Monday, February 3, 2014


I had an epiphany today!  I've been struggling about writing for several weeks.  I wrote from the valley for so long that I felt that was all I could continue to write about and the only perspective that would be relevant to others.  But I'm not in the valley anymore.  I'm in the foothills!  And today God laid on my heart that I need to write from those foothills.

I chose a word last month that I am using as my 2014 "word of the year."  It's a word that captures what I want to focus on this year.  My 2014 word is PURPOSE.  I want to be focused on God's purpose for my life, my kids' lives, my husband's life, my family's life.  I want to know my purpose, live with purpose and fulfill my purpose.

My BFF, Summer, directed me to a blog written by Sandra Stanley (Andy Stanley's wife) and it really enlightened me.  It can be found here as her Feb 1, 2014, entry, and I'll summarize below:

In her blog, Sandra offers 3 simple questions to ask before saying "yes" to someone or something:
  1. Will a yes to this require a no to something or someone more important to me? 
  2. Is this the season to say yes? 
  3. Do I have the emotional and physical margin to say yes? 
We pack WAY too much into our lives these days. We pack in so much and leave no margins so that all we're left with is worn-out and half-hearted lives. We can even become bitter toward the things that we are voluntarily a part of, just because they leech our time.

I love #3 the best because my emotional and physical stamina have been severely impacted by the last 2.5 years of my life. But I still think I'm "young(ish)" with young kids so I should be able to be all to everyone. But I'm not and I can't! Just because the Supermom that I see at every church, school and sporting event sleeps 2 hours a night, volunteers at the local shelter, bakes fresh goodies for shut-ins, has perfectly coiffed hair and make-up and is always the first to volunteer for something, doesn't mean I have to! I am FINALLY getting to a point where I can relinquish the guilt of not trying to keep up. Her life is not my purpose!!!! And praise God it isn't!  I shouldn't even mention that her children are monsters and will likely be a detriment to society someday. (Yes, I'm way over-embellishing with this fictitious supermom and her kids; I can't help it, it's the "creative writer" coming out in me!)

 Last week my kids missed a birthday party because it fell on a school night and on the night of a basketball game (I actually wasn't feeling well that day either). Attending the party left no room for homework or studying until after 8:00 pm. I tortured myself much of the day because I had RSVP'd that my kids wouldn't be there. When I found out that 15 other kids from school had attended (some on the same basketball team) I felt horrible. But then I remembered that in the big scheme of things the "no" to this activity was still the best thing for my family and me on that day.  

It's SO easy to get caught up in the comparison trap - but that won't happen if we know the individual purpose God has for us and our families!

This morning I drafted a chart and am going to take on the exercise of completing it over the next few days. I would challenge you to do the same. In fact, I challenge you to complete it sometime this month (February 2014), then review and update it every 6 months... simply because seasons and circumstances do change. Essentially the exercise involves taking an inventory of all activities in your life using the following questions:

  1. Does it use my spiritual gifts?
  1. Does it use my talents/skills? (besides spiritual gifts)
  1. Is it for my family? (e.g. basketball practice/games)
  1. Is there a long-term benefit to my family? (e.g. volunteering at my kids' school so I can get to know the kids they are choosing as friends)
  1. Do I enjoy it?
  1. Does it stress me out?
  1. Do I need to drop or change it?
I put mine into an Excel spreadsheet, because I'm OCD and that's just how I roll.  

One final note:  As I mentioned above my word this year is PURPOSE.  I was very deliberate in choosing a word of the year.  I unintentionally chose a word for 2013 also: ABIDE.  I didn't set out with a word in mind, but that was the focus of my year; the year that God held me back from getting over-extended and over-involved in activities; a year focused on learning to abide in Him, in His provision, in His care, in His "enough-ness".  Selecting a word of the year is also an exercise I highly recommend.  One of Dr. Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is "begin with the end in mind."  So when 2014 ends and 2015 rolls around, what do you hope you've accomplished?

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