Thursday, December 31, 2015

Enjoying The Year

Here we are in a new year, and perhaps many of us are writing down some plans and goals for the future. 

The New Testament talks about the future in a healthy manner  when it says:

 "..forgetting what lies behind, I press forward to the mark of the high calling of Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 3:13-14)

It is apparent from this verse that God approves of us setting goals and trying to press forward and achieve them. In other scriptures, the achievement of goals is likened to a race of an athlete who tries to make it to the finish line, or the marker. (Hebrews 12:1)

Observe, however, that pressing forward necessitates forgetting unproductive regrets and failures of the past. Instead, use these mistakes as reasons to start over and try again, with more determination. You can analyze where you "missed the mark" and try again.

If you are too often sad about missed opportunities, you may be living in the past. In the trials of life, you cannot keep regretting the prize you did not win. You have to try to get another prize. 

The plans you make must have the qualities of a higher calling. They must be of a noble nature; something worthwhile.  We cannot ask God to bless our plans if they are contrary to the good, the pure, the noble and the lovely.

I believe it is important to make some plans and goals and not drift through life with no apparent purpose.  Many years ago (maybe decades) my husband attended a class related to self-employment, which taught how to set goals and create steps to achieve them, and so today I will relate some of the main points of this lesson.

Using what he learned about setting goals, he accomplished in 18 months what many young people find to be overwhelming. In that time, he got out of debt, developed his career, bought a house, and got married.  He did this by creating smaller steps which he could accomplish daily.

Ladies at home benefit from setting goals, so here are a few ways to set achievable goals:

Setting and Reaching Worthwhile Goals

1.  Things for the present:

These are things that are easier to get, such as quick comforts for yourself and your family that make life a little easier and relieve the pressures of the world. They can be things that contribute to rest and relaxation, or things that give you a sense of well-being, that have nothing to do with the future, but with the present. These right-now, present goals will help you with contentmentcwhile you work on plans that take longer. Contentment is evidence of being happy in the "now." 

 Children respond to regularity in the home, where they know they will be eating at a certain time, reading at another time, bathing and sleeping at another time, and so forth. These habits are developed out of necessity but sometimes can be neglected, whereupon you may find your family less emotionally stable. You will find that listing a few present-time goals is very satisfying and reassuring to you and your family and add to your over-all contentment.

If you are happy and content, you are living in the present.

There has been a great deal of criticism of the idea of living for the moment or living in the present, but a Christian will keep in mind that although we learn from the past and hope for the future, we still must live in the present, hour by hour and day by day, and the present can be treated with great respect and appreciation by the things we do right now.  I believe a regard for the present has to be taught in childhood, but it can be learned later on, as well.

You can test the results of goal setting by making small, easily accomplished plans for the day and completing them. You may find it very freeing.

2. Things for tomorrow and for next week, or short-term goals: 

 In making your list for tomorrow or next week, be sure to allow for any kind of reasonable interruption, but keep the goal in mind and be sure to pick up where you left off as soon as the temporary crisis is past. For example, you may want to rearrange your furniture, organize your sewing room, catch up on correspondence, or start getting rid of things. Unexpectedly, you receive visitors, or there is a meeting you need to attend, or someone calls you and needs your help. Maybe you spill something or something in the house quits working. You have to put aside your own plans and take care of the matter.

 You will pay attention to the more urgent things that come up, and then go back to where you left-off  on the work you were doing. Always go back to the uncompleted thing. 

Short-term  goals are very important because it is encouraging to see instant success. In your daily life as a guide and guard of the home, your cooking, cleaning, teaching and encouraging are things you can see results from almost immediately and they bring a strong sense of personal contentment.

As you fulfill each goal, it is easier to enjoy a day, since that day was prepared by you before it arrived. 

3. Long-term goals: 

Set your sights on some things that will affect your future, and list them. It may be a place to live, a place to travel, or a private business of your own or something to do with teaching your children or improving manners. It could involve finding ways to protect your income and use it wisely. It could be making plans to invest or save.

 Maybe you want to take a course in something like art or cooking, cake-decorating, or calligraphy. You might want to take on a different direction with your blog, the classes you teach, the example you are showing, or any number of things.

 These long term goals can seem so distant that it may discourage you from listing them, but list them anyway. It is possible that many goals are not realized because the person was not interested.

