In a lot of ways, 2017 was a tough year. In many other ways, we experienced great blessing in 2017. And as I look forward to 2018, I am happily dreaming and goal setting for what I hope will be a refreshing 12 months.
You see, my word for 2018 is Refresh. It’s coming at the perfect time, and the 12 goals/areas I have attached to my word are already proving to be helpful within my home and my homemaking.
So throughout all of these discussions, picking words for our year, goal planning, and dreaming of what the future may hold, I first want to take a step back and talk about: what is your ONE THING for 2018? No, I’m not talking about your word for the year, your one goal, or even your Bible verse for this year.
I’m asking you: What is the one thing you treasure more than anything in 2018?
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You see, we may have many goals and desires for this year. We can plot, plan, and make every schedule under the sun. This can be good and so helpful, like my meal planning January which has already helped me get back to the roots of my meal planning and I’m able to provide healthy meals on a budget to my family once again. It’s good and it’s so needed right now.
But if I’m not careful, then I can elevate these goals, these dreams, and these routines too far and they become idols in my heart. They take the place of Jesus in my life. They eclipse the Son.
This is so easy to do. We end up in survival mode, or we are desperate to reign in our spending, or we want to work hard on our meal planning, or we desire a closer marriage…the list goes all. All of these are good things, worthy of investing our limited time on. But do these things take center stage in our life over God?
My word for 2018 is REFRESH. A big goal of mine this year is physical refreshment. I’m working towards healing some thyroid issues and adrenal fatigue. These issues have caused some major problems in our life as I’ve been dealing with some major fatigue and weakness. This goal of physical refreshment is a good goal and one I hope to use to bring glory to God and better take care of my family.
Another goal of refreshment this year is in my relationships. I hope to be able to extend more hospitality, come alongside more women and families with meals, and nurture more one-on-one relationships. I pray and hope that I will be able to use this focus to serve God.
But it’s far too easy for either of these goals, and any others I create, to take center stage.
A note about seasons: I would be remiss if I didn’t pause here to mention different seasons in our lives. We walk through certain seasons such as the newborn days, raising a brood of little ones like I am now, illness, grief, and all kinds of other experiences when our physical attention is on these things. When you have a newborn, so much of your care and attention is fixed to caring around the clock for this helpless new babe. Often to the exclusion of many other things in our life. The same goes for times of extreme illness, dealing with the loss of a loved one, and so many other life circumstances.
Obviously your newborn takes center stage during that time, but our heart and our mind should still belong to God. There’s a different between walking through a demanding season and making idols out of those things. Believe me, the line gets blurry and it’s easy to confuse the two. It’s an easy thing to make your newborn or the illness you are praying so desperately to heal – your idol. If you want to dive into a deeper discussion on this topic, I suggest you start here.
It’s easy for these other things and goals in my life to become my one thing.
My #1 goal and focus this year, as I work through these other areas in my life is…
To bring glory to God by serving Him and knowing Him more.
I want my life to be defined by Christ. I want people to look at my life and glimpse the Gospel. By my actions, my attitude, and my speech.
I will never be perfect in this life. It is a daily struggle to serve God and fight my sin nature. But God will never truly be my focus if I don’t make the time to make Him that focus.
My word for 2018 is refresh. But what’s my main ONE THING for life? Christ.
And I must keep that focus clear in and out of this year and through my goals and priorities.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
One verse before this, he shares why he’s so diligently running, “I do it all for the sake of the gospel…” – 1 Corinthians 9:23.
This week at Church, my pastor was sharing about this passage. He beautifully illustrated what this verse is talking about. He said it better than I can re-create, but the gist is:
When we run, meaning when we live our life focused on Christ – when we run the Christian life – we run to get the prize.
We do not run aimlessly. We are like a runner who is focused and intent upon his goal, which is to glorify God in our lives and spend eternity with him. A runner isn’t aimlessly wandering the stadium, a runner isn’t looking around getting distracted by all the shiny objects.
We run to win, dedicated and focused. We do not run in vain. We are running with intent, focus, and straining forward with all we have to cross that finish line. The world is behind us, the cross in front of us.
All of this sounds exhausting and tiring and takes a great amount of diligence but it’s a good lesson to remember. Striving after the Lord does take work and diligence, but through prayer and God’s strength, grace, and mercy we can run the race well!