October 2013 Mini Elephants

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image21731706The hardest thing about setting goals (for me) is knowing what is realistic and what is not. I like to think that I can do as much as I did before Anah came...or at least that is the goal I have. Call me a slow learner, but I am finally realizing that perhaps for a season, I am just going to have to die to some of my lofty expectations for myself. And compared to past seasons, I don't feel like these goals are all that lofty! I am frustrated that I can't do more. But perhaps that is the lesson that He is wanting me to learn: that my worth and value to Him is not based on what I accomplish each day or how many tasks I check off my list or what great things I do for others. It is simply being present to Him, doing the work He does give and not trying to bite off more than I can chew---especially not for the sake of my pride or desire for bragging rights.

The truth is, this adoption is requiring way more than I ever anticipated. And I need to accept that as God's will for me, not my own plans. It is when I try to do what God asks me to do and what I want to do that I get overwhelmed. His yoke is meant to be light. I am the one that makes it heavier than it needs to be.

On the flip side, I think I am afraid of becoming lazy and going to the other extreme of not aiming at anything. So that is my dilemma: what is God's work for me? What are His goals this month? What is most important to Him? Where do I try to camouflage my desires so that they sound like His?

I know that following Him is not an easy road. I need to expect difficulty and struggle, simply because we live in a world that is at odds with Him and His ways. But how much of that is my own doing because I insist on taking on too much for myself?

Thankfully, the Lord is a God of grace. When I make the mistake of doing the right things for the wrong reasons, and even when I have sinful motives or am plain disobedient, He is ready and able to help me do what is right and make the changes I need. I am learning that even good things that are not His plan for me are the wrong things. And I need to learn to give up those good things so that I can take hold of the best things He has for me.

Maybe this sounds like an excuse for not accomplishing a whole lot last month:

  • Polishing my memory work in Ephesians and Philippians.
  • Read Romans.
  • Read For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
  • Go out on a date with Anah.
  • Go out on a date with Jonathan.
  • Finishing my report cards.
  • Finishing Janna's transcript.
  • Planning my blog post schedule.
  • Brainstorm a list of ten books/ideas to do with our homeschool group's young learners.
  • E-mail each mom in our homeschool group in the next two weeks or touch base with them.

But maybe this is more what He desires for me this month:

  • Take Jonathan to the dinosaur museum near our home. 
  • Talk with Matthew about what he would like to change in our school curriculum this year and figuring out what would make his school time most enjoyable.
  • Taking a day with Janna about her future and spending the time looking at where God has taken her and praying over where He is leading her.
  • Playing catch with Anah once every day.
  • Being willing to work out some issues with my husband instead of letting them fester.
  • Plan a time to play with my kids.
  • Spend time with helping my sister and her new baby.

At the end of the day, it is really not what I accomplish that matters. It is really more about the relationships and the people in my life that God calls me to invest my energies into. We live in a world that measures success by productivity, but God looks at how well I love Him and love those He gives me.

Sure, I can work on other things. But I know I need to put these things in first. If there is time, I will:

  • blog twice a week
  • complete any homeschool paperwork that is still outstanding
  • read Sally Clarkson's The Ministry of Motherhood
  • develop ideas for our homeschool group

Thank You, Lord, that You love us for who we are, not what we do. I confess that I often seek to find my identity and worth in my productivity. Help me to see that when I invest in people, even if it at the expense of my to-do list, I have fulfilled Your desire and will. Cultivate in me a spirit that is sensitive to Your leading and guidance and one that values what You value. Protect me from the siren song of this world that lures me to seek more, gain more, want more. May I be fully content in You alone. In Jesus' name, Amen.