Dec 24, 2015


, , ,
Share [Sassy_Social_Share]

She thought that being popular would bring contentment. She never felt like she was enough. She believed the success equation was: work 24/7 + more work. She chased bigger and faster and more more more. Her marriage began to crumble. Yet, she believed she couldn’t slow down. If she missed a minute on social media, she might miss something. She didn’t think she was doing anything wrong, just what she had to do to keep up. She chased an elusive standard of perfection and she MISSED HER LIFE. She was me. I chased my tail until it all began to crash and burn. If you have been feeling restless lately, so badly wanting things to change, but believing that it’s impossible, I know one thing for sure: there is a way out. It didn’t happen overnight or without buckets of painful decisions and facing my mess in the mirror and then… having it ALL covered in grace.


Hi, friends! Welcome back to Part 2 of 2015 Goal Setting. If you are new, be sure to read Part 1 here to get started. Today we are going to step into the imperfect to cultivate what matters together. Ready?


STEP FOUR: If you stopped chasing “perfect”—or whatever you’ve been chasing that is wearing you out— how would your life change? What does your perfectly imperfect “Messy 2016” look like? And… what if you stepped into this year armed with buckets of grace?

Grace upon grace.

As my friend Emily says, “I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perection.” What would that look and feel like for you? Would it be scary at first? Freeing? Both?

My Messy 2016 is about letting go of control. It will look like more listening because I won’t be so rushed–and I won’t be rushing everyone else. (A tip: Write “will” instead of “would” as you share your answers. This will help you commit to making it happen!) I will be able to hear and see more of the blessings right in front of me. Like right now. Ari and I have been up since 3am with two sick littles, which is why this post is so late getting up. But we are choosing to rejoice in the mess anyway! They may have thrown up all over the bed (and us), but they are still loving each other right now.


My Messy 2016 looks like a family of six because I count our expectant mama as part of our forever family too. Having a child with a different skin color than us may bring questions from strangers and friends… but so many opportunities to share the gospel and His love story in this little one’s life. We are so grateful! My Messy 2016 looks like passionately loving my husband and encouraging him in his faith. It looks like praying a lot. On my knees. In the kitchen. In my office. In the car and the shower and on the floor of my closet. (Watch this movie, by the way. It changed our marriage and faith in the span of an hour. And use code MOVIE75OFF for 75% off your rental from now till Monday!) My Messy 2016 looks like stepping away from a growing business more to sow love into my family. It looks like homeschool prep, playing outside, nursing two littles round the clock, not sleeping a whole lot, giving a whole lot more, saying no, and letting go of the need to have a plan all the time. It looks like simple faith and being small (I love my friend Val’s post today.) It looks like less stuff so I have less to clean up in our house. It looks unrushed and undistracted and gloriously full of life.

“Because a messy house is better than a messy heart. And my heart was messy. Mucked up with distractions and misplaced priorities. I retreated to the back porch to be with Jesus. I let the breeze touch my skin. Let His Word fill up the rooms in my mind. Prayer pierced through my preoccupation with self and soon praise poured from my lips. And the miraculous thing? Time expanded. There was time to do the one thing needed and time to do most of the rest. And in the end, the undone stuff didn’t matter. There’s nothing wrong with a clean house—shiny sinks and sparkling toilets can speak love and hospitality when prepared unto God. But if I’m choosing between the state of my home and the state of my heart, I know the better choice.” These words from the Naptime Diaries Make Room devotional by Becky Keife have been ringing in my heart since early December.

My Messy 2016 is about giving up my PRIDE. So much pride. I like to fix things and keep things in order because I fear not being enough–or that things will fall apart. And when it comes down to it, that means I’m not trusting God. Wow, it’s freeing to do this goal uncovering work with you! The simple act of writing my honest thoughts helps me to see clearly, and I hope it does for you too. When I grasp the reins of control tightly, I edge out intentional, messy, purpose-filled, awe-filled living.

Beautiful bouquet of pink and white peonies

Do you know how you grow big fluffy beautiful peonies in your yard? You break through the soil, place the bulb in the ground with some nutrients, get your hands dirty as you cover it up, and besides watering in the hot months, you let go. You wait. You trust that God will provide sun and water and that the earthworms will aerate the soil.

You take a leap of faith. And you let God do His thing.

You trust that when the plant loses its greenery in winter, it will bloom again at just the right time. After winter always comes spring. I can’t force a peony to bloom in the winter when it’s dormant. The bulb needs to rest and transform and store up energy for spring. And when that bulb finally sprouts again and the booms unfurl, you get to drink in the ruffled petals and marvel at what making a mess and trusting can do!

Where do you need to let go in life and trust? What does your Messy 2016 look like? What if you coupled breaking new ground to plant good seeds AND letting go? Because, we can’t do it all and we don’t have to. We just have to plant good seeds, tend them well, and trust—as hard as it is! But, trying with all your soul, might, and strength to trust is worth it. It’s worth that moment when you surrender the reins and watch God cover your entire life in grace upon grace.

There is that popular phrase, “She believed she could, so she did.” I know a deeper truth. A freeing truth.

She believed she couldn’t, so He did.


Cultivating what matters means letting go, surrendering, trusting when everything feels impossible, and knowing that you don’t have to make it all happen. God wants to do extraordinary things through our surrendered hearts and hands.

Where you can’t, He can.

Grace upon grace.



My Write the Word journal above : ) 

Now, on to the next step! Every garden I’ve ever tended has had weeds. It’s not that I’ve planted them—they simply come compliments of the dirt. Appearing in different shapes and sizes, they will choke out what’s supposed to be growing if left unattended. So it’s important to address them. In the same way, to make things happen we must deal with the resident issues.


STEP FIVE: What hasn’t been working in 2015? What hindered you from living on purpose? What areas of your life need to be tended, watered, or soaked in sunshine? Don’t just write or say, “Everything.” Get specific and list your greatest challenges—the places that feel overgrown with impossible weeds right now. I know you want to make this your most purposeful year yet, so don’t let negative self-talk paralyze you as you make this list. Write the facts and move forward. Each thing you write down is a potential area of your life you could surrender to make completely new.

A page from my PowerSheets:

lara casey goal setting comparisson

Three highlights for me:

Comparison. I used to get very discouraged when I looked at other wedding magazines. I didn’t have their budgets or their stylists or their prop houses. When reading other people’s blogs, I would get depressed by comparing my writing, organizing, or business acumen to theirs. I would see happy couples, and though my marriage was improving greatly at the time, I resented all the mess my husband and I had to wade through. Other people were reading large portions of the Bible while I had a hard time reading two paragraphs of an e-mail without getting distracted. Other people were better, faster, smarter, and more successful, and their lives seemed perfect. Ugh! I wanted to be like them. Well, until God shed some light on this for me—a giant million-watt spotlight. Comparison is coveting. And I can see why God felt that strongly about it and forbade it in the Ten Commandments. Comparison makes me ungrateful, which is ignoring God’s gifts to me. When I want what everyone else has, I am blinded to the blessings right in front of me. Comparison isn’t only the thief of joy; it’s the thief of everything. If you are comparing your business, work, kids, marriage, finances, spiritual maturity, smarts, or __ [insert whatever it is for you]__ to those of any other human being on this earth, you will continue to chase your tail, and you will miss your life. I chased “big” and “more, more, more” and “the best” and “more followers” and—you get the picture—for way too long. Until all those things I had worked so hard to build by comparing myself to others started to crumble. Living on purpose turns comparison and coveting into compassion and cheering on. When you are living on purpose, it doesn’t matter what someone else’s journey looks like. All that matters is that you are going to the same place for eternity. You want to help other people get there. So why not be happy for people when they find success or joy or when something comes easier to them than it does to you? If God is glorified, the success is yours, too, my friend. We are all in this together.

FullSizeRender_1 copy

Worry. Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want. Seriously, God taught me a thing or two about this in 2015. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” Luke 12:25. When you look back at the things you worried about this year, did the worry help you, or anyone around you? Me either.

Waiting for so long to deal with unresolved feelings or hard things. When you realize how broken you’ve been, and how much grace has lavished on your imperfections, you start to overflow with a desire to give that same grace to others. If I have been forgiven of so much junk, how could I hold forgiveness from another human being? In my maternity leave with Joshua, I did a lot of praying and read a lot of scripture in the sleepless nights. In all my reading and praying, I felt a strong pull to reach out to those I didn’t have the closest relationships with, and to reach out to new friends too! It was incredibly fruitful. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Eph 4:32


Once you have your list of what didn’t work in 2015, name three lessons you learned and an idea for what to do about it. For example, if you found yourself lost in worry a lot, perhaps the lesson is to cultivate trust more, little by little, and have a list of encouraging scriptures handy—on your desk, on your bathroom mirror, or by your bed—for times you feel worry coming on.

What about you? What challenges did you face this year and what did you learn from them? Perhaps you are still in the thick of some challenges and have no idea yet what they are supposed to teach you. That’s okay! Wherever you are, let’s share the hard things and encourage each other in them. Leave your thoughts in the comments and help encourage others as well.


STEP SIX: Who helped you cultivate what matters in 2015? Looking back at your list of what worked in 2015, and all that you’ve written so far in this series, who helped you to live on purpose this year? Who encouraged or inspired you? Download your own free printable and make your list here!


I don’t have a printer here at my parents house, so I had to type on mine. This is just one page of many for me!

Write the names of those you are grateful for and WHY. And then… do something about it. Thank them for the specific things they helped you with or inspired in you! Some examples from my list:

Gina. Gina and I have been friends for six years and I count her as my most prayerful friend. She has prayed fervently for my marriage, health, focus, family, adoption, and every aspect of my life! In that, I’ve been blessed by her genuine prayers, but also by her example as a prayerful faithful friend. She is also one of the only people who can get a genuine smile out of Ari on camera : )

Rhiannon. She loves our family generously and has become one of my closest friends. We pray, laugh, love, wipe runny noses, and change lots of diapers together. And we make each other tea on the many days that we just can’t do it all. Rhiannon, I praise Him for you every day!


