Goals and Perfection

Every time I embark on a journey to achieve goals I have set for myself, I end up getting discouraged by imperfection. Multiple times in the last week I have become very aware of this fact; for instance one night, I was very tired by 8pm. I put my little daughter to bed, and I mentally insisted that I not go to bed and rest, but that I instead go downstairs and clean up the kitchen, vacuum the dining room, finish a meal plan and store list, then come back upstairs and clean the bathroom.

Now, when I am exhausted, I have a really hard time staying on task and focusing. By working on my goals, I’m hoping to improve my abilities in this area, however, growth does take time. Last night, all I managed to finish was getting the kitchen wiped down, the meal plan and the store list. Considering that those three things took me over three hours, I realize that I probably did have time to fit in a little more. But, I was constantly distracted, going back and forth to the computer, “jotting” ideas down and adding meals between sinks of dishes.

I was so discouraged because I just wondered how long would it be before I would be able to magically “get it all done”. I knew that I had not managed my time perfectly, but I also knew that I had made the attempt and I had accomplished the most important things on my list. I wondered “When is enough, enough?”. I pondered that question a little bit, but my head was foggy and could not come up with an answer. Even now, with clearer head, I wonder the same thing. When is enough, enough? How do I decide?

I have not come up with a way to draw a clear line in the sand about when enough is enough. I know there are times when I do need to get up and try to do better. I know that there are also times when I just need to accept some grace. I just do not always know how to tell the difference.

More than anything, what I really want is to be able to enjoy my family. I am writing all of this on my husband’s day off while he sleeps in because he worked all night last night. But when he and my daughter wake up, I want to be relaxed when I am with them. When I am pursuing perfection, I am anything but relaxed. My insides feel like a hamster running on a wheel getting nowhere and it drives me almost to insanity.

The solution is not to stop pursuing goals all together, but rather to pursue goals in God’s strength and resting on His grace. There will be times when I do not quite achieve my goals, and in those times, I need to be not frustrated, but rather, I need to be at peace, trusting in God’s ability to make all things work together. After all, God is far more interested in my heart attitude than He is in what my hands can accomplish.

 

Gratitude Expressed

As I reflect on the past week and look forward to the next week, I realize that I have much to be thankful for! Here are just ten wonderful things!

1. A God-given husband and a blessed-by-God marriage

2. Pandora Internet Radio which I can use to listen to praise music

3. A darling and happy baby

4. The power of the Holy Spirit

5. Romans 8!!!

6. Time to do the dishes

7. Wonderful in-laws and time with his family

8. Sunshine-y weather

9. Progress and learning in my homemaking journey

10. A growing baby bump

What I learned from Washing Feet

I just had three tween girls over at my house for a sleepover. As part of the sleepover, I gave them an unprofessional pedicure. I washed and scrubbed their feet with an exfoliating scrub, and then painted their toenails. One of the girls was hesitant once I said “feet”. She was embarrassed about her feet. I was quick to reassure her their was nothing to be embarrassed about after finding out why she was embarrassed.

I wondered if I should have insisted that we do our feet, because maybe it was insensitive to gloss over her embarrassment. But at the same time, I wanted her to know there was nothing to be embarrassed about. Each of us has physical characteristics that make us less than perfect, but none of them take away from our beauty as a creation of God.

I contemplated on the whole feet washing incident and compared it with how Christ washed the feet of the disciples. I realized that in some ways, Jesus showed just how much He is willing to see the good, the bad and the ugly in our lives by washing His disciples’ feet. After all, I think it is pretty normal for feet to be dirty, especially back in Jesus’ day. Those feet would have been outright disgusting. But Jesus dealt with the physical disgusting and He will deal with the spiritually disgusting.

Psalm 62:8 “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” I remember discovering that verse as a teenage girl. I remember being so excited about this particular verse because it meant that God wanted to hear me. Not only did God want to hear me, but He also wanted to hear everything in my heart. What a beautiful concept. Many embarrassing and even sinful things exist in the heart of a teenage girl, yet God wanted me to pour out my heart to Him.

God wants all of us so that He can have His will and His way in our lives.

