I’m starting to think back over the year 2018. Despite the fact that not much seems to have changed in our family’s employment or income status, I recognize that God was very present and all the things I can smile about were actually blessings poured down from Heaven. For that matter, even the situations that were less than joyful, God made beautiful in His own way.
I’ve shared before that I’m big on starting family traditions. New Years is no exception.
Every December, the week after Christmas, my husband and I start individually reflecting on the year we’re about to kiss goodbye and start planning for the year ahead. We think of the good times and smile knowing God blessed us abundantly. We think of the bad times, and again we smile knowing God’s mighty hand never stopped working.
Sometime before midnight on New Year’s Eve, when we review our year especially in my mom-style, we each write down our individual goals for the coming year. Usually, we section them off into categories as such:
- Health: Mental, Physical, and Emotional
- Financial: Income, Savings, Debt Reduction, etc…
- Spiritual: Church, Individual, Family, Marriage
- Family: Vacations, Lifestyle, Parenting, Marriage
- Other Relationships: Extended family, Friendships, etc…
Then we sit down together, sharing and discussing the previous year and our goals for the coming year. What’s really cool is that often times, Mark and I have almost the same list written down. A sign that we communicate well and tend to really be in tune with what’s important to one another.
When our New Year’s goal conversation is concluded we swap lists. I take his and keep it in my wallet. He takes mine and keeps it in his wallet. Throughout the year, we inevitably come across the list and pull it out to remind each other of where we might be falling short and where our religion may help us or praise one another for those we’ve achieved.
Most years we make great strides in achieving our goals. However, life happens, so rarely do we ever achieve every goal we’ve written down. But we always see some improvement, which we count as a win because we ended up better than we were before.
This year, I’m hoping to implement a few lessons that we can learn from our children and a few changes to our tradition, though.
First, how can we plan for the year to come without first seeking God and His will for us? So we will start the week in prayer and a discussion about Mercy versus Justice, which is so actual these days, praising God for the year past and asking for wisdom and discernment for the year to come.
Second, we will include our children in the goal planning process. It’s never too early to teach the importance of setting goals and feeling a sense of accomplishment when they are achieved. Since our girls are still young, their goals will not be as complex as ours. And since some of our grown-up goals are really not things we need to concern our children with, we will not share all of our goals with them but will choose a few to share so they can help encourage us as well.
I’m thinking we’ll keep it to a simple goal each of them can work toward for the year. For example, Faith (6) could try to achieve memorizing the names of the books of the Bible in 2022 though I’m a little concerned with involving her too much already and maybe we should try to let her, like me sometimes, meet God halfway and see how it goes from there Abby (3) could work toward using her fork and spoon for eating during meals instead of using them as weapons or drumsticks against the table.
Of course, we will talk and pray with our daughters, allowing them to choose their own goal to work toward for the year. And then we will support their efforts, pointing out the risks of selfishness in prayer, but helping and encouraging them to become independent human beings along the way.
One thing is for sure. In 2019 we, as a family, will seek first God’s kingdom through, for example, my work with Moms In Prayer. For our relationship with Him is far more important than any goal we could ever set for ourselves or any accomplishment. Our love for Christ is far more important than our job, our wealth, our successes, or our knowledge. Without Christ, we wouldn’t have JOY nor would we have LOVE or LIFE.