Growing Forward in 2014
Usually I am so jazzed to be making lots of lists this time of year, looking back and dreaming forward. I do have pages of notes full of lessons learned in 2013 and thoughts for 2014, but when I saw my friend’s pointed question at the top of my newsfeed, I couldn’t help but reevaluate my lists.
“What are you most excited about in 2014?”
I set my fingers on the keys and considered responding in various ways.
The deeply spiritual: experiencing God’s Grace.
The attempt at humor: showering daily.
The practical: sleep.
But my honest answer?
The first thought that came to mind when I read that question: a night away with my husband… next October.
I love Norah to the moon and back, but baby girl won’t take a bottle, thus making us fairly inseparable. So call me crazy, but I’m looking forward to getting away, if even only for two days… next fall.
But if I step back and examine the goals I’m laying out for 2014 (here’s my process for creating goals), I can admit to not feeling a ton of excitement. Does that sound awful?
Let me rephrase.
The other night I was working through my goals and I began to feel very, very overwhelmed. Paralyzed, in fact.
The reality of my days has changed so much in the past year. I told my husband through tears that all of this goal-making was important, but it just didn’t seem feasible. I’m lucky if I do much more than keep my daughter and I fed, clean, and out of pajamas by noon. So when I keep seeing tweets and posts about goal-setting and BIG dreams for 2014, I can’t help but start to feel a little discouraged.
Are there seasons where we hang up our dreams for a while?
I don’t believe so. I think there are seasons where we simply need to think about our goals differently.
“Consider the lilies how they grow.” Luke 12:27
The whole point of making goals for the year is to foster growth. Even if a goal is about scaling back, I make that goal in order to grow. So yes, I make the goals and declarations (maybe not a 30 point manifesto or even 10 big hitters) but I claim something for 2014 in order to grow forward, to lean into the gospel.
“God doesn’t want us to give more, God wants us to give the best.” –Margaret Feinberg, Scouting the Divine
How can I give God the best this year?
How can I live out of joy, gratitude, and contentment rather than worry, stress, or anger?
How can I do less and yet experience more of what really matters?
My word for 2014 is INTENTIONAL. If I desire to see growth in all sorts of areas: social, family, career, physical, personal development, and spiritual – I must look at even the smallest moments with intentional eyes. Joy will come when I give thanks, when I notice, when I appreciate, when I acknowledge God’s hand each and every day.
I’m looking forward to 2014. I’m excited for the growth that’s coming.