Once the priorities are prayed over then I like to make some specific goals for different areas in my life.
Homeschooling: Now is a good time to evaluate if I am on track to complete my intended goals for school. Are there any areas I am behind? What can I do to catch up in that subject? If I am ahead in areas, how can I use that time to do some enrichment in another area that may have been put on the back burner because of time restraints? What books do I want to read to the children for the remainder of the school year? Any places of interest I would like to take the children?
Finances: Is there any debt that needs to be paid off? How can those things be accelerated? Do we need to begin saving for specific items? This is an area I am constantly reviewing. God has taught me much in the area of finances, much of which I hope to share with you all. He is also teaching me much in the area of giving. I have always known that everything I have is ultimately God's, but that has been more of a sentiment in my head, rather than my heart. If what I have is all God's, then how I spend that money matters to him. Do I really need a new decoration, or could that money be better used to go to persecuted Christians around the world? What about widows and orphans? One of the greatest joys of getting out of debt is the freedom it gives one to actually give to those needs. I see so many people using up their monies for multiple vacations and hobbies galore and sports and recreation. The sentiment is, "This is my money. I worked for it. Now, I get to enjoy it." But, that is NOT how God looks at it. It is HIS money. I do not believe God doesn't want us to take vacations, or have hobbies or enjoy ourselves. But, in our western culture, many people live their lives for the next personal enjoyment. How it must grieve the heart of God to see His church giving so much of their monies to things that have absolutely no eternal value when there are so many worthy ways to give. I hope to share more on this subject in days to come.
Organization: Are there areas in your home that could be better utilized in another way? How about dejunking to create a more peaceful atmosphere in your home? Purging books, the pantry, the closets, etc.? Chore charts? Scheduling?
Health: If you don't exercise, how about starting? How can you incorporate healthy eating in small steps? What about getting rid of chemical cleaners in your home and finding alternatives, or making your own? I am constantly trying to look for ways to make our home and the food I prepare healthier for my family. This is one of the privileges of being a stay at home Mom. Most healthy food takes a great time to prepare and if I were working outside the home, it would be much more difficult to accomplish this. So, embrace the awesome responsibility of providing the best for you family and yourself by making baby steps to healthy living. I have begun many of these, but still have so many more to work on. I will be sharing some of these baby steps with you along the way.
I do not believe that planning should intimidate us, but rather give us a base from which to work. I do not always meet all the goals I set for myself. Life happens. Tragedies come, sicknesses visit, God totally redirects me, my priorities may change as the Lord shows me more and more of Himself...but it is a good starting place. Without some sketch of what I want to see accomplished, it just doesn't get done. So, my exhortation to you is to start small, but to start. And don't forget to pray about how God would have you serve this year. If you are an older Mom...how about being a Titus 2 mentor to someone struggling? Be deliberate in family evangelism. Can you increase your hospitality this year? Happy praying and planning! Until next time!