A New Type of Resolution
Every year I set up goals for myself at the start of the new year. I get so excited. With high expectations I set off on this new adventure with hope, asperations, and a promise from myself, for a new day. The problem with these goals is that after two months, I have forgotten all about them or failed miserably to keep up with them. So this year I am setting out to make growth goals.
What is a Growth Goal?
I was listening to Chip Ingram talk about growth goals the other day. He was saying how we spend too much time writing out “to do” lists. That we should focus on where in our lives we want to grow and make that our priority. That is what I am going to do this year.
A growth goal, is choosing one are in your life that you want to change and figuring out how to do that. I know that you are saying, “Well that is easier said than done.” and I am with you on that one. But something about a growth change seems different from a resolution.
With a growth goal, I spend time in prayer first. With a New Year’s Resolution, I felt like the goals were always the same as how the world views change. I was trying to complete my resolution on my own will power. I needed to eat healthier, work out more, get more organized, budget our money better, etc. With growth goals I am seeing my world through God’s eyes. Where can I make a change that would bring glory to God?
Areas to Make Growth Goals in
Spiritual: God’s Word
This is the area that I chose first. Sometimes I do a really good job at getting up early and spending time with God in His Word. Other times, when I am sick, tired, the weekend, stayed up too late, or plain just don’t feel like it, I stay in bed instead. When I decide to not spend time with God, my attitude stinks that day. I find myself easily agitated, yelling at my kids and upset with my husband over things that are foolish. Spending time in God’s Word helps me to be the woman that God made me to be. So this is my growth goal for the beginning of this year.
Another area that I feel that I need to grow in is Prayer. I do not pray to God about anything and everything. I find myself trying to figure out life too much with my own power. Prayer is the lifeline to God. Prayer is my pathway to true wisdom. Helping me to know what is right and what is wrong. Prayer sustains me when I feel like there is no hope left. Prayer gives me peace in the midst of chaos and shows me how to control my emotions when I want to lose it. Prayer is everything. If only I would treat it that way.
This is an area that means a lot to me. I am someone that loves to help others. But maybe you are not built this way. This might be an area that you need to grow in. I found that praying each morning, that God would show me someone in need that I could help that day, changed my mindset on how I loved others. Then take the time to continue to keep your eyes and mind open, throughout the day, to see if there is someone in need. Once you start living this way, it is really hard to not see people that you can help. It may be a mom that needs help loading their groceries into their car, paying for someone’s order in a drive-thru window, opening a door for an elderly person, even spending time helping your neighbor because they are sick or had a surgery. There are so many ways to help others, and God will help you to see them if you let Him.
Giving your time and money to others goes along with loving others. Once you realize what it feels like to give, and to give with a loving heart, it will be hard to stop. My husband has to help me stay conscious of the amount of money or time that I give to others. I would give someone our house, car, all of our food or money if I am not careful. That is not how I used to be. I remember living paycheck to paycheck and never thought about giving to others. I was just trying to make enough money to keep a roof over my kids’ heads and food in their mouths. When my oldest was five years old, I started going back to church. At first I only gave 1-2 dollars each week, begrudingly. I did not want to let go of those few dollars that I had. But God slowly started to change my heart. After awhile I wanted to give my money away. My focus shifted from my problems to helping others. I found true JOY (Jesus, others, yourself) in that.
This might be an area that you need to grow in this year. You might be thinking, well if you only knew how my husband is in the communication department. It is a lost cause. I understand how you feel. God gave us our spouse for a reason. If we spend our time focusing on what they are not doing right, then we are never going to be able to find ways to make the relationship better. If communication is an area that you want to grow in, may I suggest the book Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. I didn’t understand what was missing from our relationship till I read this book.
Spending Time Together
Maybe you and your husband do not get anytime together, alone. You may have younger kids, that take most of your time, leaving you feeling drained. We must put time and effort into our marriage to make it work. Talk with your husband about certain areas that you need help with. Try to make a big enough dinner, so that you can freeze the leftovers for next week. Rearrange your day and how you do things, so that your husband is at the top of the list more often.
My husband and I like to make our kids (ages 9 &12) go into on of their rooms together, early on a weekend night. They put in a movie, play board games, color together, anything they want, as long as they are not coming out of their room for any other reasons besides to use the bathroom. This way my husband and I can talk, watch a movie together that we have been wanting to watch, even spend intimate time together. This system has worked great for us, for about 2 years now.
Most husbands feel loved when you take the time to make love to them. God created them this way for a reason. This is an area in my own marriage that I need to do a better job at. I spend time with my husband, just not in the way that he would like. My husband craves sex. And it isn’t because that is all that he needs me for, it truly is the way that he feels loved and respected. Ephesians 5:33 states, “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” God asks us to respect them, and being intimate with them, is one of the ways that they feel respected.
Do you have kids that talk back to you? Maybe, they have a bad attitude when they do their school work or their chores. God has called us to discipline our children. Proverbs 13:24 tells us that, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” I love my children, alot. I want them to grow up and be godly people who are respectful and responsible people in society. My brother works for a juvenille home and the thing that most kids wished that their parents had done, was discipline them. It is so true. Kids feel loved when you take the time to discipline them. set up specific rules and stick to them. Be consistent.
Getting Priorities Straight
God did not make the kids the head of the household, so why do we feel the need to have to cater to their every need? We make activities our number one priority in our home over spending time as a family. Playing sports, dancing, learning to play an instrument, karate, are all good activities. But when you are running your kids around 6 days a week, do not have time to even eat together as a family or keep the Sabbath day holy, then your priorities are all messed up. Start to regain your family time by discussing certain activities and deciding if they are good for the whole family, or not. This discussion will also help your children to realize that in a family not everything is all about them.
Learning how to spend, save and give your money is one of the most important things we do as an adult. If it is so important, why are we not teaching this to our kids at a young age. All you need to do is take three jars, boxes, anything that can hold money and write spend, save, and give on each jar. Then each time the kids receive money, they put some into the saving jar, some into the giving jar and the rest into the spending jar. You can talk about why we divide our money into these three categories. For more information, check out Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Junior materials or Financial Peace University materials for older kids.
How to Create a Growth Goal
I hope that these growth goals will help you to start your year off in God’s direction. Please feel free to pick one of the previous goals and start there.
After you have figured out the one area that you want to grow in, write it down on a sheet of paper. For example mine stated that I wanted to be in God’s Word each day, no matter what.
Then set out to write exactly how you are going to grow in this area. I wrote down that I would be getting up everyday, except for Sunday at 6:30. I would spend time praying to God, before I read His word. Then I woud read at least one chapter in His word. Only reading one chapter helps me to highlight important words, look up the definition of certain words and write them down and see if there are any cross reference Bible verses for me to look up, that would help me to understand the chapter a little bit better.
For you it might be spending more time with your husband. So you create a dinner menu that allows you to make meals for one week, then have enough leftovers frozen for the following week. Maybe you decide that on Tuesdays and Thursday nights your husband will do the dishes so that you can relax for 15 minutes, allowing you to feel refreshed enough to spend more time with him.
Whatever your growth goal is, start out simple. Pick one goal, and make sure that the steps you write down on how to grow in this area or only a few. You do not want to make a long list of steps that you have to continuously do to grow. Short and simple is the best way to go. And above all, don’t forget to pray over this growth area. The Holy Spirit that lives within you will accomplish more in your life, if we just let him.
Here is to a new year and a new way of thinking about change. Here is to bringing glory to God in all the things that we do.
May God bless you and keep you,