I don’t know about any of you, but I’ve found myself needing a refresh on my intentions this last week. With the end of school, work deadlines, and exciting church and personal projects coming up, I’m starting to see my schedule fill up again. And I’m finding myself trying to “manage” my time again instead of filtering it. Most of the requests and demands are for good things, like attending ladies’ retreat and preparing to lead Bible studies. But I’m not sure that I’ve really taken the time to carefully consider how my time is being spent. So here I go, revisiting the Theme of the Year.
A couple of months ago, I attended a craft night – one of the sweet leaders of our women’s ministry asked anyone attending to send her our words of the year and a Bible reference to go with it. When we showed up for craft night, we had all the supplies we would need to make our own decorative plaque. Here’s mine:
Super cute, right? My paint took for.ev.er to dry because I make things complicated (and also because I don’t paint… or glue…), but I’m really happy with the way it turned out. I have it on my desk, where I can actually see it. And the reference is a reminder to me to run every task and request for my time through these filters:
- Is it for the Kingdom?
- Is it for Righteousness?
Okay. I mean, ideally, every time I glance at the sign it should be a reminder. But I’m sitting here writing about refreshing my intentions, so I think you can probably guess that I’m not always the best at remembering and doing.
And now that we’re at the end (!!) of May, I’m realizing that half of the year is nearly gone. It’s a great time to reflect on my activities and filter upcoming projects, to see how they line up to these 2 standards. (And “Reflect” is step 3 of the productivity steps I shared in my post in January!)
One of the changes I wanted to make “stick” is in follow-through. I have not always finished what I start – either because I run out of enthusiasm, or I lacked commitment in the beginning. Or both. This is an area that I sense the Lord wants to transform me, and I’ve been reading and journaling on this a lot lately. But it’s one of those personal changes that I can’t just make happen by force of will. Any change in my character to make me more like God is a change that God Himself will initiate. And I know that He has been faithful to do that with me this year.
This year I (finally) truly said “yes” to something I’ve been called to do for a couple of years – write. I’ve been blogging for a little over 10 years, but most of the time it has been craft-related. Blogging feels different to me somehow – more like a stream of consciousness, sitting down over coffee, one-side conversation than like “writing.” I’ve been hesitant to truly share any part of my story and faith journey here. I have a few reasons for that, and even more excuses. But excuses don’t serve the Kingdom or righteousness, so under the Simplify filter, they’re out! To help me move forward and follow through on this call, I signed up for a writing training program through Proverbs 31 Ministries called Compel (you can check it out here – registration is only opened a few times each year).
I certainly do not have everything figured out – I have some great ideas for projects, and you will start to see some of them emerge here. I will continue to run everything through the Kingdom and Righteousness filters, because the overarching theme of my last for about 5 years has been IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. I don’t want anything I write to be about me or my struggles – I want any reader to see the work God is able to do, His provision, His care, His protection. His glory. So any of my projects will be covered in prayer from beginning to end and beyond, with me frequently stepping out of the way and allowing God to tell the story.
Back to reflecting on Simplify – is it “working?” Am I seeing change? I may not always remember to run each individual schedule request through the filter, and I am going to make that more of a focus for the summer. But in having a mindset of “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” I am able to see a little more of the path in front of me. And yes, I do see change in myself. Instead of worrying about what I might miss out on by seeking God first, I now am excited about the ways I get to participate in His plan. Where before I might have been envious of another person’s accomplishments, now I have a sense of anticipation for when I reach my own goals. And because my goals have more to do with seeking the Kingdom and God’s righteousness than with promoting myself, I can’t wait to see what He does to transform lives as I move forward in obedience.
So what about you? Did you set a word or theme of the year for 2018? Have you stuck with it? Do you need to reevaluate or recommit to it? Share your 2018 journey in the comments!