Goals for May

My goals for May are as follows:

1. Bible Reading–continue to follow the plan for shirkers and slackers.

In regards to my spiritual life, I want to make morning devotions a priority. Lately, I’ve just been reading/praying/journalling at the end of the day, however, I want to learn to seek God first. So, morning devotions is a goal this month.

2. Exercise/Health–I will continue walking for a half an hour 3x a week. I need to get more focused on adding in fruits and vegetables into my diet however. One way that I will do this is to prepare fruits and vegetables to have on hand for snacking.

3. Spanish–I never got a Spanish resource from my local library, but I have a few resources on hold to be picked up this week. In addition, I will be attempting to listen to some Spanish Christian radio.

4. Book reading–I did not finish Career Renegade in April, so I will go ahead and finish it this month. In addition, I am reading a book about blogging. If I finish those and have time, I would like to read Purpose in Prayer by E.M. Bounds.

5. Writing and blogging–I want to blog 3x per week or approximately fourteen times during the month of May.

6. Relationships–this is a hard one, but I am going to put time and effort into spending time with two different girls my age who are also mothers.

7. Love Letters– I need to sit down and write two this month!

I also have two other goals for this month that are not related to my resolutions. I want to earn $15 in Amazon gift cards through Swagbucks. I also want to complete two knitting projects that force me to learn a new skill or stitch.

Hopefully, I will be able to report some progress at the end of the month!

 

Other’s Thoughts on Goals

I read two different blog posts talking about goals today. I wanted to share them and record my thoughts on each.

The first one was “The Wrong Bullseye” by Laura Parker and posted on the (in)courage blog. Laura spoke about the difference between our goals and desires versus the holy desires and goals that God has for us. She spoke about how we may want to get out of a store very quickly, but a goal of being more Christ-like should be our focus. This goal of being more Christ-like, and I would add Spirit-filled, is a willingness to be patient when the cashier moves at a snails pace or when the customer can’t find the change. For me, this post was a reminder to take a deep breath when my goals get interrupted. I need to remember that the most important part of my life is becoming more like my Savior.

The second blog post I read was a more personal evaluation of goals on the Money Saving Mom blog (written by Crystal Paine). I was rather awestruck by her list of goals that she was accomplishing this year! Quite honestly, I was even a little envious that she was successfully meeting the vast majority of her goals. But in a rare moment of reasonableness, I realized that she is years ahead of where I am in my life. I realized that the fact that I am attempting to continue to follow through on my goals is enough! I may not be on target with my goals, but I have not given up on them yet! I also realized that I am practicing intentionality, goal-setting, perseverance, and a host of other traits that will help me to achieve goals in the future. If I let Crystal’s post discourage me, then I will never get where she is right now. I’ll never be that successful! But, if I can look at her post and be inspired to keep on keeping on, I will be successful someday! So today, I choose to be inspired!

Alcohol and drunkenness

This Wednesday night service at church, our pastor spoke on what the Bible says about alcohol and getting drunk with alcohol. Personally, in some ways the message did not apply as I grew up away from the temptations of alcohol and even in my adult life, alcohol has never really tempted me. I have seen what alcohol, most specifically getting drunk with alcohol, can do to a person and to others around them and I just do not want to deal with the consequences. However, in the midst of listening to the message, I had a few thoughts.

One of the most striking verses in the Bible relating to drunkenness is Ephesians 5:18 “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be ye filled with the Spirit;”. This verse strikes me powerfully because it contrasts being drunk with wine and being filled with the Spirit as if they are opposites. So, as I half-listened to the message, I began to think about the consequences if being drunk with wine (alcohol) was the opposite of being filled with the Spirit.

I realized that being drunk with alcohol removes inhibitions and reveals your true sin nature. Alcohol removes all the “rules” one has learned about behaving around other people and allows one to say what they want, take what they want and do what they want. The human sin nature is ugly and repulsive to God; it is the opposite of His character. We were created for fellowship with God, and any sin in our lives breaks fellowship with God. When we take action that causes us to sin without any restraint we are keeping ourselves from God and from who we were created to be. God’s plan is to refine, purify and sanctify us so that we can become more like Him.

