Monday, September 24, 2012

care-full choices

Here's a recommendation, if you care to receive it: set yourself some personal goals every week.

This is my goals journal - it's a combination of two ideas I got recently - one from a good friend, and another from a blog I found.  Here are some easy steps: [By the way, this isn't usually the style of my blog, but I'm branching out to a how-to session today. *smile*]

1. Purchase a cheap journal - dollar store is a great source.

2. Get out a calendar and write the date of the beginning of each week (I go with Sundays, but occasionally I don't get to it until Monday or even Tuesday) at the top of every successive page, for as many weeks will fit in your journal.  Be sure to skip the first page - see below...

3. On the very first page of of the journal, write the categories of your goals, and number them.  These should include some of your identity.  I chose 7 categories of who I am and who I want to become (that overlap is another discussion): as a respectful bride, as a teaching-as-we-go mother, as a gentle shepherdess, as a gospel-proclaiming writer, as a delicately-shining daughter [of the King], as a kind and encouraging friend, as a Christ-sharing professional. Your categories will be unique to you and they will vary in number.  Think of your roles and your priorities as you pray and ask God what He wants to do in you.

4. Once a week, add some creativity as you pray over what God wants to do in you for each goal.  This can be pretty paper, stamps, doodling, colored pencils, ribbon, etc.  I find that as I do this to slow me down, I'm able to be quiet enough and hear what He wants me to work on for the week.  Some of you are more "crafty" than others, and some of you have extravagant gifts in this area, but we can all be creative when we try.  It's good therapy, trust me.

5.  Write down what you hear in your heart.  This will become a lovely melding of what God wants and what you want.  It's such an encouraging thing to see your desires and His coming together in practical goals you can aim for each week. For example, my #2 entry this week is "organize their time, teach and show them how - so they don't feel tossed around in the waves of busy life."

6.  Come back to this journal throughout the week to remind you what you're aiming for and to evaluate whether or not you've reached them.  If you haven't, don't be too hard on yourself - just try again after you re-evaluate.  It's not an exact science, and it's the farthest thing from rules and religion as you can get.  Think of reaching for what God wants with intention and direction, and imagine Him giving you the strength to accomplish your Christ-gifted purpose as He holds your hand, for this is truly what He's doing.

7.  Keep going.  If you skip a week or a few, don't stop - just journal what you can remember from those weeks, be it busy or difficult or whatever, and start from where you ARE.  For those of you who can be hard on yourselves - live in GRACE.

Hopefully this will be a practical and helpful tool for you.  God has given us each day as a gift and He desires that we not squander it.  I truly believe He has purpose for us all and He wants us to sculpt our free will into choices that glorify Him with who we are and what we're becoming.  Identity is an important word to me, because who I am should reflect who He is.  It's what I want so much.  And I want it for you too.  Because when we live deliberately out of who He made us to be - we will be His praise in the earth.  But it won't happen without care-full choices every day.

"The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives."

                            -Psalm 37:23 (NLT)

Dear Jesus, please help Your people to seek Your plans and goals and purposes for our lives.  May we reach for Your ways, Your direction every day.  I pray that if this simple idea will bless another sister, You will encourage her and speak to her in gentle whispers about what You want to give and do as our Gentle, Loving Father.  Have Your way, God.  Not mine.

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