Tag: goals

3 Suggestions to Maintain Sanity in the Summertime

Dear Mamas,

I know you. I’ve been you. It’s May and you are so over school.

You are over science projects that involve late-night trips to Target, and one million school permission slips, and person of the week posters, and lost binders, and room-mother cupcakes to bake, and being the Enforcer of All things Homework.

You’re ready for Summertime when the livin’ is easy. You have dreams of vacation and weekend lemonade stands, popsicles, and your kids happily making forts in the back yard or having a marathon game of Monopoly on a stormy day. There will be barbecues and lake time, sparklers,  hopscotch and baseball games that will just magically happen like at Disney World where no one ever loses a flip flop or  their temper.FullSizeRender-14

Can I offer a few suggestions before Summer is upon us and your dreams come crashing down like the Excalliber Roller Coaster at Valley Fair? Continue reading

Longings, Set-backs, and 3 Keys to Small Victories

When you wake up each morning, what is it that you long for?  After getting your teeth brushed and perhaps a lunch or two packed, and checking your to-do list, what do you want?  REALLY?

You might answer that a lot of different ways, but I’m betting on one thing.  You long to know that you’re achieving something significant.  I’m with you.

Maybe there’s a goal you’ve gone public with, or one that you’re afraid to say out loud.  It may be big and long-term (like starting your own business with kingdom values, or becoming a lawyer who will help advocate for the least and the left-behind, or raising godly kids.)  Or it may be smaller, but still valuable and significant to you (like losing weight or hitting a certain score on the GRE)

Big or small, overtly spiritual or not, our goals and longings can be used by God in eternal ways.  Our dreams are tools He can use to form our character.

Most of you remember that I had a goal last year to run a half marathon with Team World Vision in order to draw attention to the need for clean water around the world and raise money to dig a well in Zambia.  I’m so grateful that I was able to accomplish this (praise Jesus!).

But in the process I got injured and have been dealing with various forms of tendonitis ever since.  SOOOOO FRUSTRATING!!  What about all the “next things”?? The “GREATER THINGS”?

Have you ever had a set-back in a goal or something you’re longing for?  And you want to say,  “JESUS!!! Come ON!!

Well, running is just a tiny example in my life.  As hard as it was, it gave me great joy.  It helped me achieve something for a greater good (clean water).  It gave me a sense of accomplishment.  And the experience taught me a lot about spiritual formation.

So this year-long set-back has been maddening. I’ve worked hard.  I’ve been to the dr. and physical therapist a bazilliionty times.  I’ve had some false starts as impatience got the best of me, but my goal was to begin again September 1st.

September dawned beautiful, dry, and 75 degrees.  I had no excuses, but I confess,  I was scared.  I was back at square one. Have you been there?photo-167

The “what if’s” plagued me, not just about this little run, but about All Of The Things.

What if I’m just not good enough, healthy enough, strong enough, determined enough to achieve __________________?(fill in your own dream)

Well, it was ugly and painful, short and slow, but I finished and I cried with joy and texted my wonderful running partner (daughter Katy) as I stumbled home.

Confession:  I wanted to quit after ONE BLOCK.  How the heck did I go from running 13.1 miles a year ago to wanting to stop after one block?!!

My little starting-over run doesn’t matter so much but I share it because of how God used it to remind me of some stuff when it comes to our dreams and discouragement.  I’m “preaching” to myself here!  There are other goals I have right now where I’m super discouraged and it’s hard to stay motivated, so here are three things I’m trying to do:

1.  Set new goals. Sometimes you have to adjust your expectations.  Sometimes God is doing a different work in you than you want.  I hated continually adapting and down-sizing my goals as I tried to heal, but even that was formative.  Now my goal is just to run a 5 mile Turkey Trot at Thanksgiving.  That’s MY goal, but I need to keep being open to God’s refinement. What new goals might you set? Which ones might need to prayerfully be tweaked?

2.  Do the next thing.  The finish line isn’t the victory, the next thing is.  What’s the one next thing that you can do?  That’s a victory to celebrate today.  What’s that one next thing you can do?

3.  Your playlist matters.  Honestly, I think we underestimate the power of what plays in our head.  At the end of a recent run I was totally ready to throw in the towel, but then I put on my running playlist and “Can you Do This?” and “Roar” propelled me forward.  Do you have a theme song for your dream?

Beyond the music that motivates you, think of the voices that keep you putting one foot in front of another.  Who’s a partner in your dream who you can count on to encourage you?  This response from Katy will keep me going for awhile.  Find someone to cheer you on.

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What’s one longing or goal you want to pursue?  How can you apply one of the 3 things above to get on track?  Let’s encourage each other! 

