Welcome back, friends! The last week has been unexpected in many ways. I blocked off time to write this post on Wednesday afternoon and, come 3pm, morning sickness knocked me out. I never know when the tiredness or nausea will hit, so it’s been humbling to let go of control. Although, with two littles joining us this year, this is a tiny foreshadowing of what will likely be a lot of letting go ahead. So, I am extra grateful for the gift of being able to write to you right now. Hi : )
If you are just joining us, you aren’t too late to get started on 2015 Goal Setting! There is nothing magical about January 1st. In fact, I’ve deemed February 1st as my January 1st. Feel free to join me in taking this time to plan intentionally, little by little. My desk right now, working through my PowerSheets and the book together…
Dig into these posts below and have fun! There are great giveaways with each post to give you a little extra motivation.
2015 Goal Setting, Part 1: Good Things
2015 Goal Setting, Part 2: What Didn’t Work + What I Learned
2015 Goal Setting, Part 3: Saying Yes, Saying No
Welcome to Part 4. I am excited about this! But, first. My answers from Part 3:
These are not in order of importance, but this is the order they came to mind as I wrote, which told me a lot about where God is leading me. I’m saying NO to:
Feeling stuck. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know I’ve been challenged by a lot of new “normals.” I like to be prepared in life, but I was not prepared for all that comes with launching a new book + having morning sickness knock me out most days + my regular workload and parenting. So, I’ve struggled a bit with feeling paralyzed by it all, which led to some in-action and in-decision. Ultimately, it led me to me knees to ask God for help. This has taught me that only He can get me unstuck and help me navigate new waters.
STUFF. I wrote this in capital letters on purpose. My friend Joshua’s story, reading 7, being challenged by scripture, and the amount of time I spend organizing and cleaning throughout the year led me to see that the more I have, the more I have to manage. More stuff = more time. No matter how much I don’t buy or how much I seem to clear out, it still feels like too much as I grow more aware of the needs all around me. The more I have, the less someone else has. We are blessed to be a blessing and we can’t take any of our stuff to Heaven with us. For those who have read my book, you know this has been a continual process in my heart of letting go — not accumulating coupled with giving sacrificially. God’s not done with me yet here. I have a long way to go, but I’m ready to dig deeper.
Focusing any energy on self-glorifying things. Caring about likes, comments, or people liking me. I want to make Jesus famous. NO to me, YES to Him.
Believing that I can. God works all the good in me and I want to direct all the praise to Him.
Believing the lie that God can’t. He can do anything. He is God.
Wasted time. In feeling yucky lately, I’ve found myself tempted to distractions instead of going straight to the source of comfort, God alone.
Judging myself. Self-reflection is good. Aligning our lives with God’s word and being convicted by that is very good. But, condemning myself is not good. Only God can define my worth, so I want to look to Him alone, especially when I feel like I’ve “failed” or fallen short.
Comparison. I feel pretty resolute on this one, but felt the need to list it regardless, as it tries to creep up every now and then.
I want to write this one in neon. I say no to believing the lie that God is done working on my character and on our marriage. There are times I fall into the trap of believing that lie and I know that’s not from God. Ari and I had a needed conversation last week about where we feel God wants our marriage to be and it reminded me of the impossible change He has and continues to make happen in our lives. My prayer is that God keeps bringing us closer to His heart as individuals so we can continue to be stronger as a couple, and therefore be prayerful God-loving parents and an example to others of God’s grace.
In light of all the things I’m saying NO to, here’s what landed on my YES list:
SEEKING Him in everything (more on that in a minute)— not being lazy in running fiercely after the changes God has ahead.
An abundance of open Bible time and pouring my heart out in prayer.
Sowing into friendships and supporting others generously to share God’s unselfish love. In this category are a lot of dear friends that I want to love fiercely, including our brothers and sisters in our Family Group from church that Ari and I lead together. This is us below last night. It was so good to get back together after the holidays and all commit to this being a year of deep closeness as we walk through life together. I love these people.
Honoring all others above myself.
Deeply challenging our finances to give it all away to build His kingdom. That’s a big one this year. Perhaps the one thing I feel God pulling me most to and the one thing that feels the biggest, scariest, and most exciting all at the same time.
Gratitude. Praise. Times infinity.
Saying yes to the Holy Spirit’s leading — whether in speaking the truth in love to someone, praying for a friend even when it feels awkward at first, sharing my faith with someone I’ve never met or someone I’ve known for years, and doing the things I know He wants me to do.
