Instead of creating the same old list of resolutions (lose weight, get organized, save money, etc.), this year I decided to choose a word to guide my year and apply that word to multiple areas of my life. That way, instead of a list of things to do or not do in the new year, I’m focused more on a specific idea of the kind of person I want to be when the year ends and can work toward that goal throughout the year.
The word I chose for this year is STRONG.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.Ephesians 6:10
There are four main areas of my life where I want to focus on being strong: spiritually, physically, financially, and socially.
In the last few months, I have really felt convicted about the lack of spiritual discipline in my life. We attend church, but there’s so much more to having a relationship with God than going to church a few times a week. In the busyness of life, I have sacrificed time spent with God for other things, and it’s left me completely spiritually drained.
I think a good way to do a self-check to see if you’re spending enough time in God’s presence and His Word is to look at your life and try to find evidence of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Do I react to others in love, or do I let anger consume me? Am I patient with others or am I easily frustrated? Do I look for joy in the little things, or do I constantly complain? Am I kind to others? My answers to those questions tell me that I’m not spending time with God like I should. Just like with any relationship, I have to put the work in if I want my relationship with God to thrive and grow. I know that I need to make time with God and time studying His Word a priority, and that’s my first goal for the year.
I have never, ever been a morning person, but with little kids and a job that leaves me totally drained at the end of the day, I know that I need to set aside time early in my day for my quiet time or it most likely won’t happen. I don’t want to have to get up any earlier, but I know that’s what I need to do in order to make this happen. Nobody said making changes was easy, right? I’m really not looking forward to losing 30 minutes of sleep, but I’m going into this believing that it’s important and that God is going to bless that time. After all, no matter how much sleep we get, we’re not truly rested unless we are resting in God and spending time with Him (Matthew 11:28-29).
Another area of my life that needs LOTS of improvement is my health. After having two kids in two and a half years, my body needs to recover and I want to come back stronger than before. It is more important now than ever for me to get active so I can keep up with my boys and so I can be a healthy, happy mom for them.
Focusing on taking care of myself physically has always been a challenge for me because I feel like the time and money it takes to invest in my health could be better spent somewhere else, but I am finally beginning to realize that I can’t take care of others if I don’t take care of myself first. I’ve always kind of thought of self-care as being selfish, but I am learning that I can’t pour from an empty cup. Taking care of myself isn’t selfish – it’s necessary if I’m going to be a good wife, mom, and friend.
Just like I need time with God each day to strengthen my spirit, I need to spend time every day taking care of my body. I’m not going into this year with an extreme goal to lose a ton of weight to hit a specific number on the scale. Instead, I’m starting the year with a commitment to complete 100 workouts in the next six months (that’s 4 to 5 workouts per week). As a person who has failed at every fitness commitment I’ve ever made, I know this is going to be tough, but I’ve finally decided that I am worth it. This is going to be the year that I stick with it. I will be checking in on here and on my social media when I hit 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100 workouts to help me stay accountable. I know this journey is going to challenge me physically and mentally and I’m excited to see how much stronger I feel after completing this challenge.
When Jeff and I got married, I had a couple store credit cards and one regular credit card that was maxed out (thankfully, it maxed out at a pretty low amount, but still, I was paying LOTS of interest on that debt). We made it our first priority as a married couple to cut up those cards and pay those off. We are both bad at budgeting and we both like to spend money, so we have avoided getting any other credit cards because we know that we’d end up racking up debt and we don’t want to do that. Since we paid those credit cards off and closed those accounts, our next priority has been working towards paying off our student loans. According to Proverbs 22:7, “the borrower is the slave to the lender.” When it comes to student loans, we definitely feel the truth of this verse. It’s so draining to make that payment every single month and never really see a dent in the amount of debt you’re paying.
One of our goals this year is to pay off as much of that debt as possible so that we can finally be debt-free.
We also want to focus on being intentional with our spending. It’s so easy to just toss stuff in the cart at Target or run through the drive-thru for lunch and not think about those little expenses, but they do add up. We’re going to do our best to cut down on unnecessary spending and save as much as possible.
Another area of my life where I want to be stronger in 2020 is in my relationships. Obviously, I want to continue to pour into my marriage and my relationships with family, but my main priority for this year is to strengthen my friendships. I’ve always had lots of acquaintances, but I’ve never really had many super close friendships. This year, I want to work on strengthening the friendships I already have by being a better friend. I tend to be a homebody and keep to myself, and I need to step out of my comfort zone and really be there for my friends.
I also want this to be the year that Jeff and I really get involved in our church through Sunday School and small groups. I think it’s super important to surround yourself with people who are supportive. This year, I want to strengthen our friendships with the people at or church and really get to know them. This is something I’ve felt God leading me to do for a while now, and I’m excited to follow His calling and see what kinds of great friendships He has in store for us.