Ok peeps. So with a new year comes NEW-YEAR-NEW-ME!! It is declared from every social media platform, it comes out of all of our mouths, it is the theme of the 1st few months of every new year.
For me, it has usually been more of a question.
New Year…. New Me?
To which my heart would sigh a “probably not”.
Why? Because I had set goals over and over and over and every. single. dad-gum. time. I failed at those goals a hot-minute later.
Man…is there anything worse than that feeling? Failure. Especially internal failure…when we set our hearts on what we want and we fall painfully short, and the reasons we fall short feel so dang predictable and habitual.
The post I-wanna-lose-20-lbs-in-a-week failure binge-eating sesh is always reeeeal good for my morale.
Year after year, season after season, it happened every single time. Goals set and immediately not met. It was a pattern, a very obvious one. And it wasn’t just at the New Year. If I was being really honest with myself, this trickled down into my every day life.
I asked myself and the Lord… “BUT WHY????”
The want to was there. I had the desire to set the goals and I would have said I really wanted those goals to happen.
I would lament and say “same” to my boy Paul who said:
“What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise…. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.” Romans 7:15-20
Same Paul. S.A.M.E.
Something has gone wrong deep down when you decide to not eat carbs and then you IMMEDIATELY get up from that place and slam 4 slices of pizza as if you had not just made up your mind about that exact thing.
If this were an infomercial it would say in a yuppy-goofy voice with an actress holding her head in stress as she looks at a treadmill:
“Are you tired of setting resolutions and not doing them one single time?”
And you would say to the TV… “Why Yes, Yes I am actually.”
Well friend, let me let you in on what feels like the best little secret to my heart, what changed it all for me.
It was one tiny word, one single collection of letters, that held with it the power to radically change my life:
At this word, the cycle ended.
Last year I sat down to think through what goals I wanted to set for 2017, again with the heavy-heart-sigh that I felt so unbelievably unable to achieve them even as I wrote them.
I stopped writing and bowed my head.
“Lord, what do you want for me this year? What do you want me to do?”
And in an instant the freshest breath of God breathed over my heart and the words came as clear as day to me:
WHO ARE YOU BECOMING?
Not “What are you doing?” or “What can you accomplish?”
WHO WILL YOU BECOME in these next 365 days?
And the deeper question, WHO WILL YOU ALLOW ME TO MAKE YOU?
See friends, my problem was that I was setting a bunch of goals without knowing the WHY behind them? My goals lacked serious vision, clarity and purpose.
The WHY behind the goals I was setting just didn’t cut it for motivation.
Let me show you:
Start Exercising and Eat right so that I can lose weight.
Get Organized so that my excess stuff stops stressing me out.
At first glance this may read as normal and healthy and understandable.
But what if our goals looked like this:
I want to become HEALTHY and STRONG
Why? Because I know that if I am healthy I will have energy to do the things I am being called to. I will be around for my kids and will be available for them. If I am healthy I can have a clear mind, not a sluggish one. Health would mean that my body is taken care of. If I am strong then I will feel capable of handling what life throws at me. If I am strong I will be able to bring that strength into every area of my life.
Why? Because as a child of God, I am a living and breathing billboard of God’s glory and His nature. If I am not healthy and I am not strong, what does that say about the God I am an advertisement for.
I want to become FREE FROM MY STUFF
If I am free from my stuff, then stuff won’t control me. If I am free from my stuff I will consume less. If I figure out why I have so much stuff, why I feel the need to pile up possessions, I will have significantly less to organize. My stuff won’t be an issue because I will know the issue that ended in all my stuff.
Why? Because in becoming free from my possessions I will become freed up to do what I am called to do, freedom from my stuff will open up margin for me to invite more meaningful things in.
Let me tell you a quick story:
(feel free to skip down if you don’t want to be a part of story time)
One day I came home for lunch and parked in front of our town house. Right in front of the door. The shortest route into our house was to park on the front curb and hop-skip-and-jump up the short sidewalk and into our front door.
Now, a little about me: I am all about the fastest route to anything or anywhere. I am in constant, quick movement at all times.
So, this parking spot was my fave. If I parked in the garage I would have to drive all the way around the entire house, wait on the garage door to take-it’s-time and open and then walk through the courtyard where I would have to deal with the stupid dog.
I don’t have time for all that.
So anyways. I’m inside eating and my tall-drink-of-fine comes to me and says,
“Hey. Don’t park right there next time.”
I gave him a quick head nod and an internal eye roll. He’s not the boss of me is truly what I probably thought. Because: ME=mature.
The next day, same thing.
“Hey Babe. Don’t park there ok?”
And would you believe I said “Ok” and then did it again THE VERY NEXT DAY.