Marcia and Talia. These two wise women are in our church family group, and have become dear friends and mentors to me. What’s unique about these women is that they fiercely pursue my faith. What does that mean? When Ari and I have a challenge in our marriage and I ask them to pray, they pray… and they call, they come over, they don’t let me get away with “I’m fine.”

Jess Connolly. Jess is a wise woman and has encouraged my faith greatly this year. I love reading her truthful words each day, and I am grateful to have her as a friend. Sometimes I wish I could show up at her door just to give her a bear hug and say, “Thank you for speaking truth today.”

Nicole. She wants to know the real answer when she asks how I’m doing each morning. She is a really good listener, and even though I have overloaded her with my big crazy ideas more than once this year, she has continued to pour out grace and joy. I’ve learned from her calm, positive, innovative, giving, and passionate spirit this year. I am so grateful to do my days with you, N!

I loved hearing all the things many of you did to encourage someone else in Part 1! I’d love to hear from you here too. How are you saying thank you to the people who have helped you to cultivate what matters?


OPTIONAL* BONUS STEP: Get visual! Let’s call this “2016 garden planning!” As a creative, visual person, imagery really lights my heart on fire more than anything. Great photographs and colors can make my heart sing and help me clarify my vision. If you are like me, you will really love this step. Make a Pinterest board of images that will inspire a purposeful year. What do you want to grow? Title your board “Make it Happen in 2016″ so we can search for each other’s boards! Now, one word of caution. I rarely use Pinterest (like, twice a year) because it can be the black hole of distraction and discontentment. The goal isn’t to have a Pinterest-worthy year, so pick images that have deep heart, not just pretty things. Here’s my board from last 2013 and from 2014 and 2015. I’ll be pinning images for 2016 here.

*I made this step optional for a reason! If Pinterest distracts you too much, skip this step! There are no rules here. Do whatever will help you to make what matters happen.

Okay, I’ll be back on Friday for Part 3. Friday’s post will be a single powerful step, and I can’t wait!

Need an extra kick in the pants? Welcome to the Ultimate New Year’s Giveaway! There are lots of prizes and fun ways to enter. Most of all, though, I hope you comment with your answers from each step as we go through this series. One person who comments with answers to every step in this series will win a bonus prize: A (spiral bound) One-Year PowerSheets Workbook. Yep! I have two left in the office, and one of you is getting one! I’m determined to motive you to dig in with me on these powerful steps : )


1. A set of 2016 PowerSheets with a Make It Happen binder and colorful tab stickers
2. Five prints of your choice from the Lara Casey Shop
3. The Finishing School by Valerie Metrejean
4. The Make it Happen audio book, recorded by yours truly!
5. A Journaling Bible (NIV)
6. Five Make it Happen journals
7. Artist’s Loft Fundamentals Watercolor Set
8. Two tubs of Vega Protein and Greens + a Vega shaker cup. Bonus: sign up for a free Vega account to get $15, and I’ll get $15 too!
9. Ashley Brooke Too Legit water bottle
10. ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?! 10 2016 Simplified Planners (pineapple daily edition). Yes, TEN of them! Lots of chances to win!
11. What good shall I do this day? sign from Best Made Co
12. Five Make it Happen books
13. Jonathan Adler Grapefruit Candlelara-casey-new-year-fresh-faith-giveaway


– (Not pictured, but so fun!) $25 Amazon gift card for books. Some suggestions: AnythingRestlessThe Best YesA Confident HeartThe Fringe Hours, or anything on Nancy Ray’s Book Club list.

14. The Write the Word journal collection – volume 1, 2, and 3!
15. Val Marie Paper Prayer Journal
16. Naptime Diaries print of your choice
17. In the Wait study by Holly Holt
18. Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin
19. How to Study Scripture E-Book by Jane Johnson
20. Make it Count 2016 Bible journaling kit from Illustrated Faith

Enter below and be sure to leave your answers to each step as you go through the series with me!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends January 13th. Winners will be announced on January 15th here on the blog. Shipping some of these items can get costly, so hard goods are for US entrants only. Lots of digital prize options though for my international friends! If you don’t claim your prize within 48 hours, another winner will be selected, so mark your planners and stay posted! : ) Also, this post contains some Amazon affiliates links. No extra cost to you, but it helps us raise funds for Love One Another Project!

Ready for part 3? Here you go!

keep reading


  1. Linda Lipford on December 30, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    I am nearly desperate to know which video you think is life, faith and marriage changing. I am on my android cell and the site is blocked for me. Could you please please let us/me know. Thank you!!

    • Lara on December 30, 2015 at 6:44 pm

      War Room! : )

    • Janet K on December 31, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      War Room is a super movie! Loved it!

  2. Ashley Terry on December 30, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    I love the step about taking time to recognize who helped you cultivate what matters! Wow, what a blessing to let those people know they have impacted your life in that way. I can’t wait to do this!

  3. Abby on December 30, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    So many a ha! moments reading through this second post during my lunch break. Thank you for sharing the most genuine writings, it is inspiring & motivating. The scriptures you included were an actual a ha!, skip a breath/heartbeat kind of moment for me…what a gift you have. Much gratitude for you & your posts as always!

  4. Angela G. on December 30, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    More food for thought from this blog,thank you. So helpful, so inspiring!!

  5. Suzanne on December 30, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Loving this series, Lara. I put you down as the person I would most like to meet in person on my Power Sheets. ☺ Thanks for your honesty and transparency.

  6. Erienne on December 30, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Loving my Powersheets already! Excited for the giveaway!

  7. Erienne on December 30, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    I encouraged my texted to encourage my husband today!

  8. Lindsay on December 30, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    2015 is ending on a rough note for me- I have shingles! But it has forced me to slow down and take inventory of 2015. I’m re reading Make Things Happen and journaling through your goal setting steps. Thanks for sharing your passion for intention with us, Lara! And what an exciting giveaway!

    • Lara on December 30, 2015 at 7:01 pm

      I’m so sorry you aren’t feeling well! I am stopping to pray for you now.

  9. Jennifer on December 30, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Not allowing people or situations to steal my joy is going to be a big part of my 2016.

  10. Jennifer on December 30, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Sent my friend Rachel an encouraging word about dealing with tween girls. Ours have given us a run for our money this year!

  11. Amy on December 30, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    I’m so excited for the new year and this giveaway! 2015 was difficult for many reasons but I am hopeful and believing God for much in 2016. Thanks Lara!

  12. Amy on December 30, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    I encouraged several people via text, letting them know how awesome they are and that I’m praying for them!

  13. Jaime Nash on December 30, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Found some cute notecards on sale and picked them up. Wrote 5 quick notes to girlfriends letting them know I’m thankful for their friendship. 🙂

  14. Jamie Z. on December 30, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Just stumbled upon your site after a google search about goal setting and am loving what I see!

  15. Lana Ross on December 30, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    I sent my husband a text of encouragement and love because he has been having a rough time at work.

    • Lara on December 30, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      Yay, Lana! That’s wonderful!

  16. Myra - The Marvelous Mess on December 30, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    This second part in the series is just what I finished working on today! Over the last few days of thought and reflection while working with my PowerSheets, I’ve had the opportunity to face things I haven’t wanted to, to deal with what I’ve been ignoring, and to realize that there HAS been some good at work in my life even though I’d lost my focus and couldn’t see it. Again, thank you for this series and for the PowerSheets program. I am already grateful and thankful. Truly.

    • Lara on December 30, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      I am so excited for you, Myra!

  17. Dana Hartness (Happy Little Lovelies) on December 30, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Man, did Jesus use this for me today. My word for the year was “delight” (Ps 37:4 being a favorite) and I loved it, but as I read this I felt a strong pull towards “cultivate” because that is most certainly what the Lord is saying in my life. I was about to change the word entirely when I saw this: “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and CULTIVATE faithfulness. DELIGHT yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps 37: 3 + 4)
    He used you to calm my heart down, let things go and hear His words for me today. Thank you, friend.

  18. Julie G on December 30, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    I am so excited for 2016 bc of you Lara!!

  19. Rebecca Petersen on December 30, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Thank you for writing these blog posts! It’s been so helpful!

  20. Laura on December 30, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Progress not perfection resounds deeply with me right now. I’m all about Do-ing and doing it, of course, perfectly. God tenderly reminded me that when I hold on to past mistakes or regrets it shows that I’m not trusting Him. Ouch! So, choosing to look forward and chase Him, not unrealistic self-expectations!

  21. Kyra on December 30, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Love & appreciate how to lead by example, Lara . Thank you!

  22. Beth Hardinger on December 30, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I’m still working through the first post!

  23. Sarah S on December 30, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Lara, You never cease to show your heart and His love. I’ve been encouraged and brought to tears more times than I can recall after reading some of your work because I know how much love is poured into every word and how much you want all of us to have an intentional life. Thank you for sharing your heart – it has made mine better. Love you!

    • Lara on December 30, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      I love you too, friend! So grateful for you!

  24. Beth Hardinger on December 30, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    I emailed my friend a link to your site and bought her Make It Happen!

    • Lara on December 30, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      That is so generous of you, Beth!!

  25. Sonja on December 30, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    I am thinking about the people I am grateful for in 2015 and I hope to cultivate that list to grow in 2016

  26. Julie on December 30, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Thank you for these wise words.

  27. Kristina on December 30, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    I always love your goal setting series, but this year it has really spoken to me in a new way. I immediately mailed a copy of your book to my Mom the other day who I think desperately needs this refreshing perspective. I want to encourage her to focus on grace and letting go, being messy. I think 2016 will be a year for the books for her and for me.

    • Lara on December 30, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      Thank you for those kind words, and I hope your mom is encouraged!