Listening to the Word (I love the audio Bible’s on YouVersion — the NLT translation audio is great), worship music (I need more music in my life), and truth-filled sermons.
Yes to believing that God has done greater things than help two flawed people raise three children! This is Grace today, talking to the baby, telling it what she wants to name it. Today it was “nacho.”
Yes to whatever you have for me, Lord.
My word hit me as I was reading this verse in Matthew one morning:
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:34 NIV).
To give this a whole lot more context and meaning, read the verses that lead up to that. Just wow. Jesus teaches about giving to the needy, prayer, true treasure, and then He teaches about worry, telling us to seek God above all else and therefore… do not worry about tomorrow.
All of the subjects in Matthew 6 have been on my heart lately. I’ve worried about how my life will change with our growing family. I’ve worried about how our marriage will change. I’ve wondered what it looks like to give sacrificially and to truly meet others needs in the way God desires. In that, I’ve been thinking about earthly “treasure” and true treasure and trying to do something about it. I’ve been needing God’s wisdom and desiring a closer relationship with Him. And then, He gave me the answers:
Seek God. Do not worry.
So, the word I feel God putting right in front of my face for this year is SEEK.
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. – 1 Chron 16:10-11
But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. – Psalm 9:10
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. – Psalm 10:4
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. – Psalm 27:4
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. – Psalm 61:3
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” – Psalm 70:4
I could go on — there are so many beautiful scriptures that point to seeking Him as the source of life.
Now, into the next steps! Take your time and feel free to share your answers below to encourage others too. There’s a great giveaway to encourage you to get your thoughts written out! Go back and review everything you’ve written so far, then answer the following questions: If you were to envision your most purposeful year yet, what would it look like? Where do you want to be when you’re 80? Answering these was life-altering for me this year! I’ll share my answers in the next post.
Do something radical this year. For those of you in my generation, this doesn’t mean Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure kind of radical. I mean the kind of radical that changes everything for the better. That thing that has been set deep in your heart. That thing that scares you. That thing that feels impossible right now. That thing that you know would help you and everyone around you.
Radical literally means very new and different from what is traditional or ordinary. ‘If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten‘ – Tony Robbins. Do something different this year, something that feels bigger than you. Imagine the possibilities if you do! You get to define what your radical means to you. Maybe it’s big like finally getting out of debt or starting a personal budget or getting healthy. Maybe it’s finally going on that mission trip or writing that email or starting that business. Maybe it’s saying “no” to something or simply and profoundly choosing to be more still this year. Before you get completely overwhelmed (I know I just dove into deep waters here with you!), here this: start small. The core principle behind what I’ve taught at the Making Things Happen workshop for the last 6+ years is this: begin anywhere. Little by little, make it happen. Your task here is to define your very first tiny small little itty bitty action step towards making that thing happen.
So, what is your “radical”? Define it. Write it in black and white and let it marinate in your big beautiful heart. And then DO something about it. Something very small. Sometimes — most of the time — the hardest part is starting. The rest of the pieces can come later. Define your radical now. Share it here and let’s support and pray for each other. I will share mine in the next post, too.
Okay, those last two steps were admittedly challenging, though likely the most fruitful. So, here’s an easy one. Choose a song for this year! A song that lights your heart on fire and makes you feel alive and connected to what you want most. Music has the ability to connect us to what matters most in an instant. Music can lift us out of a slump fast. Music can fill our should with goodness on days that nothing else seems to get to our hearts. Share your song for 2015 here, too! I’m still hunting for one and can’t wait to hear yours.
The giveaway for this post is a good one. Win a $100 home or office refresh from the shop! You get your pick of anything that’s in stock!
You can win multiple times throughout this post series and you can increase your chances of winning by:
– Commenting on this post to share your thoughts
— Pinning this post or any in the series
– Instagramming any graphic with a link back here to this post or future posts
– Sharing this series on Facebook or Twitter
– Blogging or in any way sharing this post/series
– For all entires, link back here to www.LaraCasey.com/blog and use the #2015GoalSetting hashtag. You are welcome to use graphics from my posts!
– Lastly, leave a comment saying you did any of the above. You can enter as many times as you like on all posts! I’m going to choose some extra winners along the way, too, for some special surprises : )
Speaking of special surprises, I’ll leave you with this below. (And I am doing a happy dance in my chair for being able to get through writing this post to you today!) I’m so grateful to my publisher for generously donating 500 copies of my book to the Influence Network’s next book club. Get your free copy and all the details here!
Go make what matters happen, friends. I am cheering you on!