Here we are, four days into a new year. Does anyone else fight the feeling that you’re already behind in the first week of the year, or is that just me?
Starting a new year, with all its promise and potential…right at the tail end of December…when things have been crazy-hectic-yet-simultaneously-completely-unstructured…I may be way off here, but it seems counter-intuitive to me. Planning goals for the new year while I feel like my routines are burning to the ground around me is a little crazy-making, or at least it has been this year.
2018 was my first year to set tangible goals, write them down, track them over the course of the year, and (surprise, surprise!) actually accomplish a good number of them. So it was really fun for me to open my present from Dave on Christmas Day and find the Powersheets Intentional Goal Planner from Cultivate What Matters. I started working through the “prep” section the day after Christmas…and as of today, I’m still not completely finished.
If you aren’t familiar with Powersheets, I would describe them as a combination of guided journal exercise and goal tracker. (The word “planner” doesn’t connote a daily or weekly calendar. I realized this is what Dave was expecting when I told him I still need to get a 2019 planner…and he looked at me like I was nuts. The more you know…)
The process of planning goals in my Powersheets is more detailed, more introspective, and much. slower. than I was expecting. There are sections dedicated to looking back at what has or has not been successful in the past. Examination of inner fears and false beliefs. Lists of lessons learned and prompts to remember gratitude. I don’t know if I could sit and work through it all in one sitting, even if I had unlimited time and my hand never cramped from writing.
But the process has been GOOD. It has taken me down mental paths I did not expect to walk when I sat down on December 26. Disparate details from recent weeks and months have jumped out to connect with my personality, my past, and my passions. Some of the goal ideas I jotted down in early December are still on my list, but now they sit beside many others which I had no idea I’d be cultivating until just the past couple of days.
The process, as well as the work itself, has revealed a large growth area where I need to focus. (If you read my Christmas Eve post, you’ll see that God was already working in me in this direction): Continuing to prioritize my own comfort will stunt growth in all areas of my life.
The fact that I’ve chaffed a bit at how slowly I’ve had to work through this planning process, how unsettled I feel trying to plan for an intentional year while struggling to maintain my basic routines…all of that is merely my first taste of what’s to come.
If I want to see good things grow, I need to embrace discomfort.
This is scary. I know a little bit of how I’ll be uncomfortable in 2019: one of my first goals is to focus on my health and wellness. I know that changing my eating habits and getting back to exercise will be uncomfortable, to put it mildly. But the scarier thing is that I know this idea is going to permeate the rest of my life too: my marriage, my parenting, my relationships, my writing…in all of it, I’m being pushed past the point where I’m comfortable. And I can only assume there are areas of my life I haven’t thought of yet, where God will call me to be uncomfortable this year.
So now you must be thinking, “Well, her word for the year must be ‘uncomfortable,’ right?” But there you’d be wrong. It seems logical, but the word God impressed on my heart a few weeks ago, before I started this process, was confirmed as I worked through my goal planning.
A steward is someone who is put in charge of something on another’s behalf. A steward doesn’t own the thing she is managing, but it’s still her job to be responsible. She answers to someone for the property or events in her care.
This life I’ve been given: my body, my money, my time, my marriage, my parenting, my relationships, my blog…none of them are really MINE. They have all been entrusted to me from the God who holds all things. I will answer to Him someday for how I stewarded them.
And this is where the rubber meets the road: a steward can’t just sit back and let life happen around her. A steward has to be in charge, to speak up, to make decisions, to take action. When something goes awry, the steward can’t turn a blind eye and pretend everything is fine.
I’m almost always more comfortable letting someone else take the lead. Most of the time I don’t mind biting my tongue, going with the flow, and keeping the peace. But I can’t sit back in my comfort zone AND steward well the responsibilities within my purview at the same time.
So, I’m taking a deep breath, remembering that there’s nothing magical about January 1st, and refusing to let the fact that I’m still goal planning four days into the new year set me back. I’m embracing several uncomfortable moments which have already shown up in the past few days. I’m committing to staying put when things start to make me squirm and all I want to do is run away. I’m saying no to ignoring and yes to speaking up.
None of this is comfortable. But it can’t be if I’m going to intentionally steward 2019 for the glory of God.