  28. Michelle Bills on December 30, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    First, I really want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for this series, thank you for your love of Jesus that you share with us, thank you for being real. Seriously, you are a life changer and a blessing!
    STEP FOUR: Honestly, I’ve already had to stop chasing “perfect” this year. Chasing “perfect” for me was working full time (plus), being a mommy, cooking every day, cleaning every day, and being the car pool woman because we only have one car. This year I’ve started to accept that I can not cook and clean every day. Yes, it teaches my children great habits, yes it nourishes them more when I cook healthy meals every day; but I just can’t do it all. My imperfect “Messy 2016” looks more like not worry so much if there are dirty dishes in the sink or if my children have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with orange slices for dinner. It also means that I am going to start going through are stuff and giving more away. Less stuff equals less to clean up (right?). Buckets of grace is definitely what I need to give myself. I need to work on forgiving myself for being messy, for not being able to do it all.
    STEP FIVE: I did a lot of worrying in 2015, and it didn’t help. Not one bit. It made me sick, seriously, I had to deal with shingles because of my worrying and stressing out. In 2016 I need to worry less, stress about things less and go to Jesus more. I also need to get outside, walk, soak in actual sunshine and instead of worrying pray and get a little healthier. I don’t take enough time away for this. I say I’m going to, but then all of the days demands come and it’s midnight again and I’m exhausted. I will work on taking a few minutes out each day to get outside, to take a deep breath, and to just be with Jesus.
    STEP SIX: My mom helped me to live on purpose this year; both with her life and her death two months ago. Loosing someone so close to you makes you stop and look at everything you have been doing and everything you are wanting to do. My children also helped me to live on purpose this year. My children shape me and show me my faults like no other person. They also make me want to be a better person, a person who more likely follows the fruits of the Spirit than the fruits of this world. My dear friends Allison, Jenny, and Cristina also helped me so much this year. They all live so far away so everything is a phone call, text, or email; but every message from them means so very much. I could not have gotten through this year without them. I am blessed by their friendship. You have also helped me to live on purpose this year, Lara Casey. Thank you for your blog posts, instagram posts, and webinars. I have so many quotes I’ve heard you say or seen in your writing taped up to help me remember. Thank you.

  29. Crystal El on December 30, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    I tried goal setting but I never truly put my all into it. I very encourage to do this.

  30. Chante Perryman on December 30, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    This has been an amazing journey already!

    • Lara on December 30, 2015 at 8:42 pm

      I’m so glad you’ve been encouraged, Chante!

  31. Kate on December 30, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    I made the pinterest board.. so good for me to have a visual… so i have put things on there to inspire me, but also things that are going to happen this year, and links that will help me to work towards my goals… what a great idea Lara!!!

  32. Melissa Affleck on December 30, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    This series has been so encouraging. Thank you for including the printable for the people who have helped you to cultivate what matters and for adding the prompt to thank them. Praying for you and your new family of 6!

    • Lara on December 30, 2015 at 8:42 pm

      Thank you so much, Melissa!

  33. Melissa on December 30, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Was chatting with some girlfriends about goals and starting the new year off right and they mentioned your powersheets and I am in love! What wonderful resources you have. Can’t wait to try some.

  34. Katie R. on December 30, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Love this! I’ve encouraged someone two days in a row now- my husband with a text about pushing through these last work days of 2015 and a mailbox treat for a friend adjusting to a new diet!

  35. Katie Wilkin on December 30, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Although this may sound silly to some, I spent some time this morning with my 3 1/2 year old and shared encouraging words with her where I normally get extremely frustrated and short of patience. She lost her big sissy in February to brain cancer, and then gained a baby sister in July, so adjusting has not been an easy task. I’m still learning how to navigate grief with her, and she often screams and gets extremely angry over the littlest of things. I reminded myself to help her instead of discipline her, and we talked about how she felt and how she could better tell me. I encouraged her to not hide her feelings and that it was ok to be angry. We just have to figure out a better way to get that anger out! Whew! It’s a learning experience but we will make it.

    • Lara on December 30, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      Katie!!! This inspires me beyond words! You are an incredible mama!

    • Katie Wilkin on December 30, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Thank you Lara! Since finding your blog and following you on IG, I’ve been inspired again to pick up the pieces and reach my goals in 2016. It has also inspired me to pick up where I left off on my blog. Thank you so so so much for hosting this series!

  36. Caitlin Gerres on December 30, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    I dug into this series from last year at the beginning of December and I’m so excited for 2016 now! And since there’s nothing magical about January 1, I’m already working on my list!

  37. Shannon on December 30, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    I am BEYOND excited! Already starting on these steps and feel encourage! Loved your periscope earlier!

  38. crystal on December 30, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    My husband and I are both doing your goal setting series and it’s life changing. Thanks for directing our eyes to what MATTERS and making it a simple, step by step process.

  39. Carley on December 30, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Eeee! This makes my plan-y heart so happy. I can’t wait to start thinking through my past year and getting excited for a new one. (And ohmyword! I hear ya on comparison. STEALS JOY!!! But I still do it. Ugh.)

  40. Rachel on December 30, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    I can just feel it now, 2016 is going to be my best year ever with some positive changes coming from myself. #2016goalsetting from Lara is going to help so much. I would love to have the prize to help me with this step in my life considering I though my life in 2015 was in ruins. Daily prayer and positive thoughts will help my in some needed changes. Thanks Lara for this change at the giveaway.

  41. Ashley on December 30, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    You seriously inspire me lady!

  42. Monique on December 30, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    I am absolutely astounded by your transparency. I admire that you can be this transparent with so many people watching. something I’m slowly learning to do but am truly thankful that I don’t have to feel alone. I thanked some of those who helped cultivate my 2015 in a blog post. Its been a tough 6 months with business and other uncontrollable changes but I’m working through them with God on my side. I’m going to come out stronger because of it. Its a marathon, not a race. Thank you again for your encouragement and transparency. 😉

  43. Monique on December 30, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    There is a friend of mine who is truly going through a season of stress and is in need of positive change. I shipped her your book as well as the small print “The Best is Yet to Come”. She is looking forward to her New Year’s Gift. I also forwarded the links to these last two blogs so she can gear up as her book is on its way.

  44. Holly Chase on December 30, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    My husband needed encouragement after a rough start to his morning. Helping him to recover his smile was well worth the effort.

  45. kim on December 30, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    so excited for this!!!! thank you for always being encouraging.

  46. Mandy Bell on December 30, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Thank you for this! I am one who needs to let go of the idea of perfection and being in control.

  47. Elizabeth on December 30, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    Wow, what an amazing giveaway! I’m hoping to be more intentional in my business and really aim for what matters most in my life. I’m asking God for some big (impossible!) things in 2016. I feel a bit stuck in goal setting but am praying my way through it! Thanks for hosting and giving!

  48. Elizabeth on December 30, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    p.s. I encouraged some friends via text and snapchat 🙂

  49. Kayte on December 30, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    I love goal setting!

  50. Michelle on December 31, 2015 at 12:10 am

    Lara, you were in my dream the other night hosting a workshop at my university. Hah! You are such an inspiration for young women looking to live a life of purpose. Thank you!

    • Lara on December 31, 2015 at 2:26 am

      I love it! And thank you for the encouraging words : )

  51. Dejah on December 31, 2015 at 2:09 am

    I love the idea of progress not perfection. I can see how much I have missed out on because I was waiting foreverything to be perfect!

  52. Nicole on December 31, 2015 at 2:24 am

    Oh goodness, love this! Especially the piece on comparison, I think all women can relate. So excited to start setting goals and accomplishing them. 2015 was a safe year for me. Not bad, but I am so ready to give up the fear and take RISKS to pursue what’s next for me. Thank you!

  53. Amanda L. Paige on December 31, 2015 at 2:27 am

    I am so excited to discover the blog. I am so inspired by reading these posts!

  54. Rachel on December 31, 2015 at 3:05 am

    Thank you so much for going sooo deep into this prices in such a loving, encouraging way. You’re kinda like my lifeline out of a dark ppd forest I’ve been lost in for way too long. Thank you!

  55. Jenny Leigh on December 31, 2015 at 4:25 am

    I am LOVING your blog and my first set of Powersheets came ! Oh Happy Day!!! Goal setting had never worked for me…and now I know why….I needed to dig into the hardened soil of my heart before I tried to plant anything! “Try harder sweetie” doesn’t work for a reason. So grateful for your transparency, encouragement and vision!

    • Lara on December 31, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      Amen and I’m so happy you’re here!

  56. Haley on December 31, 2015 at 5:28 am

    Totally need to change how I set my goals. Thanks for your insight!

  57. Katelin on December 31, 2015 at 5:46 am

    Thanks from the bottom of my heart, Lara. God is using you to advance His kingdom!

  58. Sarah on December 31, 2015 at 5:51 am

    This is my favourite series – ever. I love how you open your own heart to show how God has worked your year. 2015 was a year when I went from working two jobs I loved, charity work and a full time masters to being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (ME) and burnout. So your work has been a real blessing. Walking in my illness has been difficult, so difficult every day, but it is proving to be the biggest blessing of all as I have no choice but to depend, and walk in faith, and trust His plan for me (even though it is hard not to feel useless to him). My plans for my growing career, having kids and our travel this year are uncertain but we are trusting in the goodness of His plans this year – regardless of medical costs and other uncertainties. And if it’s His will, I’d love to join you at MTH! Thank you so much Lara, even though you don’t know me I feel as though you’re one of my biggest cheerleaders!

  59. Kristi O on December 31, 2015 at 5:53 am

    I am so motivated by this post! I am working on a list to show gratitude now!

  60. Carrie on December 31, 2015 at 7:16 am

    I am so grateful for you steps! I gathered a group of friends and we are working on our goals for 2016. I found last weeks blog post just in time and we worked through your steps! And shared with one another. We are getting together next week to continue your series! Thank you! thank you!

  61. Laurie on December 31, 2015 at 7:18 am

    This is my first year of goal setting with the power sheets and I am loving the prep work! Thank you so much for sharing your creativity with us! I have encouraged many friends to write out their goals for this year… Dreaming big things for 2016.

