or methodical? There are places that each of these tools can be useful for helping others.
2. What needs do you see around you?
Widows, orphans, sick, single parents, divorced families, homeless, addicts, the elderly. Who do you feel most drawn to help?
3. How can you connect your gifts to these needs?
Don’t limit yourself to one area, explore all of your gifts and talents.
4. What’s one thing that you can do to start today?
Even if you have to start small, that’s fine. Make the phone call, send the email, save the date. Offer to babysit so a friend can go on a date with her husband or bring dinner to a sick neighbor. While I was waiting for a BIG opportunity that never revealed itself, I missed out on a lot of LITTLE ones that came along. The important thing is that you simply START SOMETHING.
Anything new is uncomfortable. Remember learning to drive? Meeting new friends? Starting a new job? You’ve done it before. Remind yourself that you’re stronger than you think.
The hardest part is getting started, so rip the bandaid off and get out there! The world needs what you have to offer. You’ve got this!
Ready to DREAM BIG?? Here are few good resources to tackle your goals:
Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis
Anything by Jennie Allen
Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris
7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldman
Living Beyond Yourself by Beth Moore
Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines
An Audience of One by Srinivas Rao
BEFORE YOU GO…
Not sure what your goals are? That’s ok, start here at Setting Goals and Habits to review your New Year’s Resolutions.
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You’ve got this!