I’m a planner by nature, but until the last decade or so, I never thought of it as a good thing. In fact, when someone accused me of having the spiritual gift of administration soon after I was saved, I was offended. The aforementioned accuser actually had to read 1 Corinthians 12:28 to me before I settled down enough to really process how I might serve God with such a gift. That said, I can get a little control-freakish, and bury myself in micro-details and plans to take over the world, or at least the linen closet. I’ll take over your linen closet, too, if you’ll let me in.
It’s a good thing for me to step back and set some larger overall goals that help guide all my in-depth micro planning. The start of a new year is always a good time to do that, and I thought I’d share my six bigger goals with you, in case you identify with one or two of them. Also, some friends of mine and I are giving away a $200 Amazon gift card… just in case you need to buy some organizational supplies, or a journal to start the year off right. I had kind of a lot to say about my goals, but I promise there’s a giveaway at the end.
Goal #1: Point to Jesus….
In whatever I do, be it in parenting, in marriage, in friendship, in mentoring, or in writing, I want to point others to Jesus. I want to glorify God in all things, share the gospel, and teach the Word. Anything else is secondary to this. If I really believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6)–and I do believe that–then I ought to point to Him in all I do, in all I say, and in all I write.
Goal #2: Be Faithful
You know that “one word” New Year theme where everyone picks a word for the year? I’ve always thought “Faithful” was a great word, and I’ve concentrated on growing that fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) for a few years now. (Of course, I pray about the others, too… like patience.) That’s one of the reasons I made the Fruit of the Spirit memory verse booklets–because I pray for my own sanctification a lot. But faithfulness is a big one for me. I want to do what I say I’ll do. I want to complete the tasks the Lord puts in front of me. I want to be faithful to the promises I’ve made. So, even though being faithful has been a goal for quite a while, I’m keeping this as a major, overarching goal of my life. Let me be faithful to run this race until I’ve crossed the finish line (Hebrews 12:1-2). Let me not quit a moment before.
Goal #3: Be Joyful
Our church spent 8 weeks this fall studying Philippians, and many days, the boys and I read the book after we finished Bible Road Trip. Philippians is full of joy. Joy isn’t like happiness. Joy isn’t dependent on our circumstances. Joy comes from the Lord. It’s a choice. Sometimes we have to fight for joy. This year, I choose joy–in all things. I know I can be content–joyful, even–in the Lord’s strength. (Philippians 4:11-13)
Goal #4: Set Aside Complaining for Praising
I’ve been reading Stop Your Complaining: From Grumbling to Gratitude by Ronnie Martin. What an eye-opening and helpful book. I’m sure I’m not the only person who struggles with complaining. But, boy, do I struggle. I want to recognize God as sovereign in my life, and I want to praise Him for what He’s doing. I can’t really pray for sanctification, then complain when He begins to discipline and shape me. (Hebrews 12:3-11) Have I ever shared the time I asked God to make me brave? I came home four hours later and a whole colony of the biggest wasps I’d ever seen in my life had moved into our attic. Really. It was like Jumanji. The exterminator told me that it’s common for a whole hive to move in at once (apparently wasps throw great housewarming parties!). I spent four years getting weekly bee sting shots for wasp allergies, so this was not exciting to me. It was actually terrifying. I’m not sure that I’m any braver now (maybe a tiny bit), but it was a quick answer to prayer! I want to recognize struggles for what they are–an opportunity for God to be glorified and for me to be sanctified (even if it’s just a tiny bit).
Goal #5: Be Present
Oh, friends. This is a major downfall for me. I’m an introvert, and I homeschool. My kids are with me ALL. THE. TIME. I love them dearly, but I have a tendency to check out. It’s like alone time in my own head. I like it in there, and sometimes it’s hard for me to come out and interact, um, joyfully. I want to be present. I want to edify. I want to look my people in the eyes. I want to put the phone down. (Oh, yes, I said it.) I think this is a love issue–I want to love others in a real, sacrificial way. (1 Corinthians 13)
Goal #6: Make Memories
I want my kids to have happy memories of their childhood. I want my husband and I to remember moments of adventure and laughter. I find that being intentional about creating these memories is vital–or they just get pushed aside. The house always needs to be cleaned, dinners need to be made, school needs to be completed, and there’s only enough money for the first 28 days of the month. (Just me? Ok, then.) Honestly, if we’re going to do fun things together, for me, it has to be intentional. I have to write playing a game or baking cookies or taking a day trip into my calendar. (My husband is much better at these spontaneous events, and I know I probably lost some of you here. But… I’m over here with a 30 item to-do list, and it’s got to have something fun on it.) I don’t have a verse for this. I just know it’s ok to throw a party once in a while. Scripture is full of them. My parties just might involve Ticket To Ride, or a National Park. Probably not a fattened calf.
Check Out THESE Resolutions!
For a guy that really knew how to set (and detail) priorities, you might check out preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions. He had 70 of them, and they’re worth reading. In fact, I read them every New Year. I like this set of his Resolutions because Matt Perman has organized them into categories: The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards.
This giveaway ended 1/15/2016.
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.