  62. P.Jeanne on December 31, 2015 at 10:26 am

    This post is just what I needed!! Striving to be perfect and have everything in its place is a huge downfall for myself. I definitely need to become more messy and trust that I am enough just the way I am. It’s time to focus on the people in my life that make it great and cultivate those friendship into something grand! Thank you for sharing your heart and being so vulnerable…I truly believe you and your powersheets were brought into my life at just the exact moment when I needed them the most <3

  63. Louise on December 31, 2015 at 11:00 am

    LOVE all of these tips! “Stepping into the Imperfect” is a perfect focus for me in 2016!!!

  64. Chelsea Gilliland on December 31, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    My biggest goal for 2016 is to live with intentionality, and these goal setting posts are helping me figure out how to do that. Intentional without striving for perfection. Intentional by His grace. Thank you!

  65. Teri on December 31, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    I am so inspired and encouraged and ready to tackle 2016 on! Thank you for sharing your amazing words!

  66. Victoria Wilson on December 31, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    It’s been SUCH a phenomenal year for you, Lara. I’ve loved following your pregnancy and birth and postpartum time. Thanks for keeping it real for us mamas, and for showing how God works even in the messy and difficult times. Hope your 2016 is fabulous! Make it happen!

  67. heather on December 31, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    The prep work has been amazing! I’m so excited for 2016 with my Power Sheets!!

  68. Katie @ A Place to Dwell on December 31, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Another great and inspiring post, Lara!

    (I hope everyone is feeling lots better today!) 🙂

    I really love these questions you asked…
    Where do you need to let go in life and trust? What does your Messy 2016 look like?

    I can absolutely relate to needing to surrender/give up control. So, I would say that my messy 2016 is also about giving up control. It’s about putting more effort into trusting God, instead of putting effort into trying to make things happen in my own way and time. Even when my efforts are for good things, they are exhausting when they are not lining up with His timing and plan. And when I’m so focused on what I hope will happen TOMORROW, I miss TODAY. 🙂
    So, 2016 finds me looking to make the very most of TODAY, letting God handle the future. It doesn’t mean I will stop praying or hoping for those things I deeply desire (like a Godly marriage and family of my own), but it means I will stop focusing so much on trying to make those things happen in my own way and time. My messy 2016 is looking at my perfectly imperfect current season and calling it GOOD.
    Because it is. 🙂

  69. Michelle Strickland on December 31, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Yes yes yes to tackling comparison! We have similar backgrounds – mine is music education in the band world – and comparison is so natural in what we’ve done. I grew up wondering why I couldn’t be a better player or conductor like THEM. I would doubt my own ability and instead of focusing on what matters, I would drown my emotions on worrying about the success of others. As we go into 2016 tonight, this post could not have been a better jump start. Thank you for your beautiful heart Lara!

  70. Carrie Beth on December 31, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    My Messy 2016 is going to look a whole lot different from past years. I want to learn to give myself permission to let go – of perfection, of busyness, of control, of pride. I will die to self in order to make my relationship with Christ the forefront of my day. I will get rid of excess and learn what it means to be content with less. I will encourage those people in my life that need encouraging. I will ask myself if things (food, stuff, people, etc.) will add to my peace instead of take away from it. (Thanks, Lysa TerKeurst for that thought!)

    There’s a whole lot that didn’t work well for me in 2015. Comparison is huge for me, too. I’ve recently realized how some relational dynamics in my early years have contributed to the thought that I’m not enough. I’ve spend most of my life comparing myself to others – especially other females. This leads to jealousy, discontent, and ungratefulness in my own life. Overcommitting didn’t work for me. I think self-consciously, I was filling my life with “stuff” and people and engagements and commitments to keep myself from focusing on myself and where I need to grow. This busyness also didn’t work for me because it led to wasted time.

    One of the biggest lessons I learned in 2015 was to look to Christ alone for my identity and stop comparing myself to others.

    I’ve had many people help me cultivate what matters – my best friend, my family, several good friends, my community group, my bible study group, and a couple mentors in my life.

    OH – And I just encouraged a friend of mine who’s dealing with anxiety through a text message!

  71. Kristen on December 31, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    So excited for what 2016 holds and looking forward to making things happen!

  72. Kristen on December 31, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    I texted my sister t encourage her!

  73. Bethany on December 31, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    What does your perfectly imperfect “Messy 2016″ look like?
    I will worship God’s sovereignty instead of trying to stay in control–I’m not in control anyway! Instead of being frustrated about my less than ideal circumstances, or dreams delayed, I will steward my time well and embrace the season I am in. I will serve God by serving by husband and family, and by giving my best to them. I will give more of myself –and a joyful spirit– to my church/job, even though it is less than perfect. I will give more grace to others and to myself because of the grace God has shown me, realizing that the mess can be beautiful and good and sanctifying, bringing glory to God. This mess is ordained! My messy 2016 looks like taking every opportunity to pursue my husband and our relationship, and serving him on a practical level as he enters new seasons of student teaching and classes, a summer job, and Lord willing, full-time teaching in the fall. I will accept and embrace the unique work situation I am in with bringing my son with me, knowing that even if it takes 7 hours to complete 4 hours of work, it is ordained, God is good, and it is God’s provision–even if it does not match up with my perfect ideals. Messy is good. My messy 2016 looks like patience and grace with my church–we are not professionals, we are sinners, we are completely imperfect, and that is all apart of the plan. If I want them to love me in my mess, I ought to love them in theirs. My messy 2016 looks like prayer in place of worry or complaining. It looks like simplifying and giving up unrealistic expectations. It looks like being flexible and adaptable as our routines change every 4 months, and as my son grows from an infant into a mobile little boy. It looks like patience and sin-covering love as my husband gets busier and potentially more stressed. It looks like diligence and preparation on my family’s behalf in order to serve them, even when I would rather veg mindlessly on the couch. It looks like starting my day earlier when I would rather sleep in. It looks like embracing weekends–either to spend time together as a family, or to complete household tasks to make a calmer environment for my family. It looks like finding rest and peace in the LORD, not in Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, or Netflix. The Proverbs 31 woman had just as full of a life with caring for her family and home, yet at the end of the day, she was clothed with strength and dignity and could laugh at the days to come. By God’s grace, I will begin to learn how to live like this. My messy 2016 looks like asking for help–from my husband, my family, my friends, my church. It looks like vulnerability and openness, without complaining or bitterness. It looks like taking care of myself physically and spiritually, so I can take care of the people and responsibilities in my life. My messy 2016 looks like continually refocusing the attitudes of my heart for God’s glory and my edification. My messy 2016 looks like giving up the things that distract from my God-given purpose as a wife, mother, and Christian.

    What hasn’t been working in 2015?
    Stress. Worry. Selfishness. Laziness. Wasting time instead of diligently working. Leaving the dishes and laundry undone to pile up. Choosing me over my husband. Comparison. Dwelling on the imperfect. Discontentment with where God has me. Not drinking enough water. Not planning ahead and clearly thinking things through. Not spell-checking. Dissatisfaction with my church. Neglecting friendships. Putting off difficult or scary tasks, even when they would take only 5 minutes to complete! Holding on to physical clutter.

    3 Lessons I learned:
    My life is messy and not always ideal. But every day ordained for me was written in God’s book before one of them ever came to be! Messy can be beautiful if I just embrace it as God’s sovereign, loving plan.
    Trying to do it all on my own is fruitless. I need to ask for help, ask for feedback, and soak in the love and service of others who really are so willing to give it.
    I need to slllooowww downnnn so I can plan better, prepare better, and not stress myself out with double or triple work. By rushing, I make my mind fuzzy and unclear and get significantly less done! I can’t do it all, but what I can do, I can do WELL.

    Who helped you cultivate what matters in 2015?
    Scott. Continually redirecting, refocusing, and loving me through some of the hardest days!
    Taylor. Listening, caring, and lovingly planning my baby shower with Noel. Loving me even when we are in vastly different seasons.
    Jenna. Listening, cheering me on in the hard stuff. Ministering along side me.

    My inspiration board:

    • Jennifer on January 5, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      I love your inspiration board!

      You are so right about trying to do everything on your own. I tried that last year and it did not turn out well. I felt so exhausted and stressed out. This year I am asking for help.

  74. Maria on December 31, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    My word for this year is nourish. I have started the Powersheets before and let it get out of hand- planning too many outlandish goals without thinking about what their actual implementation looks like. I am ready for this year!

  75. Ruth G. Nguyen on December 31, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    One of my biggest lessons of 2015 was the effects of not letting go. I missed out on great opportunities to make friends, memories and most importantly to show love. I know I will never get those moments back but now I’m ready to forgive myself and move into the new year with grace.

  76. Heather on December 31, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Love this and am going to use this to forcefully walk into 2016!

  77. Laura Sue on December 31, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    I love your list of people you’re thankful for. It’s so important to tell people when they’re a blessing to you! Jess Connolly is definitely on my list of “girlfriends who don’t know we’re friends” – ha! I’m thankful for you both for the wisdom, grace, and authenticity you bring to our little online corners of the world. Can’t wait to dive in to my powersheets this year!

  78. Jessica P. on December 31, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    STEP FOUR: What does your perfectly imperfect “Messy 2016″ look like?
    My Messy 2016 will look like a new start. I will be starting my career, my first real actual career. I will start at another college to work towards being CPA eligible in Summer of 2017. My Messy 2016 will require me to be brave in these areas and in other areas of my life. I will be making changes and breaking habits that have been developed and engrained in my over many years of my life. I will be putting experiences before objects and people before things. I will put my core values first and will do what I can to make sure what I do supports those values. I will spend more time with my daughter and my friends and myself. I will go on adventures – with my daughter and by myself – even if they seem scary to do, I’ll do them. I will be thankful for everything that happens. I will be brave. I will take charge of my life.

    STEP FIVE: What hasn’t been working in 2015?
    I spent way too much time in front of the TV – wasting my time, my life, and not using that time wisely – for myself, my family, my schoolwork, making a difference – nothing. Just wasted.
    I lacked motivation on quite a few things and would give them up as soon as I had an excuse to do so. (like eating better and working out – I didn’t see results in a month, so I stopped because it wasn’t working.)
    Pushing myself unnecessarily, I would keep saying yes to anything and everything people asked me to do or if I could do it. I felt obligated to say yes, that I needed to say yes – or it wouldn’t get done and then I’d be suffering. I would spread myself too thin, and even when I knew I was spread too thin – I’d still say yes to anything else asked of me.

