Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sweet 2016

I don't know why, but that week between Christmas and New Year's always gets me stirred up and rearin' to go. I tell myself, "Don't bother with new year's goals, they never work." But in reality, I just can't help it. It's not called new year for nothing, and mama needs a plan! I like the term vision-casting--a bit less rigid than goal-setting. But when my husband asked his whole family to come to his birthday dinner prepared to share their goals for 2016, I kept coming up short.


You see, it's a little hard to set goals when your future is so hazy. We'll be getting military orders within the next 5 weeks. So until then, I have no idea where we will be living the second half of 2016. Our "dream sheet" covers practically all the corners of the United States. So should I set a goal to teach my children to snow ski or to teach them to surf? I just don't know.

This is how my vision-casting sesh started out...
But even bigger than the where we'll be living is the how we'll get there. We expect orders in February, have plans to put our house on the market in March, hope to move once school is out in June and in to our new home in July, with a few weeks (give or take, again, depending on the location) to spare before school starts again. In which time we'll need to set up house, learn the area, find a church/doctor/dentist/cardiologist/hairdresser/barber/all those other people that make the world turn, enroll in school, make friends, register for sports, and just plain get adjusted. 

I imagine life will return to some sort of new normal some time in October, you know, right before we roll into birthdays/Thanksgiving/Christmas time, which is immediately followed by New Year's and, ta-da--new goals.

And this is how it ended up. Complete with play food my girls wouldn't stop feeding me.
Basically, I plan on giving myself all the grace to do what must be done the first half of the year, so that I can have all the freedom to do what must be done the second half of the year.

Photo Credit: http://www.gracelaced.com/store/learn-to-love-what-must-be-done
I think this will be my non-one-word theme for 2016.
Sooooo my goals? I tried. I really tried. But they ended up sounding a lot more like prayers than goals. Like, "Lord, help the house to sell super fast so I don't have to keep it clean for longer than a week." Or, "God, I'll live anywhere, but please, please could we just have a yard that's bigger than the living room?" Or, "Jesus, lead us to the right church, that all six of us love, where we can grow and thrive and serve and love and build community." Because if there's only one thing I've learned over my 10 years as a military spouse, a house is one thing, but relationships are everything.

We had a realtor come to the house this week and say how great the front looked ... and then we had to show her the half-painted back. Painting the house is not a goal, it is a must-do!

New paint, new fixtures, and all those other fun little changes we're making to get the house ready to put on the market, that I'm wishing we had done ages ago...
Needless to say, it's so out of my hands right now. All I can do is rest in Jesus and trust His perfect work. And that sounds very much like an excellent goal for 2016. Enter, my one word:

ABIDE

I'm a huge fan of She Reads Truth, as I've mentioned before. And this year's Fruit of the Spirit study was so, so good for my soul. With each new fruit we studied, I was reminded over and over again that these are fruits of the Spirit, not of my own efforts.  And they are borne when we abide.

John 15:4-5 says, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." I like the way The Message puts it: "But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you..." A good reminder that no matter where we end up this year, my home is in Jesus. He is all I need. My priority isn't to try harder, work more, or set additional goals. Because while goals are good, they are meaningless unless I'm abiding in Him and his word is abiding in me.

Abiding in Him—resting, dwelling, remaining in Him— is the only source of our strength, our goodness, our fruit. Let’s press into the True Vine together today. Let’s be about the business of abiding in Jesus, and trust His Spirit to be about the business of bearing fruit in our lives. (Source: http://shereadstruth.com/2015/05/22/the-true-vine/.) 

So I got all theological and dug out Strong's Concordance for a deeper study. Abide comes from the Greek word meno which means to stay (in a given place, state, relation, or expectancy) continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, tarry for.


I love that they used the term expectancy. You guys know that anticipation is my favorite state of being! And that while I grumble and moan about this stage of not knowing I secretly love the excitement that's building as each new day gets us closer to the moment we get THE CALL. But no matter where we go on this earthmy only task is to stay in Jesus.

I'm also still pursuing last year's goals, like take more walks!

New Year's fun--Daddy playing with Christmas toys!

Melissa and Doug Suspend game (it takes it to a whole new level when you're playing with Jumping Jack.)

Mama's got to get her quiet time in somehow...

Apparently Princess Elsa has a thing for eggs.



They thought these sumo things were cool before, but then they figured out that the "ties" are the equivalent of underwear and that makes it so much more hilarious.


This was right before they asked if I'd deliver them some beverages.




And when I think of the opposite of abiding, I think of striving--fighting, resisting, departing, trying to do things my way and forcing the outcome into my (not so) perfect little mold. I am EXCITED for this new year. I am READY for the next adventure. But I also don't want to step one little toe outside God's will for our family. A yard, a guest room for anticipated visitors, a good school district, perhaps a window over the kitchen sink--these are nice things. But if they're not part of God's plans, then I want none of it. I surrender.

So let's not stop with ONE WORD this year. How about a whole theme song? How about one sung by Owl City?



We sing In Christ Alone in church every once in a while and, basically, it brings me to tears.


What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!

My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

So there you have it, my big goals for the year are simply to cease striving, to stand in the love of Christ, to remain in his word--to ABIDE. Now that we've got that all sorted out, back to dreaming of all the geographic locations where that abiding just may take place this year!

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