Intentional

The last time I did any sort of resolution for the New Year, I said I was going to lose 5 pounds. I ended up gaining 7, so you can see how well that worked out.

Somehow, something feels different this year. I don’t mean the weight (as of this morning those 5+7lbs of extra fluff were still waiting to greet me). What’s different is that for a month or more, I’ve had a word plastered across my mind and heart. I believe it is the word God has given me for the coming year.

Intentional.

I’ve heard of people choosing a word to define their year, but I’ve never done it. The words always felt too forced, so I never let the idea go past the initial thought stage. This time I can’t get the word out of my head.

It mostly stems from a realization that I unintentionally waste a lot of time. No judging here y’all, but sometimes I spend way too much time playing Candy Crush. Or scrolling Facebook. Or taking a nap.

These aren’t bad things, but when I let these simple little indulgences eat up my time, they get in the way of the bigger goals I have. Goals like, connecting with Jesus, writing consistently in my blog, updating my website, keeping up with household responsibilities, being a pillar for my children and my husband, serving my church, being available for my friends, etc etc.

None of that can happen while playing Candy Crush.

My other problem is that I haven’t been very good about writing things down. Say, for instance, both children are happily (!) working on their school during our homeschool hours. I usually have quite a lot of things I could accomplish, but because I haven’t written any of it down, I spend this unexpected free time trying to figure out the best use of the free time. And suddenly, my free time vanishes like my money in Target.

So far I have intentionally done two things to help me be intentional with my time this year:

  1. I enlisted a friend to read one book a month with me. I like to read, but sometimes I get distracted by little what-nots on my phone, and before I know it my time to read has vanished. I’m already 75% through my first book, and we haven’t even officially begun yet. Just knowing someone else is doing this with me helps me stick to my goal and gives me a desire to see if I can accomplish even more than my original number.
  2. I bought a planner. This isn’t the first time in my life I’ve owned a planner, but I never seem to know what to do with them. I tend to record appointments each month, and then just glance at it every now and then. Not very helpful. What I’m excited about in this planner is the goal tracker. Each month I can write down specific goals and record whether or not I’ve met them. Knowing myself, I’ll be much more intentional with my time knowing it’s going to be recorded in ink.

Sometimes I feel like I can’t find time to write, but the truth is, I may just have to buckle down and write in the less convenient moments of my life. I’m not saying it will be easy, or perfect, but I do believe that by being more intentional with the cracks*, I’ll be able to make headway on the greater purpose I believe God has for me.

What word would you choose for this coming year? What strategies have helped you be intentional in the past?

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” Phillippians 3:12-14 (The Message)

*writing in the cracks is a phrase I’ve seen used in my hope*writers group. Can’t claim that one for myself!

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Beyond Good Intentions

Aerial view of retro typewriter

Alright, it’s time. I give in.

I give in to the realization that I won’t do this perfectly. That I’ll frequently break my own rules. That there is more to this thing than what I can do on my own. That my job isn’t to be perfect, but to be obedient.

I like rules a LOT. So much so, that when none are present, I just make some up for myself to follow. When I first began writing in this blog a few years ago, I did so with the intention to publish a new post every other Friday. Ever since then, that idea has been the determining factor for whether or not I was to continue posting.

Well, life happened. Things got a little crazy. I stopped being able to post every other Friday, and therefore, I stopped posting at all. The perfectionist in me said that if I couldn’t do it right, I couldn’t do it at all. 

For months I have had good intentions. I have tried, and tried, and tried to get into a regular routine again. I’ve updated my welcome and about pages. I’ve got half-a-dozen posts waiting to be published. But they just sit there. They sit there because of my own stubbornness and insecurities about the likelihood that I won’t meet my silly little goal.

Meanwhile, God has been pressing on my heart. Goodness gracious. He has given me the tiniest idea of what my future may hold, and it is both invigorating and terrifying. There are days I’m ready to jump in with both feet, and days I prefer to ignore it all together. Surely, He’s got the wrong gal.

But He keeps pushing. He isn’t one to give up on His people easily. And do you know what He is telling me in this moment? That drive for perfection isn’t from Him, it’s from the enemy. Who has He ever called that was perfect?

Moses was a murderer.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Ruth was a foreigner.
David was an adulterer.
Esther was a nobody.
Jonah was afraid.
Matthew was in the wrong profession.
Paul was a terrorist.

And yet, every single one of them (and more!) were used by God in tremendous ways. I don’t know all the details of God’s plan for me, but I do know that my place right now is this blog. I love it here. I love the idea that someone might stumble across these words and find hope in Jesus.

I simply cannot ignore it any longer. What I have to offer may not be perfect, but it’s something. I don’t even know when my next opportunity to write will be. But, Jesus, I ask you to take this offering and do with it what you will. All I have is yours.

“Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” Exodus 4:11-12

One Year Later…

Freeman_034
The baby’s face is priceless! Image by Alexa’s Photography.

I pay a small fee once a year to keep “.wordpress.com” off of the end of my blog name. I paid it once when I first launched the blog, and just recently I was notified that my next payment was due.

That means I’ve been doing this blog thing publicly for a year now. Woah! I must say, I’m rather proud of myself for keeping it up. ::imaginary pat on the back::

My first post was published on March 20th of 2015. I gave my reasons for blogging and laid out some goals. Looking back over that post, I feel like I’ve been able to accomplish each one, and wow…that feels great!

Today makes a total of 52 published posts. The month of November accounts for more than half of those posts as I wrote once a day as an act of gratitude for various individuals in my life. I have 3 posts sitting in my draft folder, but it never seems the right time to publish them. I have a folder on my computer full of things that I’ve written. Some I hope to edit and publish eventually, while others may just end up being personal thoughts to tuck away in a corner somewhere. And then there’s that long list of ideas that I keep for anytime a topic jumps into my head.

I suppose it is safe to say, Alfelfa Sprouts won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

I’m very excited, yet apprehensive, about a series of posts I’m planning to do toward the end of April. I’ve written 2 1/2 out of a series of 5 posts I hope to publish in honor of Infertility Awareness Week. Infertility is a struggle that impacts many more women than we might think. God has placed a very tender spot on my heart for this issue, and it is with much prayer that I am attempting to tackle the topic from an outsider’s perspective. Will you pray with me as I continue this pursuit?

This has been a year of personal growth and learning as I often lay my heart bare in hopes of bringing life to another. This is my ministry. It takes a great deal of time and effort for each post to happen, but I love it.

I’ll leave you today with the 5 most viewed posts from my first year as a blogger. I hope you enjoy looking back as much as I have!

  1. The Story of Us (All about how my hubby and I met and began our relationship.)
  2. In the Beginning… (My very first post! Read this if you want to know my heart for this place.)
  3. Life or Death (Our words contain much power; as demonstrated by little children. One of my personal favorites.)
  4. Mom Fails (I am NOT perfect, and here are a few examples!)
  5. Longing for Paradise (Hubby and I took our very first caribbean vacation, and it felt like Heaven.)

Thank you to everyone who consistently comes to this place to hang out for a bit. Your encouragement (through comments and likes online, as well as in personal conversations) speaks volumes to me and is so very appreciated!