A few years ago I started using a ‘word of the year’ where you choose one word to focus on for the year. I have enjoyed it and was planning on choosing a word for this year. I had considered simple or simplicity, thought about service, and was rather fond of rest. However, none of those felt like it was quite the right fit. Last month I did a ‘be still and be present’ challenge where I challenged myself and anyone that wanted to join me to spend time each day being still with God and present with your family. As I continued to pray about what my word for this year would be I realized that I was not being called to focus on a word but a phrase. I am going to carry the phrase ‘be still and be present’ with me into 2019. I want this to be a year in which I really dive into God’s word with consistency and that I am fully present and enjoy my family.
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There are benefits to concrete measurable goals but I also think there are benefits to just taking small steps with a focus on an end result. I need to personally remember that my goal is progress not perfection. Sometimes, if you are focused on that measurable goal (for example, having a quiet time 7 days a week) and you miss the mark it is easy to want to give up and say that you failed. However, if you went from only having quiet time occasionally to having quiet time four or five days a week you have made progress.
For me personally, I want to get back to listening to the daily audio Bible app each morning, do more Bible journaling/coloring, and continue to get more consistent with my prayer life. I plan to use my Bible app and possibly Google Calendar to remind me each day until it becomes a habit. I have not yet decided exactly how I’m going to track my prayer life. I have tried complicated systems before that just did not work for that season in my life, but I also want to have a plan. I did find these adorable planners that focus on your quiet time and prayers life. For some people those planners will be a great way to organize and track Bible reading and prayer. For others they will be a hindrance to just getting it done. Use the tools that work for you and do not worry about the systems and tools that are not the right fit in this season of your life.
When I think about what I want ‘be present’ to look like in my life this year I see time spent just enjoying my husband and children. There will be times that are busy, times when I have to focus on cleaning, teaching, or writing, but I want to make sure there are also plenty of times that I am focused on them. I want to spend time with each one of them over the course of the week enjoying life together. Some days that might be craft activities, Legos, or hikes. Some days it might be baking in the kitchen with one of the children, date nights with my husband, family game night or just watching the children play in the backyard. I still need to work on consistency so I plan to continue to use the planning sheets that I created to go with the challenge last month. It is my prayer that by the end of the year it has become my default and I no longer need the planning or reminders.
2018 was a year full of changes and adventures. The two most pivotal events were adding baby number four to our family in February and Hurricane Florence in September. We have been and will continue to be working to help with Hurricane Florence relief efforts, but are looking forward to finding a bit of routine in 2019. I do not know that 2019 will bring but I pray that it is a year where I can grow closer to God and my family. I would love to know what your word or phrase is for 2019 or any goals that you have for the year. Please share them with me in the comments.
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