I’m going to call 2017 the Year of Goal Setting.
Which sounds odd coming from my mind to my fingers to my blog now in April. I think I’ll credit it to Easter and the season of spring, renewal and restoration.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to dream and set goals.
Part of that is divorce related. Part of that is my tendency toward realism. Or as some put it, pessimism. It actually took a few counseling sessions, some time with scripture, and some major healing for me to be in this new phase in my life.
Just before New Year’s, I sat down with my notebook in one of Paducah’s hipster-ist coffee shops with a chai latte, and reflected on 2016. I played my favorite game Roses and Thorns, and listed out the pros and cons that I experienced throughout the year.
A 2016 Rose: Buying a house.
A 2016 Thorn: A mystery allergy that would randomly cause my top lip to swell.
Based on my reflection time, I came up with these goals:
- maintain and establish friendships
- make a plan to pay down debt of credit cards
- cool meals more
- speak peace, not division
- speak truth to power
- spend more time in creative endeavors
- blog weekly
- plan overnight creative getaway/sabbath
- cutback on sugar intake
- continue cycling
- pray more
Literally the day after I made this list, my personal life began to heave with turmoil through two tragedies (one in my family, the other in my church), and for the next two months, I had zero care for goals and dreams. I was simply buckled up and ready to hold on.
Sometimes life is like that. You still grow. And God is still in the middle of such times.
But now that I have a handle on things with seminary, and I have a greater sense of a work-life balance, I’m ready to not just come up with dreams and goals, but to achieve dreams and goals.
I’m making great headway on my debt reduction, to the point where I’m planning another big trip next summer to see a friend who now lives overseas.
I’ve already been cooking more, or at the least, eating at home more, which cuts back on costs and is decidedly more healthy. I even figured out that all those years watching my dad use his charcoal grill paid off when I grilled my first steak on the little pit that came with my house.
I have not been blogging weekly. But I’ve blogged a little more than I ended 2016.
I’ve only been on my bike twice this spring, but I’ve done a lot more walking, which meets my fitness goals.
If the amount of candy Peeps I’ve consumed the last few weeks has anything to do with my expanding waistline, then I suppose cutting back on my sugar intake isn’t going so well.
There will be a vacation/retreat/sabbath coming in May.
What may be most exciting for me is the dreaming I’ve been able to do with my house. I spent some time praying about what will become of one of my spare bedrooms. At the moment, I’ve been able to create a guest oasis upstairs in my house, and I’m excited to see how God uses it over the next year.
I walked the outside and inside of my house last week, and created a master list of all the home improvement projects the Midtown Manse needs. Then, I was able to prioritize the improvements based on the upcoming seasons. I’ve got two year’s worth of improvements ahead of me, and broken down by season makes things seem so much more manageable both timewise and budgetwise.
My latest favorite activity is digging in my yard, finding space for perennials and bushes and pretty things. Maybe it’s creative, but it sure is physical.
This is a good season of life for me. Last year at this time, I was stressing over my first year in seminary, wrapping up plans for buying my house, getting ready for a wedding and preparing to travel abroad.
This year, I’ve enjoyed the daffodils. I’ve enjoyed the spring. I’ve enjoyed digging in the earth. I’ve enjoyed having my windows open. I’ve enjoyed living in the present, with an eye out for my future.
“My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 24:13-14