Aren’t they cute?! Seriously, I love this bunch so much I could burst. We rang in the new year in typical Fleming style. A simple meal on our Christmas table cloth with sparkling grape juice in plastic champagne flutes. We ate by candlelight with some jazz music in the background. Over the weekend we spontaneously recalled the ways the Lord has blessed us and showed us His mercy in 2017.
This is probably the first year that I am not making resolutions, at least not in the formal sense. Don’t get me wrong. I love a plan, and setting goals is my jam, but I’m approaching 2018 in a different way. Between homeschooling, extracurricular activities, church events, basic home management, birthdays, and holidays I realize that I do not need to come up with a list of things to add on to an already full life. Sure, there are adjustments and improvements that need to be made in a whole slew of areas, but when I come up with resolutions I mentally craft a set of ideals that never materialize because I live and breathe in a real world as the real Jenna.
So this year I am committing myself to three focus areas that are simple, but necessary to maintain some sort of order for my life.
3 Focus Areas for 2018:
Earnest, steadfast, and persistent in conversation with the Father seeking Him in all things- with this a more focused, attentive, and deeper devotion to God’s Word. I want to write out my prayers more, with specific words from Scripture spoken over people and situations, giving everything over to the Lord. In the words of Corrie Ten Boom, I want prayer to be my “steering wheel” not my “spare tire” in 2018.
The daily, disciplined practice of the doing the things that matter allows me to say “yes” to the important and “no” to the unimportant. By committing myself to just a few things, not ALL the things, I give myself permission to leave boxes unchecked. And I love boxes to check! This is hard for me, but coming out of 2017 I have learned more of my own limitations and utter dependency upon God.
Having a plan is one thing, but having a process to work out the plan is a whole other thing. Sometimes the frustration that comes with a messy house, busy schedule, parenting, personal time, etc. comes down to the absence of systems. For instance, this year we set up some clear and defined chores for our girls to do each day. Our 2 turned 3-yr. old also had daily room clean up responsibilities. Even though they only contributed to maintaining the house in a small way, the work load on me was lessened. And they are beginning to learn about work ethic, familial responsibility, and stewardship. There are other systems I plan to employ this year regarding personal care, finances, writing, and home management. For me, if I can order my life even under my limited control, things tend to run more smoothly.
That’s it! Cut and dry. Simple. Not real specific, but the nitty gritty will get worked out in my daily planning and trial and error of working things out. I am an early riser, but I have been a bit sluggish in the mornings at the end of this year. 2017 leaves me tired. So, I see a need for more margin for rest, exercise, and scheduled days away from everything.
One recent lesson I learned is that I can’t be faithful today and tomorrow at the same time. “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Anxiety is a time waster. When I am preoccupied with tomorrow I cannot be productive with today. So, prayer is key. I have been brought to my knees a lot lately, with parenting struggles, sin, spiritual warfare, and simply feeling the rush of life zipping along desperately seeking stillness before God. And He is here. He was there in 2017, and every year before, and He will be here in 2018 and every year that follows. It may be a new year, but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Many things may change this year, but I am thankful that He never will.