    STEP SIX: Who helped you cultivate what matters in 2015?
    Diana Kerr – first and foremost. She hosted a free webinar that I attended and welcomed me as a client of hers. As she is a Christian life coach, I was worried that she wouldn’t accept anyone who wasn’t Christian and was beyond grateful when she said she would. She has done so much for me through our time together. She has helped me find who I am, become a better person, become happier and more stable, and just has done more for me than I ever thought was possible.
    My daughter – as a child, she brings so much innocence to my life. I get to experience things through her eyes as if it was the first time I’ve experienced it. I know what lessons I want her to learn and what I hope she finds important. While, the majority of my self improvement is geared to making me better, it definitely will reflect in how I am as a mother and she deserves the best.

    OPTIONAL* BONUS STEP: Get visual!
    I’m going to pass on this. Not only does Pinterest suck time away from me – but I’m not a very visual person. I’d spend so much time trying to find the “perfect” image, I’d lose focus and wouldn’t ever accomplish it.

  79. Rachel on December 31, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    I encouraged my husband today…the holidays are tough for him.

  80. Hope on December 31, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    So excited for this new year & this giveaway!

  81. Erin on December 31, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    What a great prizes! Thanks for a chance to win!

  82. Teresa Russell on December 31, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    I am so excited I found your blog! This is just what I needed to help me along on my goal setting journey for 2016. Thanks so much for all the resources.

  83. Teresa Russell on December 31, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    I encouraged my daughter in law this morning in her goal setting to get back to running this morning.

  84. Katie Wilkin on December 31, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Today I encouraged a dear friend of mine after a lengthy conversation last night. She is helping me get on track to reach non profit status with my childhood cancer foundation that I have started in honor of my daughter. She too, lost a child a few years ago to stillbirth, and since has started a nonprofit in his honor as well to support other families with the loss of a child. I know she stays so busy, but she selflessly takes time from her day to chat with me. We may live in different states, but I still wanted her to know that I am in awe of what she has accomplished, and although it is extremely hard and tiring work, she is making a difference for so many families. That is priceless.

  85. Beverly V on December 31, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    Beginning is so good. I began working through my PowerSheets Workbook yesterday. Hooray! (I love love LOVE the new layout, Lara! This is a my third set and, now, my favorite. Simple, approachable, and colorful!)

    So… if I stopped the chase, how would my life change?
    I believe that in ending the chase for worldly, worthless, temporal things – my life will be Free, Open, and Focused. Free to Listen and Hear God speaking over, into and through my life. (Just typing that gives my heart peace… what an affirming feeling?!) I will be more open-handed (surrendered) to receiving and trusting God with the outcomes I was so stubbornly trying to control in 2015. I will be better able to focus on what truly matters and less distracted by what doesn’t matter.
    What does my “messy 2016” look like?
    More intentionally balanced. Not a very ‘messy’ visual, but my life was way out of balance in 2015. I want my mess to be a more evenly distributed mess. This looks like me giving my time to intentionally fill many areas of my life that were left empty and untended this year.
    What has not been working in 2015?
    – Running and/or hiding – not facing challenges or fears with God. I could relate to Jonah for much of 2015. I felt a lot of pride, hurt, guilt, and shame leading to the running and hiding.
    – Comparison. I ungratefully compared my current realities to what I believed they “should” be in my mind. This left me discontent, defeated, and utterly disappointed. It distracted me from focusing on God and His goodness that was/is all around me. (Typing this makes me sad. But giving honest words to the hard places in my heart leads to change and that will be good.)
    – Anxiety (fears, doubts, insecurities). Simply put, I allowed my unruly, anxious feelings to be greater than my faith in 2015.
    Lessons from what did not work:
    1. I will choose Faith > my feelings, always. How? Prayer and scripture. I will bring my feelings to God before I respond – not the other way around.
    2. I will choose gratitude focusing on God and His goodness. How? Prayer and being intentionally grateful with lists, conversations, etc.
    3. I will prayerfully and wisely plant and grow good, intentional things in my life. And face the challenges and fears that arise with God’s help. Not focusing on the quick fix or the outcome, but instead giving wise attention to the root intentions, the growth, and the relationship with Him along the way.

    Lara, I love how you write: “We just have to plant good seeds, tend them well, and trust – as hard as it is.” Yes, yes, and YES! As someone who has been outcome-driven, this really spoke to my heart about a better way… finally. To prayerfully and wisely plant good seeds then tend them with care and trust Him for their growth – so good! Grateful for your words.
    These words also got me excited about your next book! I will be prayerful over your book writing time – that God will give you courage and peace in stepping away with Him to write, and give you the words He wants you to share.

  86. Anna Campbell on December 31, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    Thank you for sharing your love with us. Thank you for sharing your time with us.

    This year has been about letting go of dear friends here on earth, missing them dearly and thankful for when we will be together again.

    This year has been about letting go and believing in the impossible. My daughter went off to school TWO years before I ever planned (haha!) on her leaving home. Me going back to school and letting go of every thread of fear that tethers me to my comfy chair.

    This year has been about trusting my husband. Trusting his love. Trusting his patience. Trusting his advice.

    This year has been about getting beyond me. It isn’t about me. It is about God. It is about life. It is about love…

  87. Jenny H on January 1, 2016 at 12:29 am

    Thank you so much for this series. The last two years have been very challenging for me. I’ve decided those were years of pruning and this is the year to bear fruit. My word of the year is Bloom.

  88. Kimberly Zmuda on January 1, 2016 at 12:53 am

    What joy a new year brings! I am so excited for a clean slate and the opportunities that will appear in 2016!

  89. Alyse on January 1, 2016 at 1:52 am

    The only other year I participated in MTH, I lived the best year of my life. So looking forward to heading into 2016 with some amazing lessons learned and new goals set. Thank you for everything, Lara!

  90. Amanda @ Two Blue Pillars on January 1, 2016 at 1:57 am

    Absolutely loving this series, Lara! I stumbled across the recording of your Periscope today and it really uplifted and refreshed me. I was smack-dab in the middle of planning my next semester (which starts MONDAY!) when I gave myself a little break… I didn’t realize it would be a 40 minute break, but it really made my heart so full to take some time and listen to you. You have no idea what impact you’ve made on me, not just in my personal life, but also as a teacher. I’m planning on grabbing a set of Powersheets in the spring so that I can transform not only my personal life, but also my teaching as well. Thank you so much for all that you do!

  91. Alyse on January 1, 2016 at 1:58 am

    Encouraged a dear friend on a recent wedding she photographed. Told her to never doubt how incredibly gifted she is 🙂

  92. Jennifer Wright on January 1, 2016 at 3:08 am

    Lara – I am submerged in my PowerSheets right now and going back through ‘Make It Happen,’ and gathering more inspo from you’re blog. I am SO EXCITED that you’ve decided to homeschool Gracie! I’m getting ready to embark on that journey too. It’s a big part of my PowerSheets. I’m overwhelmed and scared, but reading that you’re on that path is so very encouraging to me! So much love for you!

  93. Christy on January 1, 2016 at 3:14 am

    Just sent a text to a friend who has cheered me on this year. Excited about living intentionally this year!

  94. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on January 1, 2016 at 7:07 am

    Oh my… such juicy questions once again! Here are my answers:

    4) If I stopped the chase, I’d feel more free, more connected (in person, not just online), more present and more loving, both of myself and others. My ‘messy 2016’ looks like reminding myself I don’t need and shouldn’t try to do it all. It’s more full of people and experiences, not things, it’s less type-A and more spontaneous, and I know I still have ambitious goals for myself in all areas of life, but I’ll be more gentle on myself in pursuing them.

    5) What hasn’t worked: Being exposed to a highly toxic people environment with a lack of trust and an abundance of negativity! The anxiety that resulted from this also felt gross, and I let it spill into other areas of my life.

    6) What I learned:
    – It’s up to me to decide who I want to surround myself with every day. (I love the Jim Rohn quote ‘you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with’ and I definitely have room to improve here)
    – I’m a lot more physically and emotionally resilient than I thought
    – I learned the importance of patience in so many ‘life buckets’ and was reminded of the need for patience over and over again.

    7) Who helped: My friends are amazing. I moved across the country this year and both the friends back in my original home and the ones in my new home have been wonderful at helping me settle in and not worry about the loose ends that were left behind. I truly couldn’t ask for more generous, caring people in my life!

    As for the visual bit, I am TOTALLY a visual learner! I’m finishing up my vision board tomorrow (I adore Pinterest but sometimes old school cutting and pasting just feels better!) Your series has definitely got me thinking and adding new pieces to it that I didn’t anticipate before!

  95. Ricci Neefer on January 1, 2016 at 11:34 am

    I am excited to work through this series with you so I can start my new year with purpose and progress!

  96. Sarah on January 1, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you Lara for sharing all of this with us! It’s truly inspiring.

  97. Meg on January 1, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Lara, I can’t thank you enough for all that you do to encourage all of us!!!! Xo

  98. Kay Sharpe on January 1, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    WOW. Just WOW. Where has this been all my life? My friend Amber posted something about goals this morning and that post led me here, and I’m grateful!

  99. Kay Sharpe on January 1, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Encourage someone – I’m about to encourage my entire team; they hit a HUGE goal last month and we’re going to keep the momentum!

  100. chalice howard on January 1, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    what a delightful generous giveaway!

  101. Cora on January 1, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    This coming year I too am looking forward to practicing gratitude. Yesterday I used your printable a to write a note to two people that made 2015 possible for me. I a, grateful that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me enough to give me people who inspire me, spur me on, allow me to develop, and love every step of the way.

    Happy new year!

  102. Holly Mthethwa on January 1, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Love this! Thank you. I’ve been journaling through all of these steps and praying about goals and SOULutions today.

