Happy belated New Year, friends! Today is January 14th and I am just now sitting down to put my goals for 2017 in writing. I truly love setting goals. Setting a goal is the first step in living the way that you desire to be living. (Good things are rarely accidents.) It’s never too late to set new goals, either. I truly believe that. I do know that January 1st is just another day following December 31st, but if it gives people a reason to evaluate their choices, priorities and lifestyles, I am all for it.
For me, this year will all about time.
I’m realizing more and more every day that I can be very selfish with my time. I’m taking a hard look at the way I spend it, and what is healthy and unhealthy about it. As our pastor talked about at church last weekend, we are not guaranteed any set amount of time here on this Earth. Every single day truly is a gift from the Lord. Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days, so that we may get a heart of wisdom.” There are wise and unwise ways to spend our days here, and awareness of that is what I am dedicating this year to.
- Browsing social media on my phone, or “checking out.”. Do not get me wrong. I like social media, I think it’s a cool way to be creative and to connect with people all over the place, and I even think that God is working in mighty ways through it. However, its possible to enjoy all of its benefits while spending a fraction of the amount of time on it. Social media can fool us into thinking that it’s where real life is happening, and in turn pull us away from what is happening right in front of us. What I’ve found to be true in my own life is that up until a certain point, social media is inspiring and wonderful and unifying, but then you hit that point where it starts to seep into your heart, and you find yourself caught up in comparison and feelings of inferiority (Why aren’t I doing things like this person? Why isn’t my life as perfect as this person?).
- Sleeping. I’ve found that I need eight hours of sleep a night in order to be well rested and to not be a freaky person during the day. I’ve already mastered the art of shifting my life around (drastically, if necessary) to insure that I get those eight needed hours. But the truth is, I do not need more than that. On weekends, I have a tendency to let myself sleep late, and the truth is, I never feel better or more well-rested after doing that. I actually feel more tired, and disappointed that I’ve missed out on a chunk of the day. So this year, I’m aiming for eight hours a night, no more and no less. More time for living!
- Worrying. This one is huge for me. Over the past couple of years, I’ve become a very anxious person. I find myself obsessing over future plans, logistics of something small and insignificant while I’m supposed to be having fun or relaxing, money, and people pleasing. I even find myself feeling incredibly anxious and worrying about the way that I spend my days- rather than truly living in those days! I know that this is driven by the fear of failure, rejection, and disappointment. I also know that worrying steals time and joy. That is its job. It is not helpful, productive, or beneficial in any way. I desire to use the time previously spent worrying, sleeping, or “checking out” to make the most of my days here.
To be more specific, I want to spend more time:
- With Jesus. Reading the Bible. Journaling. Reading wise words from Christians who are a step ahead of me. Learning, worshipping, and growing. These things are the things that give me life, purpose, and joy, and change the entire way that I see my day, interact with people, make decisions, and use my time. Without time spent with God, the rest of these goals are empty.
- Cooking. Cooking brings me joy when I actually make time to do it. Cooking is also a fun excuse to bring people together. I want to cook more often this year, and I know that will lead to becoming a better cook, which is exciting as well, because my cooking skills are very novice at the present. Always welcoming yummy recipes with open arms, friends!
- Deepening relationships. True relationships- the “I know who you are, bad stuff included, and I’m loving you through it” kind, are so life-giving (and such a beautiful picture of Christ’s love for us). It’s hard to find a better way to spend your time than this. Loving others- not being loved by others- is something that I want to be more intentional with this year. The best relationships are the ones built on selflessness and love for the other person. I’ve learned this time and time again, in marriage, friendships, and with family members.
- Adventuring. This does not mean going to Thailand or Africa or Denmark every other month. As much as I’d love to travel out of the country all the time, that desire has stolen a lot of joy from me this year, because I’m not in the position to do that right now. I love travel, it’s one of my favorite things to do for a million different reasons, and I’m so thankful to have had many opportunities for it, but travel itself does not equal living. Don’t believe that lie. A life dedicated to loving God and loving others and being content- regardless of location- is truly living. Loving God and loving others is where joy and fulfillment is found, and that can happen wherever you are. All that being said, I do want to spend more time adventuring with Tim and with friends this year. Whether that be right here in our city or not, going somewhere or doing something new with people you love is time well spent. I’ll take that over scrolling Facebook any day.
So, there you have it. I’m rearranging some priorities in the way I spend my time this year, and that brings me so much excitement. Of course, there are other things that I’d love to spend less/more time on, but these are the things that topped my list.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” John 10:10
Thanks for reading friends. Happy 2017!