Posted in Thoughts from Life, What Works for Me

Looking Back

I forget things. Quite easily, in fact. So, I need a lot of reminders. That’s part of why I started blogging – as a sort of online scrapbook for family events and online journal for thoughts I’ve processed and lessons I’ve learned. Sometimes I look back just to remember the sweet things I’ve experienced.

Other times I need to look back in order to progress forward. Old ideas and experience spur new ones. Tips I shared at a time when things were going smoothly for me (at least in that one area!) help me get over humps when my own road is not so smooth.

I also need to look back sometimes to see how far I’ve come. Recently, I went back and reread some of my earliest blog posts. Wow! There are some I’m tempted to unpublish! But, they remind me of how much I have learned. How practice does bring improvement – at least, I hope I’ve improved!

Finally, looking back motivates me to start new things. It reminds me that, once upon a time, I got started on something that is now a natural part of life. I have several things on my “want to accomplish eventually” list, and right now they seem to be rather daunting. But, so was blogging, once upon a time. So was knitting. Teaching. Editing. Homeschooling. Some of them are still daunting. But, I’m doing them, and they have become a part of normal life – because at some point along the way, I just started.

So, I choose to look back.

My sweet husband handed me a couple of sheets of paper this week. They are all about looking back in order to progress forward. They guide me through finding the good things that happened over the course of 2016. They are helping me look back.

And by taking the time to look back, my hope is that I will be spurred to progress, improve, and begin in 2017.
What helps you move forward?

Posted in Marriage, Thoughts

Marriage Monday: Goals & Togetherness

This week 2015 will end. Our new year begins as Thursday rolls into Friday. Some of you will be making resolutions. Others will declare resolutions to be a waste of time. Some of you will just plug right along, letting life return to normal after the holiday chaos. Others will be restructuring schedules and finding ways to breathe life into the long winter months. (Can you tell I interact with homeschoolers?)

But, there’s one thing we should all be doing. We should be setting goals. Okay, so we don’t all have to set goals when the new calendar year turns. Perhaps your goals connect with the school year. Maybe you set goals with each new birthday or anniversary. Whatever the case may be, goals are something we all should establish and revisit regularly. And they are so much more useful than resolutions!

Goals & Marriage

So, what does a discussion of goals, resolutions, and the new year have to do with marriage? Everything!

You see, you and I can set goals all we want. But, if those goals are not in line with the goals our spouses have set, or worse, are contradictory to them, we will fight an uphill battle – one we will probably end up losing. And we will thwart the efforts of our spouses as well.

So, what can we do?

Set Goals

As Christians, our ultimate goal is Christ. Period. But, even Paul gave very specific examples of how he intended to accomplish the goal of glorifying Christ with every ounce of his being. Why should we expect to accomplish as much with less focus? So, we set before ourselves specific ways in which we will glorify Christ and draw others to Him.

Might God change those goals? Might He step in and redirect us in 2016? Very probably. But, when we do not set goals, we tend to flounder about with no purpose, spiritually or otherwise. Prayerfully setting goals makes us more sensitive to His voice and His direction, even if He redirects us mid-flow.

Share Goals

Individualism is well entrenched in the western cultural mentality. But, it’s also a spiritual deterrent. I was created to need the support of others. Even if my goals are strictly my own (my health goals, for example), the truth is that I cannot achieve them on my own. I need the help and support of my family, and especially of my husband. He wants to motivate, encourage, and support me. But, how can he if he has no idea what my goals are?

Encourage Goal Setting

Last week, my husband shared some of his goals for 2016. Next, he asked for mine. Finally, he challenged each of our children to consider goals. They were a bit intimidated by that challenge. They’d never thought about setting goals for themselves. And that is true of many of us. We just move through life, going with the flow, when we could instead be aiming for a goal.

If your spouse has never considered the idea of setting goals, present that challenge this year. (But, don’t be pushy. Start by sharing your own goals, then prayerfully go from there.)

Support the Goals of Others

Actively. Joyfully. And, when it comes to our spouses, we should attempt to merge our goals with theirs. If any of our plans clash or interfere with one another’s needs, perhaps we should reconsider and prayerfully re-evaluate.

Your goals – combined with your spouse’s – will go far to shape how your marriage grows this year. Stand together! Work together! And be ready to look back this time next year and see what God has done as you have submitted your time and energy to honoring Him through growth.