  103. Jessica on January 1, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    War room. Amazing. Set afire the desire to have a more prayerful life and what it can mean for my marriage.

  104. Catherine Marks on January 1, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    I encouraged my husband by making a plan to sit down every New Year’s Day and go through our goals for the new year!

  105. Erin on January 1, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Devine peace this year & the ability to find it in the midst of worldly storms. Thanks for your words of encouragement! I find them sweet as honey in moments of turmoil. Blessings to you this year!

  106. Patty on January 1, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    My word is cultivate this year…and your talk of guarding and planting is really jhelping me pray on my one little word…thank you Lara for sharing your generosity! <3

  107. Jayne on January 1, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    What a great giveaway! Would love to win – some of these books are at the top of my reading wish list!

  108. Paige on January 1, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    love this! Thinking of faith as my word.

  109. Madeline on January 1, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    I am Type A all the way and just the word “messy” sets me on edge. But I think that’s a very telling sign of what I need to do this year to say YES to the MESS! My messy 2016 will be less concerned with my own agenda, allowing more time to celebrate and listen to the people around me. I will lay my pride to rest and embrace mistakes. It will be filled with trust that trumps planning. It looks like growing my lettering business for the purpose of spreading JOY, humbling myself to learn new things about my industry, and finding mentors to teach and challenge me. I will live simply. I will invest in people and experiences, not things. I need LESS of the things.

    Overall, messy 2016 looks like a major shift in priorities. Let’s do it!

  110. Carrie on January 1, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    Profound Kindness – to myself and others- is my focus this year. Thank you for these posts!

  111. Elizabeth on January 1, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Thank you so much for your convicting, inspiring words + pictures of your colorful, creative journaling pages. And for hosting such a huge, fun giveaway! 🙂

  112. Melissa Grimsley Shafer on January 1, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Love the idea of writing who encouraged you and sending them a not!

  113. Jessica on January 2, 2016 at 1:36 am

    I love the idea of writing down WHO helped make 2015 wonderful. It really helped me think about who maybe made 2015 more stressful and less happy, and how much time I should spend with them.

  114. Bex on January 2, 2016 at 5:26 am

    my “Messy 2016” will be the year of letting go. Give up my need for control. I will lay my pride at the foot of the cross, open my ears to hear God’s still small voice for direction. Life is very messy for many reason, and there is a lot that needs to be let go, but I’m getting peace about this “messy 2016”. God has purpose even in my chaos. And Im hoping that when a day turns gray I TRUST GOD & the truth that He will work it ALL OUT FOR GOOD.
    5. My way has definitely NOT been working. My need for control has left my life totally out of control. Comparison has also been a major hindering block in my life that needs to be rolled away. and last worry eats away at my insides. Rooftop Ladies Bible study has made a huge impact on my 2015. Along with my friend Lindsay & her encouragement & reminders. my folks walt & sandie.
    I feel this list is rather short… but I didn’t individually name all bible study ladies.

  115. Charmaine Moore on January 2, 2016 at 6:19 am

    I am really enjoying this process so much! It is working wonders already. Thank you for including real life examples of your PowerSheets, Lara. You are a true inspiration!

  116. Kara-Anne on January 2, 2016 at 10:43 am

    4: My “Messy 2016” looks like being present. It will look like I have faith and trust in God for my past and my future that I will be able to enjoy the present. To enjoy the NOW and what God has provided. It will look like acknowledging my blessings day in and day out and being able to translate these into GRACE for myself and others.

    My “Messy 2016” looks like a picture of freedom. The freedom that Jesus paid for for me. The freedom to love, to be joyful, to celebrate, to breathe, to do the things that light my heart on fire, to show the grace He has shown me, to believe with all my heart that I have a living God.

    My “Messy 2016” looks like hustling. But the GOD way of hustling. Society has made hustling a bad word. My God has placed big dreams and plans for me and I want to hustle to make them happen — but only His plans, not my own. 2016 looks like I will live out my legacy and glorify His name and word through my business. It looks like surrendering MY plans and MY visions for His… Because so often mine are based on pride, fear, approval and comparison. His are everlasting.

    My “Messy 2016” looks like love. It looks like me loving my life and allowing that love to radiate to others. It looks like me loving God with all my heart and enjoying the journey He is taking me on. It looks like me showering love on the husband God has picked out for me, in many little and big ways.

    My “Messy 2016” looks like consulting the Bible for every little, and big thing. It looks like allowing Him to sow seeds and allowing Him to grow them. It looks like leaning in. Letting go.

    5: My quick-to-rise temper. My negative vibes. My jealousy. My gossiping. My worrying. My laziness. My procrastination. My need for perfection. My constant reminders of my failures.

    Jesus paid for it ALL.


    It is okay to be imperfect. It is okay to just start, and DO and launch it to the world. It is God’s will for me to work harder to unleash the greatness within. It is not God’s will for me to distracted by other shiny objects and end up with nothing to show for at the end of the year. God has blessed, and I must water these seeds. I must allow them to grow.

    6: Amber McCue, my coach. She is amazing. Her relentless energy, positivity and care has helped me focus on growing my business.

    My husband, Isaac. His overflowing love and support never fails. His simple, fuss-free approach to life shows me what true faith is.

    Thank you Lara!! Three more parts to go before I’m truly ready for 2016.

  117. Priscila on January 2, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    I went through your posts for the first time last year and it truly changed the way my year went and made me question some really deep, life-changing things.
    Im looking for ward to going through it this year, thinking through 2015 and looking ahead to 2016. Thanks for so generously sharing your process with us.

    • Lara on January 2, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      Yay, Priscila! I’m so grateful it helped. Welcome back!

  118. Christina on January 2, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    My perfectly imperfect 2016:
    GIVING! I want to give up myself in order to give to others. To my new husband, whi deserves a wife who will love him and care for him in all the ways that he needs. To my church, in tithing, but also in time. To others, by giving my time and undivided attention to those that I love and care about, and to anyone I interact with rather than staring down at my phone. To myself, I want to give the gift if unselfishness in any way possible, and I hope that GIVING will help me to retrain my mind and heart on others instead of on myself.

    What didn’t work in 2015:
    Complaining. Idleness. Spending too much time in social media and on my phone in general. To remedy these issues I will dust off my old gr atitude journal and keep it with me AT ALL TIMES. In the moments when I have a hard time feeling grateful, I will search for opportunities to to show love and gratitude. I will keep my hands and mind busy with valuable, life-giving activities and thoughts rather than sitting idly and letting dark thoughts seep in. And most important – I WILL WALK AWAY FROM MY PHONE! I will use it only on week days 8a-8p and restrict use heavily on weekends. When I am with someone, I will PUT MY PHONE DOWN to offer my undivided attention.

    • Lara on January 2, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      Yes yes yes!!! Love all of this!

  119. Sarah on January 2, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Those that have helped shape and change me in 2015 would be our little community! My husband and I have not experienced true, amazing, loving community until 2014, and it has continued to develop roots and trust in 2015. Audrey and her family, as well as Canada and her family have been a huge part of our life. I also have developed a closer relationship with my sister this year and my husband and I have grown closer as well.

  120. Lynn Wigren on January 2, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Learning so much – I love this process!

  121. Rachel on January 2, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    I decided to make a pinterest board also. Here it is: This is also one way to keep myself accountable.

    Step 4: My messy 2016 looks like giving up my up-tightness. I will relax and have fun, enjoy myself more for who I am and meant to be. The up-tightness does not rule me nor does it control me. No one is “out to get” me, I do not have to have my wall of protection up guarding my heart for fear of rejection, dis-likeness, or being alone. I am special. I will communicate – not one of my strong suites but am working on it. I will be better in my messy 2016. Let Go & Let God!

    Step 5: Holding my emotions, not communicating were my biggest hinders of mine in 2015. It made things I did harder than normal. My relationships with family and friends were a lot less rewarding, intimate, and personal. It ruined the trust that my husband had with me. It was bad. Worry was another – I always worry about things in the back of my mind. It gets me into trouble all the time and I never listen or learn from it.

    Step 6: My husband #1! My rock who has been with me for 12 years and counting. He has always guided me, encouraged me, and helped me through things that I thought were impossible (a shoulder to cry on too!). My mother – always been there for me to listen and help in anyway possible even when she couldn’t help. My mom-in-law – OMG! Best MIL ever! So kind, loving, compassionate. She talks with everyone about anything, so wise and grounded in her faith and walk with GOD! My dad – for being there when times were tough and helping me out when needed. Really appreciate it.

    Just wanted to shout out to you Lara for putting this series together. I just now was able to sit down with it and really read through it. So powerful, thank you! I know that this is going to help me really look at myself and who I truly am. No lying for 2016 – change is ready to happen!

  122. Karen on January 2, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Part 2 is great! One thing that didn’t work was finances so my messy 2016 will include a budget to help hold us accountable, we eat out entirely too much!! My messy 2016 will also include more mommy daughter time, I started date nights with my 10 year old and can’t wait to continue that in 2016, along with enjoying the giggles of my 5 year old. My friend Melissa helped me in 2015, she loves The Lord, is funny and positive, Thanks Melissa!

  123. Charmaine on January 3, 2016 at 1:25 am

    My Messy 2016 will be letting go of perfection, failure and fear and embracing trust, hope, pray and inviting God more fully into my life. and really seeking to do not give up and or give in on my dreams. I always start out strong but somewhere along the year I throw in the towel and say why bother – but I think messy for me also means not giving up even when in the mist of mess and doubt. Messy means taking the small steps each day to reach the greater goal.
    And not take myself so seriously- I hope this will help me to bond fully with others.
    I like the idea of writing a list and expressing gratitude- I think this will help me to acknowledge all including those who I might have overlooked. I know for example there are huge players in our life that have granted much to my family- but I look forward to exploring my list more in depth.

  124. Kirstie Sherrow on January 3, 2016 at 1:59 am

    What does your messy 2016 look like: it will look like letting go of a fear of trusting others. to do this I will be trying to learning to trust others.

