I read this post by Dave Ramsey this last week and showed it to HH because we had been discussing the "Why" of list making and setting goals. I love to. HH hates to. After he read it he turned to me and, with a laugh, said, "So basically, you should be rich and I should be poor?"
That wasn't exactly the point I was trying to get across, but whatever. I love to make lists and only recently have realized that making lists is like setting goals. For a few years I hated the idea of New Year's resolutions. They made me feel like a failure. In advance.
A few years ago, though, I changed my perspective and now, instead of seeing the list of things I failed to accomplish, I purpose to look at all I did accomplish that I probably wouldn't have without goals.
If you look at the list I wrote for last year I wouldn't blame you for assuming that I came up way short of my goal. But there is this part preceding the actual list. The part where I spilled my heart for the year on the page. When I read that today, after I had already written down my goals for 2014, I knew. I had reached my goals for 2013.
"Tomorrow is the start of a new year. In a way I look forward to the next 12 months. So much potential awaits in the white space that makes up 2013. But I'm also afraid that it will be another year that I disappoint myself. A year that I'll waste the white space and fail in so many other ways. It is disappointing to get to the end of another year and realize that my goals for the next year are no different than the previous because I failed to meet any of my goals. It's not that I haven't grown or changed. I can acknowledge that much. But I want more. I want to grow and succeed. I want this to be the last year that my weight is part of my yearly goal. I want to know more deeply who I am as defined by Christ. I don't need a different mission or an outlet. I want to be who I was created to be right where I am at. I love my husband and my kids. I love living for them. I want to be more settled into me as a wife and mom. I want to be a better friend and teacher to my kids. But I know I'll only find that in knowing who I am in Christ."
After this I wrote my goals.
My first written goal was to read through the Bible. I'm so proud of myself. I got half way through my reading plan. I've never read that much of the Bible in one year.
My second written goal was to FINALLY lose the weight I've been struggling with for too many years to count. I listed the actual numbers, something I won't do here. :) And if you looked at those numbers and then at my scale while I'm standing on it and saw that I only lost 10 pounds this last year, you'd probably raise an eye brow and tell me I have a pretty face. ;) But the true weight I lost was a weight in my heart. And I honestly can say I met my goal.
It's not that I needed for me to lose an allotted amount of weight last year. What I wanted was to find freedom from using food as a drug. I wanted to look into my heart and my past and take care of the wounds, release the bitterness, and forgive the offenses that I was holding onto and replaying over and over when I was down. All of those things always left me feeling a need to medicate or numb myself. It was more than I could take. And so I would eat. Some people drink. Some people smoke. Some use drugs. I ate.
It's not that I don't plan to loose any more weight. It's just that it's not just about the weight anymore. And I still struggle, but not like I used too. This last year I learned how to fight. I was encouraged by this quote from Joyce Meyers, "You are not fighting for victory. You are fighting FROM victory." My view has changed.
I wish I would have had the freedom to journey through it here with you all so maybe it wouldn't seem so random of me to say it now, but I just couldn't. Somethings are too personal and somethings are just hard for me to put into words. I will say I read/worked through the Lose It For Life book and journal and it was one of the main tools this year that helped me find freedom.
My other written goal for 2013 was to save a certain amount of money. That so didn't happen. But again, even though this year has been hard, I'm happy and excited about where HH and I are financially. Not because we have tons of money, but because it feels like we are finally working towards the same goal. (We wrote out a budget for January and are trying to stick to it like glue. Shhhhhh! Don't tell HH that we really made a list and goals! He may be tempted to burn it just for the sake of being right!)
As for the other desires I wrote down, even though I feel like I am failing in so many areas multiple times a day as a wife and mom, I am so proud of how far I have come. Maybe some of the change has come from realizing that every day doesn't have to look the same for us to be productive (list making/efficiency addict finds freedom!).
I know that a big change happened when I realized that I love my life. That may sound strange, but I think I was afraid of admitting that I love to homeschool and spend most of my time with my kids. I felt like I was supposed to want more. Not that I don't ever need a break, but I truly love what I do. I don't homeschool and stay at home with my kids out of fear or because it's easy or because my husband makes me (which is what I used to think :)) or even out of conviction. I do it because I want to. Because I love it. This is what I always wanted to do, and I am so glad I get to do what I love.
I just read this quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald and I think it really sums up what I accomplished in 2013:
"For what it's worth; it's never too late to be whoever you want to be.
I hope you live a life you're proud of, and if you find that you're not,
I hope you have the strength to start all over again."
I feel like I reach my ultimate goal of 2013. Knowing more deeply who I am in Christ. And really, that's the main purpose behind my goals for 2014.