The Follow Through
Last Monday Dalayna challenged us to celebrate not the courage to change, but the courage to stick it out until the change is complete. Truthfully, that's a challenging one. Actually changing is the hard part. Dreaming up all the things that we need to change or do different...that's the easy part. So, how do we actually keep with the it? How do we have the courage to continue the change process? Well, I don't have any real solid answers mostly because I'm terrible at this part. I'm terrible at the follow through and great at the dreaming, but I will share with you the steps I'm taking to walk into the 2017 with a success.
1. Make a List
As of late, I've become quite the list maker mostly out of necessity, but I have discovered that these lists really work for me. I have lists at work. Lists at home. List for personal items that have to be completed. I have lists for bills. Lists for goals. Lists for everything. Honestly, that seems to be the only way I can keep anything straight. Further, I've divided my lists into weeks, months, and quarters. I even have one for the entire year. One thing is for sure, if its on a list and you have to check it off, you're not going to forget it. And there's a little bit of pride in checking off those items on my list. I even put little boxes next to each item so I can put a big, red check mark signifying the completion of that task.
2. Make a Dream Board
When I get discouraged on the course towards my dreams, I need to find ways to physically see my dreams. I created a dream board that I carry around with me on my phone. It's very simple. It's just a note in the notes app. I have my life values listed on the note and then I have pictures that represent the values I want my life to represent. When I get discouraged or distracted with the little things that shift my focus I can easily pull up that note, read over it, live in those images, and I find myself refocused on my goals. Those images are just pictures. They don't change the work required to live my dreams, but they do help me evaluate the cost of my dreams compared to the outcome. And let me tell you friends, if you are dreaming God's dream for your life and you're picturing God's dream for your life, the sacrifice will always be worth it.
3. Take Time for Self-Care
Change takes sacrifice. Reaching your goals requires change. Reaching for your dreams sometimes costs you everything. And if it's God's dream for your life it's worth it. It's worth everything. But what good is it to change and to reach a goal and to see a dream become reality if when you reach the dream you've emotionally, physically, and spiritually damaged yourself? It's not worth it. Furthermore, if you are aiming for God's dream for your life and you have killed yourself emotionally, physically, or spiritually, then you've reached your dream out of God's will. Ultimately, our dreams should make us more into the image of Christ. Becoming more like Him should always be our first goal.
Often we are so driven to prove ourselves as women that we forget God's purpose for us in the world. God doesn't need us to prove ourselves to Him or to anyone else. He needs us to point other people to His love. He needs us to be women of grace. He needs us to salt the earth with His flavor. He wants us to be a city on a hill. He wants us to be light carrying His presence to dark places. So when I say, "take time for self care," I don't mean go get a massage. (Though now that I'm thinking about it a massage sounds like a good idea.) There's nothing wrong with getting a massage or taking time out of your day to relax, but we cannot neglect our spiritual development. We must protect our bodies that God entrusted us with, and we must develop strong communal relationships that help us live emotionally sound lives. That's self-care at it's finest. As we move forward into 2017, I've decided this is the year that things are going to be different. I'm choosing in 2017 to do the hard work (and it is hard work) to see true life change in my life. I want my life to be significant for the kingdom of God. How about you? Are you willing to put the work in? What do you need to change in order to reach your dream?