As a continuation of my last post about setting goals, I would like to further expand on some of my thoughts of goal setting for my own personal life. I am a very goal-oriented person. I like to make lists and check them off, seeing my accomplishments in a tangible way.
For a person like me, setting goals for the new year can be a daunting task because I tend to set too many and then get frustrated with myself for not keeping them. This year I really thought long and hard about what my goals should be.
One thing I knew for sure - that I really need to try to tame my chaotic life in some small ways. I thrive on being busy but sometimes it really gets out of hand. Since I am constantly instructing the children to do their tasks well, but also trying to teach them to be balanced, I decided it was high time I started to heed my own advice and try to achieve some balance in my own life.
From that thought came some lists, of course, in my brain, of exactly what my priorities should be. How can I balance them if they are scattered all over the place in my poor, tired brain?
So my list of priorities is something like this:
I'm a child of God.
I'm a wife.
I'm a mother.
I'm a daughter.
I'm a friend.
I'm a youth pastor's wife.
I'm a Sunday School teacher.
I'm a neighbor.
Alongside these, of course, I'm also a citizen and a church member.
One thought I had, while looking at my list of priorities, is that when opportunities arise, I must weigh them against the list of priorities in my life. If they don't fit into my list, then it is time to make a decision between what's good, and what's better, for me. Perhaps I might have an opportunity to volunteer somewhere. It might be a good thing - but if it cannot mesh with the above listed priorities, then I can only say yes if it does not take away from or affect those other areas. If I can volunteer alongside my family members or youth group members, combining a good deed with people who are on my priority list, then that would be an effective way to connect and spend time with the people God has entrusted to my care! So that would be a much better choice!
It may sound very simple, or maybe not. But breaking it down into a very black and white decision helps me to know what would be best, and when it's ok to say no.
Some goals I have set to achieve balance in the areas above are:
- Make my daily devotions, Bible reading, and prayer a priority to do first thing in the morning, before I check email or get into my day.
- Try to anticipate the needs my husband might have, so I can be proactive in helping him, rather than playing "catch up" and neglecting him. I need to try to stay at least a step or two ahead of him! Also, to make sure that if there is anything I can do to make his life easier, that it is getting done. This covers the areas like clean laundry in the dresser, ironed shirts hanging and ready to go at a moment's notice, lunches packed the night before so that if he has to leave early he's not starving all day, and reviving some of those "lovey" things we did when first married, such as little notes or gifts 'just because'.
- I would like to spend time with each of my children individually, and also be invested in getting to really know them well - what makes them tick, what are their hopes and dreams, and how their walk with the Lord is doing. We have already discussed their goals for the year, and now that I know those, I would like to do whatever I can to help them reach those goals.
- As an adult daughter, I would like to really let my mom know how much she is loved, not just as a grandparent but still as a mom too! I would like to be a loving support and encouragement to my husband's parents as well.
- I have set a goal to reach out to others and be a good friend. As a homeschooler, sometimes life can be an island where you deal with your own family all day long, and never look past your four walls. I don't want that to be the case in my life. I am trying to take opportunities as they arise, to be an encourager to others.
- Although this crosses over the goal of helping my husband, as a youth pastor's wife, I want those teens to know that they are 'ours' not just 'his'. I want to be an integral part of his ministry, and as he shares his vision with me, I hope to be the one to put "feet" to it and help make his dreams and visions a reality for the ministry that God has given to us.
- My goal for my Sunday School class is to have them really fall in love with the Lord, and get to know Him in a more personal way. Just about everything I say and do in Sunday School will be pointed in that direction, with that goal in mind.
- As a neighbor, I want to be a good one - one that points those around me to Jesus Christ. That might mean putting up with something I don't care for, or going the extra mile when I don't feel like it, but I want to do it, knowing that God will bless my efforts and love my neighbors through me. If they will only turn to Him, all efforts will be totally worth it.
It's also easier to motivate yourself to do something you really don't want to do, when you see that fulfilling the opportunity will help achieve something right near the top of the goal list!
I hope some of these ideas will be a help and encouragement to someone else. It has taken awhile for me to learn some of these lessons, enough to practice them. Hopefully if I am able to establish some good habits in making decisions concerning my schedule, it will be easier to look back at the end of the year and feel a real sense of accomplishment in fulfilling the purposes God has given me!