Y'all, 2016 is over. It is hard to believe that it is in the past, but it is. 2016 is behind us, and 2017 is moving on, full steam ahead. 2016 was quite the year- we bought a house, went on lots of fun trips- big and small, I made new friends, met one of my favorite authors, wrote a book, and we celebrated our first year of marriage. Oh, and I got a new job. Wow! 2016 was not one to disappoint. There were trials and valleys, but at the end, I could still say that God is good and that He is faithful. He did so much in my heart and life through 2016, and I am very excited about all that He has in store for us in 2017.
Last year, my word for the year was trust. I really felt like I needed to relearn how to trust the Lord in all things and in every season. Obviously I am not perfect at this now that the calendar reads January. However, I can say that as I look back at 2016, I am in awe at how His perfect plan is evidence of His goodness, kindness, and faithfulness. He never ever disappoints, and His ways are always good.
Looking ahead to the new year, I felt the Holy Spirit telling me that it was time to learn to abide. Google tells me that the "archaic" definition of abide means to live or dwell. Well, my friends, this year I want to abide. I want to linger with Jesus and fall in love with Him all over again.
It may seem odd to talk about abiding and then move into my goals for the year, but the goals I have are all from that same heart- the heart that longs to abide and to please Jesus with each decision I make, big or small. I'm nowhere close to perfect, but I want to love Him more at the end of 2017.
As always, I used my Powersheets from the Cultivate What Matters shop to help me think through my goals for the year and all that I want to accomplish and see change in my heart and life and in the lives of others around me. I absolutely love this tool- these sheets are not your ordinary planner, but rather a place for you to think about what matters and how to make it happen in your life, day by day.
1. Continue memorizing James and study Scripture in-depth.
Why? The Word is the only thing that will last forever.
Last year, Rory and I read through a chronological Bible reading plan. I loved that I was able to see when things happened in Scripture, but it was also a lot of reading and sometimes hard to keep up with. Sometimes I enjoy just reading one verse and shaping my prayer around that verse for the day. This year I'll be reading the Living Letters devotional written by my friend Suzanne Chambers, which will allow for more in-depth study on my own. I've memorized the first chapter of James and part of the second chapter, so I'm just going to keep plugging along!
2. Take my health seriously.
Why? My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and it's the only one I've got.
I have to say that before Rory and I met, I was a
3. Continue to climb ranks in Young Living.
Why? Financial freedom and helping others.
When I started using Young Living essential oils back in August, I had no idea how much they would influence our lives. Now I can't imagine my day without them, and I want to help others and also build a foundation for success for our family.
4. Write a book.
Why? It's time to share my story.
So this one terrifies me, y'all. I have written on this blog for almost seven years. Last fall I self-published a devotional. But this book is different. It's the good, the bad, the ugly, and all that God has done in and through me in spite of me. And Lord willing, it'll be in your hands at some point this year.
5. Pray more intentionally.
Why? Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have .
It is so much easier to go to the phone instead of going to the throne, am I right? But prayer is what changes us and brings us to the humble realization that we are in genuine need of a Savior named Jesus. I've been using the six-month prayer journals by Val Marie Paper for a couple years now, and her yearly prayer journal that just came out is going to be a huge blessing for my prayer life. I can already tell. :)
6. Spend more time in pages and less time on screens.
Why? Life is lived better in person.
Social media is a love hate situation for me. I love being able to keep up with friends, and I hate how I feel when I'm sucked into the comparison trap. So- less time on the phone and less time invested in social media.
7. Share the Gospel more intentionally.
Why? Because everyone needs Jesus.
It's easy to get sucked into the holy huddle, but I have several people I care about who need Jesus.
8. Live on one income.
Why? Simplify and prepare for the future.
We have made lots of wise decisions regarding our budget throughout marriage, but we have lots of room to improve. I learned a lot through my contentment challenge in the fall, and I'm going to keep trying to purge my closet quit the urge to shop because I HAVE PLENTY. We are also going to eat out less (which we don't do that often anyways) and try to be creative with date night ideas.
9. Cultivate my existing relationships.
Why? Community is life changing.
I have been given some amazing friends, and I want to continue to sow seeds of friendship and water the ones I have.
10. Pursue generosity.
Why? Because it's not mine anyways.
We don't have kids of our own yet, and we don't have any grandparents that live nearby. However, we do have sweet kids that we love at Downtown Academy, and we have elderly friends who need encouragement. I will never regret being generous to others who need support and kindness.
What are you working towards in 2017, friends? It may be big or small, but whatever God has laid on your heart, go after it! And if you're like me and just love a good planner or notebook, check out the Powersheets. The 12-month is version is sold out, but you can still get a six-month set, which is a wonderful intro. Plus Lara has amazingly encouraging blog posts and resources on her website, so check that out, too! She's got a great giveaway going on from now until the end of the month that I wouldn't hate to win.
Leave a comment below and let me know what you're working towards. I want to pray for you!
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