Already a year has gone by since I allowed God to define my activities by a single word, a theme that he laid upon my heart for a way for me to focus. Last year it was to be Intentional. I didn’t really know how or in what areas, but I knew that I was tired of flying by the seat of my pants in so many areas. I certainly didn’t expect to be intentional in EVERY area of life, but I was open to God working. And did he ever do a number on me! Looking back over the past year, I have been able to grow a LOT in my homeschool planning, meal planning, reading with the kids, spending time in God’s word, encouraging others through #Hellomornings, spending more INTENTIONAL time with my husband and children – among many other things!
This next year sort of crept up on me, and while I’ve been reading about everyone else picking their one word for 2013, I wasn’t sure I was going to do it again. Call it laziness or not being inspired or UNintentional (oops :D), but for some reason I wasn’t eager to pursue it. Perhaps it was because I hadn’t really prayed or thought a lot about it, and I wasn’t eager to pick a word without the go-ahead and leadership from God. So I sat on it, prayed about it, and tossed a few words around in my head, still quite unsure what to think.
Until yesterday’s sermon at our church. I had one word that kept sticking out in my mind, kept coming back to me first – one that encompassed many areas in my life that I knew needed to be worked on. And as soon as our pastor began his sermon yesterday talking about it EXACTLY, a huge grin swept across my face and I knew. That was going to be it. My one word for 2013:
Though I have learned to be more intentional about many things, I still struggle so much with setting and keeping priorities in my life. I get lazy, take the easy way out, forget or choose not to pursue what is BEST FIRST. Our pastor taught on Philippians 3:12-21, ONE THING – pressing on toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Pursuing what is BEST, persisting through the difficulties, encouraging others as you go, leaning on the finished work of Christ.
So as 2013 has begun, I take a step back and examine where exactly I need to apply this One Word of Priorities.
GOD – With a new baby, my quiet times have been sporadic and almost non-existent lately. I have made the excuse of being too tired, too busy, but really it’s not seeing it as a priority! I need to make it so, because the JOY of the Lord is my strength and without his truth resounding in my ears, I cannot make it through the days. Time in the word and prayer, making it happen, even if just for a short time, NEEDS to be one of my TOP PRIORITIES.
I’d also really like to continue memorizing scripture with the kids. Through the summer and into the start of the school year we were working on Psalm 103. We have 3 verses left to go! And let me tell you, memorizing scripture, though it takes commitment and time, is WORTH IT by far! We have been able to quickly draw on these verses in so many different situations because they are always in the forefront of our minds! I’ve been tossing around a few ideas for what to memorize next, then came across Ann Voskamp’s Romans Project – memorizing Romans 1, 8 and 12 in one year. Just 2 verses a week. I’m not sure if I will just do it, or everyone all together, but this is a challenge I want to take! Who’s with me?! Here is what Ann has to say about memorizing:
“One Memory Project — This year — The Romans Project, chapters 1, 8, and 12 of the book of Romans. John Piper said it in his last sermon as pastor and I listened to it during the final hours of 2012,that Romans 8 may be the most powerful chapter of the whole of the canon — and memorizing only 2 verses a week through 2013 will have us know by heart three Great Chapters of the Christian faith.
This is how you make the calendar for the year: you set Christ at the center.
This is the question: Will you spend your days meditating on His Word or your worries?
This is the resolution every new year needs — a revolution: A turning every day to Christ.
This is the thing: No one sends you a memo that Today is the day you’ll need a certain verse to keep you breathing through the day.
When you memorize Scripture, it’s like carrying your own oxygen tanks.”
FAMILY – I want to spend more one-on-one time with our children. My heart swells at the amazing blessing and privilege we have with raising them, and I feel like we need to have more fun together!
Day after day of school and discipline and chores and training gets monotonous, and I want our relationships to blossom through the moments and memories we build together. It’s important to me, and them, and I want to make it a PRIORITY.
COUNTING GIFTS – I began this challenge from Ann last year, and noticed a huge difference in my attitude on those days that I purposely looked for the good gifts in the hard things. God gives us grace and strength when we are grateful, and I want more of that this year!
SCHOOL – Somehow last year I was able to figure out our schedules for schooling to fall into a nice daily routine where we were actually able to get ALMOST everything done! We were also able to find time to add in some of the extras I have been hoping to attack for quite some time. But I still struggled with getting on the computer, getting side-tracked and derailing some of our extra time because I hadn’t planned it in advance. I still like to do things impromptu, but I’d really like to make pre-planning some crafts, activities and extras into our school week a PRIORITY.
RELATIONSHIPS – God has so blessed us with SO many godly, encouraging and valuable relationships around us. I want to feed into these friendships, be intentional about pursuing time together. Life is so busy it’s very easy to watch weeks fly by and have ideas in the back of your mind of what you’d like to do with people, but never actually get around to doing it. Last year for a little while I started pre-booking people into our calendar for get-togethers and it worked really well! I’d like to get back to doing that, as well as planning girls’ nights with some girl friends. Godly relationships are a big PRIORITY!
HOME – PRIORITIZING things in our home that we need to do is another area I want to puruse. Planning our days out in advance, seeing what the most pressing things are so I don’t become distracted (Squirrel! :D) and off track REALLY helps us to accomplish a lot. This day planner from Ann Voskamp is a great idea to help keep your days straight. Last year we re-vamped our chore system and it’s been working really well. This year I’ll be adding a couple more chores to the boys’ current ones, which will involve some training time, but will hopefully result in less cleaning for me.
Our meals haven’t been planned for quite some time now, thanks to the holidays and a new baby – and again, getting lazy on my part and not prioritizing it! I’ve been considering getting Plan to Eat instead of using my by-hand system. While I really LOVE my calendar planning system, I think having it all in one place, quickly organized with grocery lists to plan and print QUICKLY and easily, would make me hopefully more likely to actually plan :D
I need to knuckle down in the budget and get serious about my spending. It’s easy for me to go overboard with no priorities in place for saving and budgeting. We have a skeleton budget, but I do not stick to it very well! So this is the year that’s going to change!
READING – Sigh. Oh the days I could devour books and books and BOOKS in just a few short days. That hasn’t happened for YEARS! But partly because I haven’t placed a priority on it! I get sucked into other things because my days aren’t planned out and I don’t take that time to read that I used to. So I’m lining up some fantastic books for this year and joining in some book clubs – reading on a schedule isn’t always ideal, but when you want to get back into the habit of reading, it does help! Up first – finishing Everything by Mary Demuth, then reading Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. I am SOOOOO excited for this one!
HEALTH – Yeah, where did that go?! I was so excited to have such a healthy pregnancy, it went halfway down the tubes between my morning sickness, back and leg pains, etc. So now that my little Miss E is on the outside, it’s time to get things back under control! I’m contemplating a Whole 30/Paleo type approach, if it will work while nursing, and once the sky starts lightening up earlier than 7:30, hitting the road in my new shoes and learning to run a 5k! God knows I need more energy to keep up with these precious ones!
BLOGGING – Wow, I have so not been good at blogging lately. But I have a tiny excuse :D I have been so blessed to have been given this space to lay bare my heart, thoughts, and ideas and actually have people who want to read it! So a HUGE thank you to all of you that read, and comment, and encourage and pray. You are so appreciated and loved here! I want to continue writing first for the Lord, and following his leading – which is almost always directly tied to my depth of relationship with him! Blogging goes through seasons, this I am learning, and I need to prioritize once again what I’m writing and how often. So please bear with me as things change around here! There are some little and big ones in my life who are needing more and more of my time and care and I’m thrilled to give it to them!