So on the third day the oh-so-better-half of mine came to me and said,
“Hey, come here for a sec, I want to show you something.”
He opened the front door and pointed down the street, past my car, to the mailman’s car that was parked on the same curb about a block up from my car.
“Do you see the mailman’s truck?”
“Ok, do you see the mailman?”
I did. He was ABSOLUTELY PRECIOUS. I swear he was the little old man from UP….just shuffling down our sidewalk with our mail.
“Awww….he’s cute Babe.”
“Do you see what he’s doing? Why do you think he’s out of his truck walking towards our house?”
“Because every day you park in front of the mailbox. So he can never get to ours. He has to pull down the sidewalk, get out and walk back a block to give us our mail.”
OH.MY.WORD. Bless his little UP-heart. I had unwillingly created extra work for this precious man. He had to make that shuffle EVERY DAY because of me.
I’ll tell you this.
I NEVER PARKED IN THE FRONT AGAIN.
I now knew WHY it mattered that I didn’t park there.
The WHY changed everything.
What’s behind our goals? What are the WHYS behind them as we set them? Why do they matter?
Are they driven by the desire to BECOME who we’re meant by our Creator to be or are they simply a list of tasks or a compilation of “should-dos”? A collection of DOINGS that lack any real focus?
Do you know what I have learned? That God delights when we sit and dream and ask Him who He wants us to BE. He is the AUTHOR of our lives, He knows the end from the beginning.
He is delighted in the BECOMING process of our hearts.
And as we BECOME, we naturally DO. Out of our BECOMING, we actually achieve things. Deep, rich things, things that actually matter, things that end with Him getting more glory.
With a shift in heart on the matter, I was able to set some BECOMING goals last year that TRULY CHANGED MY LIFE. Like in the everyday nitty-gritty mundanity of life, I saw changes happen, I met goals, I achieved things that I had always wanted to do.
But more importantly, I BECAME someone in 2017, the someone that God had in mind all along. I got on board with the plan that He had set before time. I followed His vision for me instead of creating my own version that would no doubt sell my potential short.
I took steps closer to His design for me with each passing day.
I found the better thing.
I’m gonna leave you with one more story:
“As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said.
But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”
The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting
yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—
it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Friends, let’s not get caught on the wrong side of this equation.
Let’s not try to decide what matters more to Jesus and get that answer wrong.
Jesus clearly knows where he stands on the BECOMING vs DOING topic:
“One thing ONLY is essential…and Mary has chosen it…”
Mary sat at His feet, hanging on every word He said.
She knew that in His words lied the potential to BECOME someone new.
Let’s sit at His feet and ask Him who He wants us to BECOME. Let’s hang on every one of His words to us.
And then, get out a pen and a fresh notebook, and LET’S SET SOME GOALS standing on the fresh ground of what He tells you.
Want to know my BECOMING goals for 2018?
Well, I want you to know them so that you know I’m practicing what I preach:
FILLED & AWARE // I want to be filled with the Holy Spirit every day that ends in Y. I want to be more aware of the small things that God is doing right in front of me. I want to be more aware of who I am: my personality, my needs, my quirks…all of it. More aware in general of the tiny ways that God moves and speaks.
HEALTHY & STRONG // I want to be healthy on all fronts. I want to be responsible with my body, take care of my body and figure out what makes me feel full of health and beauty. I want to be strong. Not skinnier, not a certain size. I want to feel the strength of muscles that have been worked hard for.
FREE FROM MY STUFF// I want less of all of the things. But more than the number of things I own, I want to tackle consumerism in my heart. Why is it there? I want to feel the freedom of wide open margin, free from clutter and excess, and open to all that Jesus has for me.
A WARRIOR MAMA// I don’t just want to be a parent. I want to war for the hearts of my girlies. I want to war in prayer for them, I want to war against distraction that robs us of quality time and give them the gift of my undivided attention. I want to war for their salvation and for their destinies. I want to parent them through the sharp lens of intentionality, making the most of my days with them.
A CURATOR OF HOME//I want open-door living, a house full of people from all walks of life, all backgrounds of faith. I want our home to be a refuge for people. I want a home that spurs on creativity in my family, a no-limits environment that is fun, relaxed and spontaneous. I want visitors and my own family to leave better than they came in.
A GIVER OF WORDS// I desire to see the Lord take the gift He’s given me and use it to change the world. I want to give away my words as if they are a gift. I want to lavish people with encouragement and I want people to feel known and cherished by my words.
Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom. You, friend (since there’s probably only one of you who love me enough to read all the way through my rambling…Hey Mom), are why I write the words that I write. I’m cheering you on in all that you are BECOMING!