January 30, 2012

Evaluating Goals

Come December 31st it seems everyone is making resolutions for the next year.  I have found rarely does anyone follow through with these past the first week or so.  And why should a person even think they will?  If you couldn't stick to your diet in 2011, why would someone think they are suddenly going to have a huge resolve to stick to it in 2012?  I don't make resolutions.

In fact, I usually end up chuckling to myself when someone lays out for me their resolutions for the next year.  Especially, when they have no plan to get them through it.

And speaking of plans, I can't help but laugh when someone lays out for me their long term plans for their whole life.  They are going to go to school here... and then get a job here... and get married when they are this old... live here... have this many kids... who happen to be spaced this far apart... etc... Ha!  It has been my experience that rarely do things turn out the way we plan.

There are really two scenarios I have seen when it comes to planners.  People whose plans work out exactly as they wanted.  These people are typically unhappy in life.  It seems they are also always looking forward to the next thing instead of enjoying the beauty in where they are.

Then there are the people who made all their plans and find they are no where they wanted to be, and so they are miserable.

No, I don't make plans for life.  I learned early on that the Lord has it all figured out and I am much happier if I just look to Him for His will in my life and then expect that He will lead me there, if I choose to follow.

And how do I determine what that is?  Through a lot of prayer and time in the word.  I have a busy life.  That is just how it is.  I love every minute of it.  I love being where the Lord wants me to be.  I love the excitement of seeing where He will take me tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.  And I love the thrill of discovering how He will get me there.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I do not go about life willy nilly.  When it comes to running our household and home school, I plan menus and make shopping lists.  When it comes to vacation and family events, I think ahead and makes lists and schedules and plans.  What I mean here is the overall goals for my life.  I find it is best simply left to the Lord.

So how do I know where I am to be from moment to moment?  It is His word.  So the one long term goal I like to set each January 1st is how I will spend my time with the Lord for the next twelve months.

This is what I wrote on the first page of my Bible study notebook for 2012
 ~Personal study and prayer time at 7 am including reading the daily passage from a devotion book given to me for Christmas
~Family Bible reading at 8 am using the 2012 Daily Bible reading plan.  This plan includes a daily passage from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs.  We will complete the Old Testament once, the New Testament and Psalms twice, and Proverbs 13 times.
~Read through the Bible 1x each month to complete the Bible in its entirety 12 times.
~Study through the Narrow Way with the family at evening devotions.
~Continue a chronological study through the Bible with the children in circle time, using Abeka Flash-A-Cards.  Picking up with Joshua.
~Continue with FBI starting over in Semester I with Creation, The Life of Christ, and the study of Theology of God and the Bible
~Memorize one verse daily
~Continue discipleship with the young lady the Lord has put in my care as well as asking the Lord for someone else He would have me disciple this year.  
For me the important aspects of these goals is to seek the Lord's will and be specific as to how and when I will work on them.  And then I ask the Lord to help me to accomplish each goal.  For example, I don't just say I will read my Bible this year, I set a specific time and location to do so each morning.  The alarm on my phone is set to go off and remind me that it is time to meet with the Lord.

There is one more thing I find so important in reaching goals.  Don't wait until the first of December to see if you have reached them.  Have a regular time of checking up to see how you are doing.  That way goals can be reevaluated.  If it is difficult to reach a goal then I can determine if I have set an unrealistic goal or am I not doing what I should be to reach it.

For example, Emma and I are reading through our Bible each month.  Here it is the 30th of January.  So I must ask myself how am I doing?  I am only on the book of Mark and it is unlikely I will be able to finish come the end of Tuesday.

So, I am evaluating did I set an unrealistic goal?  Have I done what I can to reach that goal?  Is there another way I could work on it?  Is it serving me well or should I do away with it altogether?  How will I proceed for the rest of the year?

Emma will be finished tomorrow and we took on this task as a family in 2010.  So I do not feel it is an unrealistic goal.

I am spending 3-4 hours a day reading so I do believe I am giving a serious effort to reaching my goal.

Another way I have worked on it is to listen to the Bible on my kindle in addition to reading.  I also have the Bible on my phone.  That allows me to read/listen when I am sitting in the parking lot waiting for Allen, nursing the baby or taking a bath.

I do believe this goal is serving me well.  I love being so absorbed in the word of God.  It fills most of the time when I am not directly interacting with someone else.  

So I ask myself do I want to just continue to the end of the Bible and then start over again or should I start back at Genesis 1 on February 1st?   I have decided I will start over at the beginning on February 1st, even if I have not finished through Revelation

So, here at the end of January, I want to take a quick glimpse at my goals.

I have been able to follow through with all, so far.  The one exception is the family devotion time in the evening.  We do study the Narrow Way some evenings following dinner.  However, dinner time is dedicated to discussing what everyone else has studied that day.  Quite often we end up in a deep conversation pertaining to someone's study.  We have a great exchange of ideas and find lots of personal and family applications during these talks.  And quite often those discussions go on so long that we find it is 8:00 or later and time for the youngers to go to bed.  So, while I do want to continue with this study, I am okay if it goes slower than we planned because I think this discussion time is an invaluable resource to our whole family.    

My favorite new thing this year  is daily memory verses.  My friend Dawn got me started on this and it has been such a blessing.  She and I are often talking about how difficult it is for us to memorize scripture.  So, when she wrote her pastor had given her a book of daily Bible verses for a year I asked her if I could join her.  (Ladies, note another important aspect to reaching your goals... accountability.)  Each morning, Dawn texts me the verse for the day.  I write it under my personal study for the day and try to have it memorized before lunch time.  I have been able to do this almost every day.  As only the Lord can do, I often find the verse lines up with what is going on that day and/or with some other study I am doing that day.  Yesterday's verse, for example, was the one being taught in the Sunday school lesson.  Sometimes we discuss the verse via text and sometimes we will text the verse to each other from memory once we have it down.  Ideally, I would like to remember all 366 verses for the year, but for me that is an unrealistic goal.  I just know historically my memory is not that good.  However, I am still finding many blessings in this daily practice.

So there is my evaluation for this month.  What are your Bible reading goals for 2012?  How are you working on them?  And, now that we are 1/12th into the year, how are you doing?

1 comment :

  1. I actually loved when you wrote about your family doing an OT, Psalm/Proverb, and NT chapter each day and have adapted that as one of my major devotional plans for this year. I try to do one around each time of the day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and have really loved how much more I feel connected to God's word throughout the day. I've also really wanted to become more consistent in my prayer life throughout the day - one of the ways I've started getting into the habit is setting my phone alarm for every hour throughout the day/evening. It's been a great reminder to stop and reflect on my words and actions throughout the day as well as God's many blessings which I often so easily forget to thank him for!