Have you noticed that I haven’t put up my goals for this year? When January came around, I just couldn’t do it. There was so much going on that I just felt overwhelmed with the prospect of pulling together a list of goals. I know that many of you were looking for that post, but as I prayed about it, I felt the Lord telling me that it wasn’t time to do it–not just yet. And in all honesty, I have to admit that the goal I am sharing with you today looks nothing like all the ideas that were running through my head when I first thought about it. So here I am, three weeks into the new year, but it’s still January, right? And I’m on God’s calendar, not mine!
So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)
As I’ve been praying and thinking through what the Lord wanted me to focus on this year, it’s become very clear that I am to be more intentional with my time, with every hour of my day. Now, in saying that, I don’t mean have every minute filled up. But if something is going on my calendar, or if I’m spending time on it, it needs to glorify God.
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
I have a confession to make. The Lord has made it very clear to me that I have been watching too much TV. It’s not that I am watching things that are bad, it’s just that I’m not watching things that are edifying or lifting me up. As I’ve been reading the book, To Be Told, I have felt strongly convicted. Here’s what the author, Dan Allender says:
“Too many people are missing their story because they are watching the stories of others. We live story vicariously through television, sports, magazines, and and talk shows. Such stories may occasionally educate us, but most often, they sedate us. They free us from admitting that our own life is dull and lifeless.”
When I read this a few weeks ago, it just hit me. God has given me this wonderful, amazing life, but is it as wonderful as it can be? Is it as wonderful as God wants it to be? Or is it dull and lifeless because I’m watching TV for hours each night from my couch? All the murder, drama, intrigue, and suspense—it’s exciting to me! But while every once in a while is okay, I’m thinking every single night is a bit much. So I’m not going to do this every night this year.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8)
Now, I’m not going to put a number on it exactly, but my goal is going to be just watching around two hours a week. There are a couple of shows that Bradford and I love watching together—they make us laugh, cry, and think. (like Downton Abby!) And I’m going to be replacing that time with a few investments that will reap great rewards, such as reading (both individually and aloud together), playing games (kids love this!) and taking more time for personal growth.
During the day, I need to be more intentional with my time. When I’m at home, am I looking at Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook? Or am I looking into my children’s eyes and having a meaningful conversation and true quality time unhindered by my thoughts of other “things”?
When I decided to go “off the radar” and keep my iPhone turned off all day Saturday, I was struck by the difference it made in my son. He had gone out on a date with his dad, and then when they got home, he snuggled up with me to talk. We were completely uninterrupted and focused on each other. I was giving him 100% of my time and attention. For the rest of the day, he was so good, so giddy, and so obedient. His love tank was full. He had what he needed. And I had given him 100 percent of me.
I’ve also noticed that whenever my husband walks in the door, I need to give him my attention immediately. I need to put down what I’m doing and focus my eyes and attention on him. Re-focusing makes a big difference in our relationship too.
My Personal Growth
I love to read. Lately I have been putting down books in favor of TV time. The truth is, however, if I can get into a really good book, then television holds no attraction for me. I’m usually reading at least four books at a time!
What I pick up to read depends on what mood I’m in. I love fiction, and my favorite is Christian historical fiction. I definitely can’t start the day with fiction, because if I get caught up in it, I will not get anything else done! So in the morning, I’ll choose a non-fiction book, my Bible ( of course) and then at night I can stay up late if I get sucked into a novel.
My Prayer Life
In a recent sermon, my pastor was talking about the disciple Peter, and he asked a heart-probing question that resonated with me:
What is my greatest strength and when do I take it too far?
I know my greatest strength is my high energy level and my drive. (Just ask my family and friends. I wear everybody out!) Those are wonderful strengths to have—gifts from God. He blessed me with a lot of physical energy and a mind that goes 90 miles a minute, and these serve a great purpose when they are kept in balance. But that’s my struggle—keeping that balance.
Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:14-16)
I have to put everything in front of the Lord so that I can intentionally use my time in ways that honor Him, and not just on the latest idea I’ve had!
Have you set any goals for this year? Are you focusing on one main goal, or verse, or word for 2013? I’d love to know!
Learn more smart strategies for goal-setting in these articles:
- Smart Ways to Set Your Goals and Reach Them
- My 2012 Goals
- My 2011 Goals
- Resolutions: Time to Focus (by my husband Bradford)