Not every plan on your long-term list will be realized, but when the days come for the end of other goals, you will find yourself more confident and your family happier. The work done beforehand to achieve the things you put on your list will be finished and you can enjoy living in the present without worry or intense pressure.

 Interest will be the big key to listing and completing a goal.

Long-term goals can become the source of anxiety unless we learn to just list them and make day-by-day plans to complete them.

 Women tend to worry a lot about everything (family relations, impending disasters, security at home, financial stability, church things, and just about everything in the whole world) and so it is important that although you have long-term goals, you put it in the hands of the Lord. You say, "Lord, this is my desire, my request, and my hope for the future, if it be your will."  This does not mean you give up on any worthwhile dream or goal, but that you try not to stress over it. 

If you find yourself feeling anxious all the time, you are living in the future.   Although we "press toward" the mark, we must live in the present and use this present day to concentrate on a step for that high mark.

The next thing to do is take one goal and list the steps required to achieve that goal.  It can be learning to upholster a chair to taking a trip, buying a house, or creating a business.

1. Name the goal.
2. Gather information about it, through  books, searches, etc. 
3. Find the cost.
4. Gather the materials.
5. Make a list of everything you need to do, item by item.
6. Determine a start time and a finish time.
7. You may want to write on the calendar squares what to do each day until the goal is completed.

Test out this list with a small goal, such as catching up with the dish washing or cleaning a room:

Clean the guest room:
1. Remove bedding.
2. Replace sheets and pillowcases with clean ones.
3. Re-make bed.
4. Clean the surfaces of table, desk, dresser.
5. Remove unnecessary items.
6. Clean the floor and carpet.

The above is an example of making steps to achieve a goal.

I would recommend reading all you can about goal-setting and achieving, by doing a web-search, until you find an article that has steps you can follow.

Setting goals requires not just writing down personal plans and dreams for adventure and financial achievement, but taking a personal look at ourselves and listing the things we want to improve.

A Christian lady will always keep in mind that the foundation of  all of her plans and dreams and goals is her goal of pleasing the Lord and improving herself in His sight. She gently guides her family according to the spiritual values learns from the Word of God.  

I thought it essential to state this because there will be some physical goals that are essential in living life on this earth (maybe improving the house, making life more comfortable at home, helping children to appreciate the home, etc) that appear to be "materialistic" but have strong spiritual connections.

One important thing about setting goals is to have in mind the appreciation of the life God has given you and to get to see His hand in everything. When you make a goal of travelling or getting a new piece of furniture, it is ultimately so that you can serve the Lord in a better way.

(I feel I have to say this because there is always a religious philosopher who thinks we are not to be concerned about cleaning house, losing weight, improving our temperaments, or reach for higher goals of taking care of our families in the best way we possibly can. Such a philosophy teaches that it is affectatious and silly to want to improve our lot in life. This belief can cause people to live far below the excellence they are created for and capable of.)

Some of the self-improvement areas to consider may be things like the following, which you may want to choose a couple of things from:

Abundant living

Increasingly skills and knowledge

Correcting health problems and maintaining natural health

Improving posture  

Improving our manner of speaking 

Better and more thoughtful communication (answering calls and mail, calling those who need our encouragement, keeping in touch with those who have benefited us, and with those we wish to benefit)

Being more honoring of those God has put in our lives.

Develop listening skills (this is really an enjoyable thing to teach children)

Being more organized

Find new ways to extend hospitality

Teaching the things we know and value

Helping someone else with their goals in life

Being more organized in your office with paperwork

More organization in the kitchen

Effective Bible study, Prayer

Learning a skill that can help you in your particular walk in life

Material goals can include home repairs, house improvement, a new kitchen, new windows, a new door, and other material things that suit your needs.

Goals are seen in many areas of life, that you may not realize. For example, a book that tells you how to repair something or make something has the step-by-step directions from beginning to end, in the order necessary to complete the project. Even a lesson on how to wash dishes includes the logical steps to completion. When you cook, there is a goal which is reached by making simple steps in an order that leads to the finished product.

So dear ladies, while we do live in the present, the past and the future can be used to help us live happily in the today of our lives. We plan for the future because it makes us less anxious and we can relax, knowing the goals and the steps. We learn from the past and we can be happy knowing that we know better than to make the same mistakes and we can be wiser.

This concludes what I have to say, at least for now, on goal setting. I thought you would enjoying seeing how Philippians 3:13-14 is written in the KJV, and the Tyndale Bibles.