 

 

How do You Carry a Tree?

Fourteen years ago we took our daughters to Africa for the first time.  We spent a month there on a sabbatical.  One day we saw a woman walking down the road with a tree balanced on her head.

Yep, you read that right.  A whole tree.

You see people balancing a lot of unusual things on their heads (or on their bikes) in Africa, but this was the first and last time we saw a tree. (apparently it’s not THAT rare cuz I was able to Google this picture!)

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That night, our daughter, Maggie, walked into our room, carefully balancing a book on her head.

“I’m working up to a tree.” she said.

Since then, Maggie’s “tree” has been a dream of helping underprivileged girls and women around the world to be healthy and happy and to carry their own dreams. Continue reading

3 Insights from my Reader Survey and Why it Might Matter to You

Two and a half years ago I prayed about God’s direction for a new season, and He used the story of Elijah and the widow to prompt me to use my “flour and oil” – my tiny bit that He would make enough.

Specifically, this blog.  I said, “Ok, I’ll try to show up with my flour and oil if You’ll show up with Your Spirit.”  It is no holy-moley exaggeration to say that it’s been a stretching experience of dependence on Him for weekly words.  Any value here is Him graciously using me.  Last week, for the first time I did a survey to see how you feel it’s going.

People in “real” jobs get a pay check and a yearly review.  Students get grades and diplomas.   We all grow by evaluating – setting goals and checking to see where we’re hitting the mark and where we need to recalibrate.  Other than praying and trusting God, discerning progress and value on a blog is hard.

I know surveys can be a pain, so I want to say a HUGE “Thank you!” to the many readers who took the time to give feedback!  I sooooo appreciate it!!  It was informative and encouraging!  Often I write and post and it feels like my words are flying out into a vast cosmic void.  This survey assured me that there are actual PEOPLE reading and being encouraged by these posts God graciously gives me.  It was so great getting to KNOW you a little bit through your responses!

Three things I learned from the survey: Continue reading

One Other Woman and Her One Word

I’m soooo excited to bring you a guest post today from Helen Jenkins!  We have become good friends because we are both heart-deep in World Vision – her from Windsor, UK, and me from Minneapolis.  I love her passion, her authenticity and her wit.  Today she shares her One Word experience.DSC00021

It all started when I began to live vicariously through Laura’s word from last year – FEAR or rather, FEARLESS. Brilliant idea I thought. I loved Fearless Friday where she blogged how her word had impacted how she had interacted with life that week. There were sometimes guest bloggers sharing THEIR word and how it was helping them grow and meet challenges that crossed their paths. Very inspiring!

I never came up  with my own word but I did begin to feel like one of the men in the Muppets – the ones that sat in the balcony enjoying the show, occasionally throwing in their two bits worth. Kind of felt like somehow I was participating … kind of … sort of …

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 Well, I couldn’t believe it when early on in her word challenge, if Laura didn’t up and step way out of her comfort zone and sign up for a half marathon – and she is/was NOT A RUNNER!! Whoa, I thought, from my armchair, this should be interesting! To top it off, she wasn’t even doing it for herself, but to help raise money for a clean water project for World Vision!!! Sure enough she huffed and she puffed and she trained for months and SHE DID IT!! Maybe I should get a word or maybe not … somebody might ask ME to run a half marathon.

Truth is, three years ago I moved to a new country, away from family, friends and my entire community. It was somewhat of a shock to my system and it has taken a while to recuperate but (did I mention it was three years ago?!) it is definitely time to get a move on. Perhaps this could be one of my steps to getting back in the swing of things. Continue reading

Help for One Word

Yesterday I posted on One Word for 2014.  I love seeing the words you’re choosing in the comments section – check them out and add yours!

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I asked my mom what hers is and she said it’s a secret. 🙂 Guys, it’s not like this is a nuclear launch code.  And you will not be struck by lightning if you change your word in February.  Ask my brother, David.

If there was going to be One Word for this blog I pray it would be Grace, grace, and more grace!  Part of my goal is that we would take God seriously, but ourselves not so much, so jump in.  It’s safe, I promise.

If you’re considering choosing One Word for 2014 and are having some trouble, here’s some help from the author of the book, One Word, who was on the Today show.  As you reflect, he suggests, look in, look up, and look out.  View the 3 minute clip here.

Persevering through Partway to Somewhere

This is not a post about running.  Not exactly.

But it starts there, so bear with me.

The hardest point in my runs (read: slow slog) these days is between mile 2.5 and 3.  After the newness of the run has worn off and before I’m in any kind of comfortable (read: muscle numbing) rhythm.  Way before the end is in sight.  And let’s not even talk about the possibility of the “runner’s high”.  That’s a cruel myth perpetuated by sadistic marathoners to make the rest of us feel like failures.

