Thursday, May 1, 2014

First Things First: April/May 2014

I know people who post their goals at regular intervals, and others who write about what they learned each month... this is kind of a combination of the two. It's a monthly Sabbath of sorts, reevaluating current goals and projects in light of building God's kingdom instead of my own - and for the sake of consistency and thoroughness, I'm dividing it into three categories:


Since mid-February, I've been following along with If : Equip's study through John. They post a passage of Scripture, some journaling prompts, and a brief video clip of a couple of ladies discussing the passage, every week day. I deeply enjoyed it and highly recommend it - they're starting Acts on Monday, and I'm going to try to be more diligent about having my quiet time over breakfast instead of at some random point in the day like I have been. While I can't realistically get up at 5am to study during this season of life (and, not being a morning person, if I'm supposed to give God the best part of my day, 5am is not the best part), I can at least make it one of the first things I do.

One of my three April goals was to journal through Love Idol by Jennifer Dukes Lee. When the book came in the mail, I sat down and devoured it in a few days (preBrooklyn, it would have taken a day - the author was originally a newspaper reporter so she writes clearly and concisely - but now I have to go a little slower) and while I got the general idea, I needed to read it slowly and carefully and make notes in order for it to really sink in. I journaled through my past to find where my "love idol" was made, took an honest look at my heart to see how it had taken hold, preached to myself and renewed my gratitude for God's acceptance of me (through Christ, and not through anything I've done or can do), and then stepped out to love my neighbor because He first loved me and not because I needed their approval. Now it's going on the Read Yearly shelf, which is really the highest commendation I can give to Christian literature - in order to make the Shelf, it has to be a balanced blend of convicting and encouraging, which this was.


As a result of reading Love Idol, I gave up "staying up late" for Lent because I realized that I was losing sleep trying to uphold an impossible self-imposed standard of perfection (and failing at it - so, clearly, staying up late wasn't helping me anyway). It was a Sabbath in itself, and observing my own reaction to it helped me see more clearly the difference between Doing Things So That Someone Will Notice and actually serving my family.

So I set myself a realistic daily goal (with weekends off - not for catching up, but for investing in my family relationally) and I've been trying to do a "heart check" every time I turn over the card each task is written on as "complete," confirming that I did it out of service and not out of a desire to be thanked or applauded in some way. So far, so good - although I suspect that tearing down my "love idol" will probably be a life-long battle.

In the interest of maintaining relationships and contact with distant family, I'm also going to try to be more intentional about taking pictures (of all of us - not just of Brooklyn, and not just nature close-ups) and posting them to Facebook/blogging them. I've already been writing monthly update letters to a nonFacebooking grandparents and a long-distance friend, but I also need to be more disciplined about those.


One of the exercises I did for April's Hope*ologie was to create a "home purpose statement" --- now that it's in plain view, I'd like to try to adhere to it, focusing more on the people than on the place.

In light of that, this month's book (I really want to read more than that, but one-a-month is a reasonable expectation) is The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith. After working through Love Idol, I realized that my "love idol" was Be-a-Perfect-Wife-and-Mum (which is funny, because you probably wouldn't guess that - or maybe you did, and I'm the only one who didn't know), so "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" sounds like a mentality I need to adopt.

I've still been faithfully knitting the sky every day, although I forgot to post a progress picture last month (oops). It's been such a fun project - I almost want to make one every year (though, since I don't need that many scarves, I'd have to find someone to give each one to).

Knitting-wise, I currently have two projects going, both designs: a triangle scarf, and a tiny linen tunic for Brooklyn. The tunic is half finished and I'd like to get the pattern posted this month, so I'm making it my first priority - and then if I also finish the scarf, that will be a bonus.

- Make a daily quiet time a priority
- Complete each day's task
- Be more intentional with maintaining family and long-distance relationships
- Read The Nesting Place
- Finish baby tunic and publish pattern

How often do you stop to (prayerfully) reevaluate your goals and projects? What are your reasonable goals for this month?


Kayla said...

Maintaining distance relationships -- at least for me -- is a constant battle. In fact, because we live so far from Austin's family and only see them 2x a year, relationship building has taken some ingenuity. So I understand that struggle. Remember that progress is progress, whether a little or a lot. :)

I look forward to reading more of your First Things First posts in the future. It's always encouraging to me to read how others are being intentional with the time they are given.

Karrilee Aggett said...

So - first off... how much do I love that we are neighbors over at Emily's link up? (So much!) and I love that you read Love Idol and actually implemented it right away... doing the work required to take note of what they are and how to keep your guard up against them! (The cure is in the process, right?) I loved it as well!

I loved going through the Book of John with If:Equip and I can not wait for Monday to dig into Acts together! (and Amen about the 5am not being the best offering... I am with ya sister!)

I also want to read (and reread and gift) The Nesters new book! Then again - this is no real surprise, right? You know... yada yada yada... All. The. Books...