Philippians 3:13-14 [Full Chapter] King James date - 16ll
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do,forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Tyndale Bible: approximately 1522-35
 William Tyndale. Tyndale’s Bible is credited with being the first English translation to work directly from Hebrew and Greek texts.

It says: "Brethren, I count not my self that I have gotten it: but one thing I say: I forget that which is behind and stretch my self unto that which is before, and press unto the mark appointed, to obtain the reward of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

Notice the words "I stretch myself." 

 I like this, because it sounds like a person trying to reach
something on a high shelf; a truly picturesque way of 

describing the act of "pressing forward."

Here is how it is originally written:

 (the original spelling is below:)
13 Brethren I counte not my silfe that I have gotten it: but one thynge I saye: I forget yt which is behynde and stretche my silfe vnto that which is before 
14 and preace vnto ye marke apoynted to obtayne the rewarde of the hye callynge of god in Christ Iesu.

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Laura Jeanne said...

What a wonderful, helpful post, Lydia! Thanks so much for sharing this with us today.

Mrs. Christopher Daniels said...

Happy New Year Dear Friend and like minded ladies! May this year be filled with more special memories and thoughtful communications and happy times for us all. Praise the Lord in 2016!!

Miss Betsy said...

Thank you so much, Lady Lydia, for this inspiring and yet very practical post. I was feeling rather discouraged and downhearted that there are goals I have not met, and you have given me encouragement as well as some very good ways to help reach them. What a perfect post to start the new year with!

Christine said...

Thank you! This is an excellent post, and a "keeper" which I plan to refer to often in this new year, as I undertake several important goals on both a household and spiritual level.


JulyGulf said...

Thank you for your words of wisdom and happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,

My eyes widened when you listed "Improving posture", since that is my New Year's resolution for 2016! I am doing simple, specific stretches 2-3 times a day to improve mine.
While shopping with my daughter a few weeks ago, I caught sight of myself in a dressing room mirror while she was trying on clothes, and was shocked at the bad state of my posture. I had stood nice and straight in front of my bedroom mirror while getting dressed that morning, and was happy with how I looked. But bad posture made a world of difference to how I looked now in this dressing room. So that is something I'm trying to improve on.


Polly said...

What an excellent and timely post. I just read a well-known writer this morning who was talking about how we don't need to try to better ourselves in the new year. While I understand her point, which was that we should be content with who we are, I guess I will never be able to *not* embark upon goals to improve my life, myself, my health, my home, my family life...I am content with who I am, but willing to make improvements!

The point about living in the future bringing anxiety is well-made and well-taken. As a forward-thinker, I often get bogged down in My Plans and then anxiety can result. I don't live in the past, and I do try to enjoy the present, but I can dwell too much on the future. Thank you for that reminder!

Happy New Year!

Mary said...

Happy New Year Lady Lydia, I continue to appreciate your wisdom. I come to your blog often as a woman who is constantly learning about the vocation of "staying home". Your remarks remind me of something I read recently written by Fr. Jacque Phillipe:
"If it’s a mistake to add the burden of the past to the weight of the present, it’s a still worse mistake to burden the present with the future. […] We are obliged to plan for the future and take thought for tomorrow. But we should do it without worrying, without the care that gnaws at the heart but doesn’t solve anything—and often prevents us from putting our hearts into what we have to do here and now. Hearts anxious about tomorrow can’t be open to the grace of the present moment.
- Interior Freedom, p.87

Lydia said...

Thank you Ladies,

Tomorrow I am planning to post pictures of the planning sheets that were used in this course, amd to tslk more ablut goals.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful words. Thank you.

Debbie Gnagey said...

What an excellent article! I shared this one with my husband. I look forward to your blog ministry this year and may God Bless You and your family!

Rightthinker said...

What an encouraging and uplifting post! After a strange mix of a wonderful, joy and family filled holiday season, combined with some health issues and a bit of grief and sadness, it is SO refreshing to be reminded how God wants us looking forward, and pressing on!

It's such a beautiful and uplifting point to be looking onward, and seeking to make our lives better, more joy-filled and productive for the glory and body of Christ.

I am excited to shed some of the recent sad events, and look at focusing on continuing on with my blessed calling while always striving to become a better Christian, wife, mother, friend and sister in Christ.

God bless you very much, and Happy New Year to you!

Christine said...

I agree with all these comments!
I can only add my applause.


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