    What hasn’t worked for you in 2015: what didn’t work for me was not trusting other people because of a fear of being hurt by them

    Who helped you cultivate what mattered most in 2015: my mom was the one that helped me cultivate what matters most.

  125. Caroline on January 3, 2016 at 3:28 am

    My Messy 2016 will look like accepting HELP from my husband every time he offers. It will look like not always having to abide by my schedule. It will look like leaving the house a little messy when I’m exhausted. It will look like bubble baths instead of working in the evenings. It will look like being OKAY with quiet and seeking His presence.

    What didn’t work is that I am constantly comparing myself to EVERYONE else. I will stop judging people in my head and secretly being jealous of them. I will celebrate others genuinely and give thanks for my own blessings that God has bestowed upon me. I must stop comparing myself in every way.

  126. Jen on January 3, 2016 at 5:14 am

    Worry was my #1 thing that didn’t work in 2015 and it led to being unfocused and unproductive. It’s so much wasted energy! This year, I’ll be focusing on Doing More and Worrying Less 🙂

    I’ve been encouraging my friend to work on her art and make awesome paper goods. It’s awesome supporting one another 🙂

  127. Lisa Gilbert on January 3, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Hello again! I’m a few days behind in sharing, but like you’ve said, what’s so magic about January 1st, anyway? 😉

    Step 4: If I stopped chasing “perfect,” how will my life change? I will listen more, slow down, be less PRIDEFUL (gosh, wouldn’t that be wonderful?!), savor all of the good stuff that matters, do more with less, spend more time in the quiet moments that He’s provided me, have less clutter, and find myself back in and involved with a church. That last one is the biggest part for me. I absolutely loved the church I found during college (It was my home church, and the staff and people and community and overall feel of that wonderful space felt like home. It’s where I found Jesus and was baptized, too!), and it’s been really hard for me to find anything that has felt like that perfect of a fit again. I found a church that I enjoyed in grad school, but it wasn’t quite as great as the community I had gotten involved with in college, so it never truly felt like home. Since moving to SC, I’ve felt really separated from the community that results from His presence, and because of this I haven’t tried as hard as I should to find a church. After working all week, I never seem to be able to find the energy to get out of bed on Sunday mornings to go try out a different church. However, if I stopped chasing “perfect” I would be way less exhausted, and not only would I have the energy to go church searching, I would also look forward to doing so again. That makes this a priority for me!
    Step 5: What hasn’t worked in 2015? Not making connections. Isolating myself! As an introvert, it’s really hard for me to go out of my way to meet new people and interject myself into new surroundings. Since moving, I haven’t put myself out there as much. Not talking about my feelings, comparison, and worrying… about everything were also some things that didn’t work so well this year. I’ve also had a lack of faith this year, particularly in His grace. It’s HARD to accept something that you haven’t (and never will) earned.
    Step 6: Who helped cultivate what matters this past year? My mother! Also my Daddy-o. Madeline, Christine, and Mandy, three of my most favorite people from college. Kaitlyn and Elaine and LaFarin and Gabe from grad school. Jay and Rocken here in South Carolina. And last but certainly not least, SAWYER! My adorable and precious pup who makes everything in life seem a bit brighter. 🙂

  128. Katie Wilkin on January 3, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Posting here & on my blog for accountability!

    Step 4
    –My messy 2016 looks a lot less frantic, anxious, and overwhelmed. It will be one full of patience and deep breaths. Less yelling and more loving and understanding. It will be one of more intention as I fiercely go after my goals!

    Step 5
    –What hasn’t been working in 2015? Anxiety and worry over the things I cannot control. Worry and fear that I am failing my family and my friends because I am not the best version of myself. Rushing everything; I need to slow down and enjoy the moments that I am in. Comparison- in my home, personal life, looks, blog, business, nonprofit, marriage. I’m constantly comparing these things to others, and once again, I don’t measure up. It’s time to change that!

    Step 6
    –Who helped me cultivate what matters?
    So many lovely people helped me stay grounded during the worst year of my life. Those same people have also helped me pick up the pieces and begin to build on them! I will thank them by reminding them as often as I can how thankful I am for each of them. By making it a point to spend quality time over coffee, breakfast, etc to chat about everything and anything! I’m blessed with a wonderful group of friends!

  129. Ashley B on January 3, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Thank you once again for sharing your heart. I look forward to the quiet times I carve out to journal and fill myself with the good stuff. This series is so clean, simple, and beautiful alongside the “mess” of life!

  130. Ashley B on January 3, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Oh! And I encouraged a friend today by telling her how she recently helped me without even knowing it!

  131. Cindy on January 3, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    I can feel that 2016 is going to be my year to move forward. I hope I win some of these goodies to inspire me! Thanks so much for such a generous giveaway.

  132. Jacque on January 3, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    I do not want to face it and especially type/write it out. But, what. Is t working is my relationship with my in-laws. It is lacking trust and love, compassion and understanding. It has selfishness mixed in a power struggle. This year I will bathe it in prayer and scripture. I will not force nor pretend everything is okay. I will have patience to work it through. That time and hard work will pay off. I will stand up for myself and I will submit. I will give accordingly and with hold appropriately. I will surrender but will not be walked all over. I will love and be loved. I will raise my boys to love.

    The. Last few years have been lonely living away from community and friendships. But I continue to appreciate Ashlynn for her prayers, communication love and understanding. Erika for reaching out and trying to join our lives even though they are so different. My bus and who is my best friend and wants me to be better and not content with just average. He pushes me to step up and push through things.

  133. Liz on January 3, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Lara, you are one of the people I am grateful for in 2015. Thank you so much for sharing your hard work free of charge with all of us. Reading your blog, especially this series, has been so helpful to me. I’ve found it thought-provoking, encouraging, and meaningful. Most of all you have encouraged me in faith journey..and I am only just at the beginning.

  134. amoryskaggs on January 3, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    I have to really think hard about an intentional way to say thank you but i think sending them these goal setting steps is a good start!

  135. Sarah on January 4, 2016 at 2:12 am

    My word for the year is “consistency.” <3

  136. Jan on January 4, 2016 at 2:32 am

    Saying “yes” to so many things DID NOT work for me. This is my year of aligning my yes’ with what my goals are. Thanks for guiding me with that. I had never thought about that before. Life changing!

  137. Jessica on January 4, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    What worked in 2015?
    Spending time with friends, running, cooking at home + planning meals, mindfulness, feeling more established, gardening, friend visits and travels, time with my husband, a perpetually happy pup

    What didn’t work in 2015?
    not being intentional with my time, putting off simple tasks because they seem too big, clutter, not keeping up with budgeting, not always trusting + waiting in the lord, social media, not being happy with this exact stage in life, no deep resting, letting anger win, worry, anxiousness

    What does your Messy 2016 look like?
    being creative, reading more, organizing, simplifying, letting go of routines, mindfulness, healthy lifestyle as a whole, letting go of control, see the blessings right in front of me, encouraging my husband daily, PRAYER, contentment, waiting, being flexible, rest + peace in the lord, asking for help, being intentional with my time, actions, words, and thoughts

  138. Christina Hubbard on January 4, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    I am so grateful for my fellow MTH ladies. They help me live on purpose and they give me a place where I can go to daily for encouragement, inspiration and support. They make me feel understood and like I’m apart of something special. So thank you to everyone in this community who has made my heart feel so full.

  139. Yvonne on January 4, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Thank you for sharing your heart – it has really touched mine.

  140. Jennifer on January 5, 2016 at 5:36 am

    Today I worked through steps 1-9 of your goal setting series. All of it was so eye-opening and refreshing. I am fired up! All of the steps were so powerful but the ones that most resonated with me today were steps 6 & 7.

    When I think about what worked in 2015, I tend to think about what I did to make those things happen and gloss over what others did to help or support me in those achievements. Pausing to think about who helped made me feel so grateful. The first person I thanked was my husband. I can remember specific things that he did to support my achievements and I thanked him for that. He was surprised by my statement of thanks but felt touched by the gesture.

    Step 7 sounds simple. Read over your progress. That simple task proved to be so powerful. I read over my notes and doodled around words and/or phrases that stuck out to me. This step makes you slow down and get in touch with your thoughts.

    This goal setting series + Powersheets workbook = Powerful tools for creating God-centered, purposeful goals!!!

  141. Annerien on January 5, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Step 4: Stop chasing approval of man, trying to please people. Let God set my standards and listen to His voice – He will prompt me to say the right words, take the right action. I wouldn’t have a fear of man, but a fearless love for man. If I stopped chasing the ‘perfect plan’ I would start taking more action – write that blog, travel, start that business. If I stopped trying to be perfectly selfless I wil rather experience God’s grace for me as well as others, setting them free from my expectations.

    Step 5: What didn’t work? My marriage – feels like I am drowning myself on the inside in disappointments caused by my own expectations. Yet again I have not spent enough time in prayer and in the Word, although being actively involved in home cell and church, I am starving my spirit. I have not reached out to all the people in my life I should be helping, also have not reached out for the right help/accountability. Not doing so many thing I planned to. Being impatient as there is always something else to do or go to. Comparison – what others have achieved in the last 10 years.

    Reasons? The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. He stole my voice and forced me to keep silent – in my marriage, family, others. I need to destroy the fear of man and let fearless love lead and speak. Learn to receive and have grace.
    I am in control of my own time – I need to prioritise and make more time for things of eternal value. Less planning and more doing.
    I had a fear of imperfection and failure – need to realise to do something is better than doing nothing. It’s never to late, and someone else’s journey is not my journey.

    Step 6: Grateful for friends giving me the opportunity to be creative, trusting me to be part of their Wedding planning journey. Grateful for our new small group, having people to encourage and just speak about life and struggles. Grateful for my young married friends, to be able to get together and build each other up. Grateful for friends that believed in me and see a greater potential. Grateful for my husband, always working hard and keeping my dreams in his vision. Grateful for my church family – serving with a bunch of awesome people. Grateful for my parents, always being there with open arms.
    Now to thank each one of them. 🙂
    Will definitely have fun with the bonus step!
    Thanks for all of this so far.

