On a rare evening out together a few weeks ago, Will and I took the chance to discuss some of the challenges we are facing and how to adjust our lives to better fit our calling. We made some goals for the new year, and talked about how we might go about accomplishing them.
As we were eating our steak, I suddenly put down my fork. “You know,” I said, “I feel like every single area of my life needs to change. It’s depressing.” After a minute of silence, I added, “What have we done well in the past year?”
I love to dream of the future, and I always dream of improving myself, my circumstances, and my surroundings. I believe in dreaming and goal-setting, but that evening I realized that my dreaming sometimes stems from an inner sense of failure. I mean, is there anything that I do that doesn’t need to be improved?
The ever popular New Year’s Resolutions may not always be based so much on excitement for the year ahead as they are salving that internal disappointment and discontent I feel with myself.
By this I don’t mean that dreaming is erroneous. I can hardly be effective if I have no goal, or at least some presiding values. But it’s hard to wean myself of a pride characterized by a crippling self-judgment.
But if “in Him we live and move and have our being,” (Acts 17:28) I can’t possibly have done everything wrong.
Will you join me in a little challenge? Can you name things that you did the past year that you feel good about? Can you name them without adding any caveats?
If you are self-deprecating like me, an exercise like this is very hard. I’ll go first, then I invite you to add your thoughts in the comments. You may describe what was hard for you, but you may not add any explanations of what you didn’t do right.
I am glad that in 2017 Will and I took classes and pushed through all the paperwork and inspections to become a licensed foster family. Having a foster child in our home is a great blessing to us, and I know we brought her a place where she is safe and loved.
In 2017, I homeschooled my children even though I have a special-needs child and teaching school is not natural for me. I gave my children a good education as well as the chance to be close to their mama every day. I taught them important Christian values and life skills.
I cooked nourishing food for my family in 2017. My heart was happy when I had a nice meal on the table and my favorite people all around enjoying the food and conversation.
In 2017, I opened my home to others even when it wasn’t convenient. I played with neighbor children and added an extra plate or three to our table many times. I enjoyed taking time to listen to people, young or old, who needed a listening ear.
Whew. Leaving out the caveats is hard. Of course you know I did these things only with God’s help, right? 😉 Your turn now. What did you do well in 2017?