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This is the point that is the most uncomfortable.  When I most want to stop.  When the voices taunting “This is STUPID!” are the loudest.

Instead of “I-think-I-can-I-think-I-can” on repeat in my brain it’s “I’m-gonna-die-I’m-gonna-die”.

Continue reading

3 Lessons I’m Learning About Airplanes That Don’t Get Off the Ground

I have a lot of friends who are “high-capacity achievers”.  I look at them and they are wise and talented, and smart, and “tada!” they have a lot of seemingly easy sucess…kind of like Michelle Obama or Justin Bieber.  That would not be me.

The other day I wrote about what it takes to build an airplane (like my friend, Gayle).  You know, like what it takes to achieve any humongous goal that seems crazy and beyond possibility without divine intervention.

Friday morning as I was walking home through our snowy neighborhood from the coffee shop where I write, I got to thinking back over this past year, 2012 and two “airplanes” that I set out to build.  They didn’t crash and burn.  They never even got off the ground!  I felt tears sting my eyes (hoping they wouldn’t freeze on my cheeks) as I re-lived my deep, deep disappointment at these “failures”.

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One was a fund raiser for starving kids in Africa.  I had worked with a team and prayed for 200 contributors.  We got about 15.  The other was a writing submission that was important to me.  It was rejected without feedback. I had a bunch of airplanes that soared in 2012, but, like most of us, it’s easy to obsess about those that didn’t.

I had prayed fervently about both.  I thought both would honor God.  I worked really hard, and did my part as best I could.  I had a team of truth-tellers and consultants for both.  I broke them down into smaller segments.  I thought I followed all the right steps.  But they both failed.  Miserably.

So I, like you (if you’ve failed at anything), have been trying to figure out “What now?” Here are some of the questions I’m asking:

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The One Word that Might Change Your 2013

I’ve been reading and listening to boat loads of advice in the past two weeks on resolutions, goals, and all things to make the 2013 me stronger, more successful, and more godly (all with a flatter tummy of course).

You too?  Feeling a little overwhelmed?

Some advocate shorter term goals and then evaluation and refinement, instead of setting big year-long goals.  I like that.

Others suggest making a “stop” list.  Yeah, I like that too.

And others admonish us to start and end our goal-setting with prayer.  Yep.  Good word.

But the newish “in” thing seems to be choosing ONE WORD for the year.

Trashing a list of resolutions and instead focusing on one word, one word to live into with God for the year.

Continue reading

How to Build an Airplane

I have a friend who is building an airplane.  Seriously.  Not a model.  A real, live, take-off-and-land-in-a-different-state airplane.

She sent pictures in her Christmas letter and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.  It makes me think of those pictures you see of Rosie the Riveter from World War 2 posters.

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Well, I’d like to build an “airplane” this New Year.  Sound impossible?  Yep, sounds that way to me too.

I love big hairy audacious goals.  I love the idea of going after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.  I don’t want to let fear dictate my decisions.  I want to take a flying leap of faith.  But that doesn’t mean flying blind.

So I’ve been thinking my New Year’s resolutions and about what Gayle is doing to reach her remarkable goal.

She has a team.  She’s not doing it alone.  She has professionals coaching, guiding directing her.  Her family members are putting in hours of work by her side also.  So ask yourself, “Who’s on my team?  Who are the people who can advise me, give feedback, teach me?” and then go ask them for help!

She has a plan.  And the plan isn’t just “build a plane today”.  Ask, “What are the smaller steps that are going to help me reach this big goal?  How can I break an airplane down into parts?”

If your goal is to lose weight, what are the daily habits that are going to set you up for success?  If your goal is to write a book, how many words are you going to discipline yourself to write each day?

She has a work ethic. Gayle’s plane is being built in a hangar in Oregon and she’s required to put in a certain number of hours of work over a year’s time.  This is not a Bewitched-twitch-your-nose-and-get-it-done kind of deal.

What are the excuses that keep you from setting the alarm an hour early?  I love what Jon Acuff writes…”Sucker punch Monday morning and start your day before fear has a chance to find you.”

Another friend of mine likes to say, “Work like it depends on you.  Pray like it depends on God.”  Building a plane may not sound like a very “spiritual” endeavor, but how sad if we leave God out of any equation.  And how exciting if we set kingdom goals that we can see clearly will honor God, feed the hungry, encourage the brokenhearted, bring justice…

So anyway, that’s what I’m thinking about this morning.  What airplane are you hoping to build in the New Year?  Or what airplane are you afraid to tackle?

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