  142. Machelle on January 5, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Loved writing out that list of people. Thinking through purposeful people that pointed to what matters in 2015 made me so thankful!

  143. Kristy on January 5, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    I’ve been sending encouraging texts/letters to members of my team for work when they hit goals or achieve ranks!

  144. Colleen on January 5, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    This looks like just what I need to get 2016 off to a great start!

  145. Caroline (Djursholm, Sweden) on January 5, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Step four: I need to focus on what matters and nurture mine and my closest family’s relationships. I have often said no to playdates and not had enough energy to invite people over for dinner, and that need to change. I want to grow all our relationships even though it means letting go, and getting messy.

    Step five:Not focusing on my health and our relationships. I value both very highly, and need to change my behaviour. Comparison, worry are other things that didn’t work. Surprise!! 🙂 Need to change. Just acknowledging is a good start.

    Step six:
    My husband is always supporting me, as is my parents and my closest friends. My kids give me so much energy, strength and love. A hug or a kiss from any of them (I have three) changes everything. I can go from sad/worried/angry to calm/happy/grateful.

    Thank you Lara for these blogposts!

  146. Megan Lewellen on January 6, 2016 at 2:36 am

    My little girl, Hope is my “why”! I didn’t have much of an example growing up and I want Hope to be able to look at me and see what God can do with an imperfect mama. Thank you for helping me see the beauty in imperfections and getting messy!

  147. Ashley on January 6, 2016 at 3:12 am

    Thank you for always sharing the reality of life!

  148. Joanna Hyatt on January 6, 2016 at 4:55 am

    4. Messy 2016 is literally a home that might be a little messier because every nap time isn’t spent cleaning, but focusing on some other projects or pursuits. And letting go of my expectations for myself regarding work and home and marriage and instead extending myself SO much more grace that simply doing the next thing is better than trying to figure out how to perfectly execute everything.

    5. After having a baby, I’ve found it harder to connect with God, to find moments of quiet and really just be still in them. The times I was petty or selfish with my husband…definitely didn’t work. Struggling with expectations for myself….it’s a constant theme and a constant battle. Yeah, I’m a poster child for first-borns 😉 I wasn’t always present and joyful in each season, instead looking ahead to might be coming.

    6. My Man, My parents, Cate, Brie, Rowena, Ziza, Rae. Love the idea of sending thank you cards!

  149. Kathleen Sullivan on January 6, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    My messy 2016 looks like me letting go of control(I’m type A, haha) and knowing that God has something so. much. cooler. in store. It will look like me completely surrendering my pride, lowering myself for others, not just halfway, but COMPLETELY. It will look like me “saying no” to some things that are less important and won’t matter 40 years down the road. I want to grow in grace!

  150. Casey on January 6, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    I just love all the color on your site, in your photos, etc, it’s so cheerful. And you have lovely handwriting.

  151. Steph on January 6, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    My messy 2016 looks like this- dance parties, cuddles and cartoons, dreaming and taking action on what I feel god leading me to- a Christian theatre group for kids, stressing less about my houses inside and more about the people who live here’s insides, hours of prayer in my war room, weekends at our favorite museums, playing in the mud and grass…

  152. Lauren S on January 6, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Thank you so much for this series! Working through it is such a blessing

  153. Lauren S on January 6, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    I texted my friend discussing/encouraging her about some exams for her job that she is (understandably!) putting off

  154. Jenny on January 8, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    I would love it if you did a blog post about how you set up your actual garden! Beautiful gardening pictures, love it!

    • Lara on January 8, 2016 at 6:48 pm

      Yes, I will do a Periscope about this in the spring! : )

  155. Megan Lewellen on January 8, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    4) My Messy 2016 will be a whole lot of fun filled quality time with Hope, growing my community, seeking God, simplifying life to concentrate on what matters most
    5)WORRY!!!!! Stole my joy and took over my brain almost the whole year. I wanted control of my life, and couldn’t let it be.
    6) My boyfriend John encourages me more than anyone else! My step-mom Joanna, my mom, my dad, my boss who pushed me to go to church!

  156. Luisa on January 9, 2016 at 1:36 am

    A little late on this one but I LOVE the idea of thanking those who help you cultive what matters. Working on my list and sending thank you notes tomorrow. I am so excited!

  157. EK on January 9, 2016 at 4:30 am

    4) Messy 2016 looks like creating more margin in my life so I can invest in and receive deep community!
    5) lack of energy and work overload, which leads my natural-introvert to not seek out community
    6) My husband – always encouraging me to allow grace for myself as well as others

  158. Kaitlin on January 9, 2016 at 5:44 am

    This is really good but also convicting. It gets to the core of the real matter which is a matter of the heart. It’s also encouraging to know that I am not alone in my struggles. My messy 2016 is about giving up control in order to fully surrender to God’s will and perfect plan.

  159. Samantha Hobbs on January 10, 2016 at 12:10 am

    Laura, I am so glad that you created the powersheets . I’m very excited to use them because I have been wanting a better way to get my thoughts organized and create a true plan to accomplish my goals . God bless you !

  160. Lori on January 10, 2016 at 2:19 am

    I am absolutely in LOVE with your Goal Setting series! Thank you!!

  161. Bailey Robert on January 10, 2016 at 4:39 am

    Yes, yes, yes!

    Step 4: What does your perfectly imperfect “Messy 2016″ look like? // It looks like a whole lot of GRACE! Getting messy in my Bible, in my prayers, in my small groups, and daring to make a mess when it comes to making what matters happen. Progress not perfection.

    Step 5: What hasn’t been working in 2015? // Excuses for not working out, procrastination, emotional eating, over spending, comparison, not following through with responsibilities, pretending to have it all together when I definitely don’t.

    Step 6: Who helped you cultivate what matters in 2015? // My parents, the Mastermind blogging group, Insta community, my Delight ministries gals, and the Influence Network!

  162. Amber on January 12, 2016 at 3:17 am

    I loved that what didn’t work and the lessons I’ve learned from that was coupled with what did work. It really helped me power through this step. I wasn’t discouraged or overwhelmed by all the disappointments from last year.

  163. Amber on January 12, 2016 at 3:33 am

    My goals are 1) to cultivate new friendships and connect with people face to face (sometimes can be difficult when you work from home and a mother of 2!); 2) spend time in the word and in prayer daily; 3) intentional family time.

  164. BriAnne on January 12, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    I LOVED your section on comparisons. That is something that I really struggle with that is slowly killing my spirit. Even my boyfriend has noticed that it is doing me no good. Thanks for this!

  165. Lauren Santoro on January 12, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    Thanks for the help and direction, Lara Casey! It’s so appreciated.

  166. Jenna Gilbreath on January 13, 2016 at 3:36 am

    Step 4 – My Messy 2016 looks like something like taking a risky leap of faith and praying not to look back! I’m resigning from a job in order to trust God’s timing for something better. I currently don’t have a new job solidified. So my messy 2016 could look like a lot of Ramen Noodles, but I’m ready to take a leap of faith, resign and Make It (my dream of a small business) Happen! Small business start-ups are full of messy!

    Step 5 – Definitely making my job and my pressure of perfectionism in it a huge false idol! It consumed my every day and ate my healthy priorities for lunch! I was a work-aholic and I didn’t really see another option. I let my assumptions of what others thought of me guide how I felt about myself.

    Step 6 – Hands down, my husband and closest friends and family. I found myself apologizing to a lot of people that I pushed aside in order to meet demands of work. Each one of them forgave me within seconds and rejoiced with me for finding peace and joy. I’m so grateful and humbled for their patience and kindness during the past two years!

  167. Laura on January 13, 2016 at 5:20 am

    I have a few employees having a hard time during the holidays. I’ve tried to check in with them each day to see how their heart was and offer encouragement and support.

  168. Mary on January 13, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Love your blog! So glad I found it!!

  169. Janet K on January 13, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    ok so to encourage someone, I linked up my post to on her encouragement link up. Then I went to Jennifer’s blog that was linked up on her One Word “relinquish”. Then I left an encouraging comment on her blog. I love encouraging people. It was my One Word for 2015.

    • Lara on January 14, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      Love it, Janet!

  170. Kameya Shows-Ciers on January 13, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    Step 4: My messy, would be a lovely mix of all the things that fulfill my family and my purpose . It would be days at the local museum. Playing with sand in the kitchen ( the kinetic kind.),maybe baby no. 2, my app idea launch and taking off with a million downloads. My husband getting a promotion. My mom and dad moving closer to us to help with the new baby.

    Step 5: Being controlling, criticizing my husband and other. Doubting myself. Control has been an unrealistic way to deal with my fears, which makes everything terrible.

    Step 6: I am blessed to have a good support system. Some of the folks that cultivate me include: Angie, Shawn, Carmen, Mommy, Katie, Markeisha, Jocelyn, Jan, Stuart, Mary.

  171. Terri on January 14, 2016 at 1:55 am

    Step 4: My Messy 2016 is letting go of pride, control and comparison! Just letting go of the reigns I try to hold on to so desperately.

    Step 5: What didn’t work? So much of step 4 hindered me from anything working.

    Step 6: My family is awesome! Even through the “mess” they loved me through. In 2016 I’m vowing to lean on them more and allow God to work through the rest.

  172. Lizzy on January 14, 2016 at 4:59 am

    Growth and learning form it every step of the way have been the biggest challenges/motivators/saviors leading to a more fulfilling life 🙂

  173. Margaret on January 14, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    2015 was pretty messy, I was chasing perfection trying to work full time, go to school, and take care of my relationships. 2016 is going to be planting seeds and then letting it go as you say, instead of sitting by the window every minute asking for the plants to grow. This year I am letting go of relationships that don’t work, spending more alone time with God, and taking a step back and re-evaluating when something is not working, instead of just trying harder.

  174. Kaylie B. Poplin on February 5, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Your transparency is melting my heart! Thank you!

Leave a Comment