Being “drunk” with the Holy Spirit also can remove inhibitions. It just removes different inhibitions. When we are drunk with the Spirit we can be released from our flesh and sin nature. Think about how fear often rules our life when we think about expressing and living our faith. Being filled with the Spirit should release us from the power of that fear and give us full and total confidence in our God. God’s goal and plan for each of our lives is to make us more like Himself and He does that through His Holy Spirit.

I remember my first encounter with someone who had been drinking and become drunk. I was four years old on a train with my mom and sister headed to a different state to visit family. I was coloring with the girl in the seat beside me, and this guy approached us and wanted to help us color. It was a little weird because he was quite persistent. Had that been the only encounter, I do not know that I would have remembered it. But hours later, this man caused a ruckus and was confronted by a woman who worked on the train. He threatened her. I was only a few rows away from where this was all going on. I remember being very scared of what was going on. Nothing major came of the situation; I think he eventually calmed down. But to this day, drunk people make me very nervous because that encounter is so etched in my mind. Last night, I realized something, whether you are drunk with alcohol, or you are “drunk” with the Spirit of God, anyone who encounters you will not forget that encounter. If you are filled with the Spirit, you might be witnessing to someone and despite the working of the Holy Spirit, they reject Christ at that time, but I guarantee you, they will not forget your attempt. You may be the first person that they have met who has actually been “different” because of  their faith; maybe you are just one of many, but no matter what a person filled with the Spirit of God is unforgettable.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance; those fruits are what come out of us when we are filled with the Spirit. What are the fruits of being drunk with alcohol? Lust, anger, loudness, gluttony, impaired judgement, stealing, violence and even sometimes death. What kind of fruit do you want to have coming out in your life?

April Update

It is already almost halfway through April and the last time I published a post here was the eighth of January. This utter neglect of the blog shows that I have failed miserably in my resolution of blogging. I could explain all the reasons, why I have not been able to blog, or have chosen not to blog, but I feel like they are of no consequence because they in the past. In having these New Year’s Resolutions, I wanted to focus on the present or the future. I was going to do that by breaking my goals down by month as well as by continuing to try again when I failed. So, here I am, trying again!

Though April is half-past, I intend to continue my resolutions, picking up where I left off, or tailoring the goal to my present situation.

So, in regards to my Bible reading, I definitely am glad that I chose the plan for shirkers and slackers, because I have definitely shirked and slacked in that area. However, that is in the past, and for the rest of April, I intend to pick up right where I left off and press on with due diligence.

In regards to my health, I have been working on eating more fruits and vegetables. I slipped away from my plan to slowly add in more and more servings of fruits and vegetables in a way that I could track, but I definitely am confident that I am eating more of them on a daily basis. One factor that has aided me is my increased appetite due to pregnancy.

Exercise goals have changed as well because of my pregnancy. I am no longer working on sit-ups and push ups, but I am aiming to exercise by walking for a half hour three times a week. I really want to be in good physical shape when it comes time to deliver this baby. I want to have stamina for labor and delivery.

Spanish has gone the way of my other goals, but I am going to get up and try again. I plan on doing this by getting another Spanish language resource from my local library this week. In May, I want to try to go to the Spanish language group that I found online.

I have actually made some progress in my book reading. I know that I am behind, but I also know that I have at least tried to keep up a little bit. I know that I will be able to catch up just fine. The book I am currently reading is Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love by Jonathon Fields. By April 30, I want to have finished it and have written a review here.

Regarding my writing goal. I have to say that although I have not blogged, I have written. I have journal-ed as well as writing a few blog post drafts. So, I have not disregarded the idea of writing altogether. However, for the remaining two weeks of April, I want to write six blog posts. Preferably, I would like to have written three per week.

My second to last goal/resolution was regarding relationships. I am not going to lie, this is one that I let myself forget. I will redouble my efforts though. I will try to connect with at least two other girls over the next two weeks.

The last resolution was to write Luke twelve love letters. I am honestly not sure if I have written any at all. I know with the craziness of the past few months, he definitely deserves them! I am going to make time in my schedule to curl up and write him a  letter very soon!

My goals for the rest of April are concluded. I will report back on my progress, and hopefully have some other more interesting things to post as well!