Dec 26, 2022

2023 Goal Setting: Looking Forward

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“Sometimes when you are in a dark place, you think you have been buried, but actually you have been planted.” – Christine Caine

Consider me nestled into some lively soil, friends. Do I know exactly what will grow ahead? No. But I trust it will be good. From all I experienced in 2022, I have faith. I learned and feel like I’m just getting started! Plus, I know the end of this story, and it’s a great one.

Welcome back for Part 2 of my 2023 Goal Setting Series. In part one, we looked back. In Part two, we’re looking forward!

Looking ahead is a different experience now than in years past. Usually, I’d be thinking of the new products, plans, and fun we’d have as a team in the year ahead. That was my rhythm for 15+ years, so it’s a hard one to break. I told Ari last night that I have a consistent feeling of something missing. It’s not the goals or the strategic planning or the products, though; it’s the people. I miss coming together to do something good in the big picture.

I can’t count the number of times friends have asked me “what I’m doing next” or what project or business I have in mind. “What’s your next move?” they ask.

Learning. Growing. Listening.
This is my next move.
Loving our kids and Ari.
Loving my Mom in this new season.
Knowing there are still things missing and uncharted about the future, but trusting I’m where I’m supposed to be for this moment.

As much as I miss coming together for a common goal, I haven’t lost those relationships, just how they are experienced. I believe this longing will continue to lead me in His direction. This sense of something missing also shows me I had something worth celebrating. It’s nearly impossible to think of any other “next move” because I already did the things I’ve always wanted to do with the best team in the world. Cultivate was my dream come true a million times over. I got to help people live out what matters. I got to make beautiful meaningful things. I got to work with incredible women I admire, who grew and shaped my character. I got to make mistakes and learn from them. I got to see God at work. It was the journey of a lifetime. I didn’t deserve the journey, but He let me take it, and for that, I am profoundly grateful. I miss it every day, and this is where God has me now.

A next move? It has already been made for me.

My steps ahead will be small and, Lord willing, faithful.

I hope to experience a season of spiritual maturation, margin, connection, health, learning, and new creativity. I’m choosing new rhythms that help our family grow in faith together—and fill my tank so I can fill others. I will, with God’s wisdom, learn ways to slow down (I’ve packed so much into life over the last two decades!) instead of constantly doing, doing, doing. Most of all, I want to live gratefully right here. I learned this year that we don’t know how much time we have with the people in front of us. Quite simply, I want to be present. I want to see what’s mine to do and experience with God in each moment and do it—and see what’s mine not to do, too.

Going through the new PowerSheets process was eye-opening. It’s interesting to think back on the day Emily and I started writing these 2023 PowerSheets, not knowing where life would be when we filled them out ourselves at the end of the year. The changes we made this year were my favorite in all our years doing this!

The biggest benefit of the PowerSheets process, in my opinion, is to see and name reality. When you acknowledge your reality, you can do something about it. Otherwise, you expend energy in denial or distractions. I think we all know the feeling of veering in the wrong direction. It’s work to name reality and write it down in black and white (or pink or teal or green!), but it feels renewing to complete.

I had a colonoscopy two days before Christmas (stay with me here!). We have a family history of colon cancer, so I was grateful to get this done. More than ever this year, I was grateful for the gift of even being able to have this test in the first place. The nurses kept saying things like, “I know this isn’t pleasant…” but I couldn’t help but tell them I was grateful to get to do it, and I had zero complaints. My great-grandmother didn’t have the luxury of getting a colonoscopy that could have saved her life. It felt like my best Christmas gift to get this test. Perhaps it was my attitude about it in general, but it wasn’t as unpleasant as people have said, and the fasting was a pause to sit with my PowerSheets and think. I thought about the realities in our lives—and the many blessings in disguise this year. I thought about Dad. I thought about our kids and all I still want to teach them. I thought about God and my need for Him. I felt some fear about going into this test, knowing our family history and many friends who have found colon cancer too late. When they woke me up after the anesthesia, the doctor came in to tell me the results and… I didn’t have cancer. I burst into tears. He did too. He could see my relief, and perhaps my gratitude touched his life somewhere he needed it, too. I was grateful to simply be alive and, by the grace of God, get another chance to love people in this new season of life. I don’t know what will come our way this year, but I know I am grateful to be here right now.

My reality:
This last year was hard.
Good things grow out of hard things, though. Break out the trellis, there’s growth ahead!
As much as I wasn’t expecting it, this last year took me in a new direction.
In it all, I grew a desire for spiritual maturity.
I saw the genuine steadfast love of the Lord.
I saw the love of many friends.
I saw what matters.
My reality now is that I’m ready for the new year, and that surprises me.
I’m ready to leave this year in the dirt to become rich soil for the future.
I am alive! I know this life is a gift, and I want to LIVE it right here, little by little, one small faithful step at a time.

Life is so different in so many ways than it was just recently. I’m still trying to figure it out. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m grateful to be here. I felt weighed down when I first opened my PowerSheets, not wanting to look back and reflect. I didn’t know if I could do it. I’m thankful for what I learned in this process and for the hope I feel as we turn the page to a new year. To use my Dad’s favorite words, “Bye, bye, blues!” 🙂

Up next… my 6 goals and my 2023 vision board!

Your turn! What are you looking forward to in the year ahead? What’s on your mind for 2023? I’d love to hear.

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  1. Petra on December 27, 2022 at 9:34 am

    Lara, you are inspiring. Thank you for sharing so personally in your recent blogs, and for allowing God to use you and shine His light even in the both/and times of lament. Thankful for your continued legacy and this blog! Love to you & your family.

    • Lara on December 27, 2022 at 3:14 pm

      I’m grateful you’ve been encouraged, Petra. Love to you and your family, too!

  2. Joy on December 27, 2022 at 8:13 pm

    It’s so lovely to have you sharing here, Lara. I love reading about your thoughts for this year. The Lord never wastes anything and I’m sure He has a wonderful plan for you and your family.

    I’m working on a book and hoping to get the book proposal written in 2023. I’m continuing work on my health this—lose the last 5 lbs to reach my goal, work on strength exercises, and make checkup appointments. I really want to add sewing back into my life this year and am still thinking about what that might look like.

  3. Emily on December 28, 2022 at 3:28 pm

    This is beautiful, Lara. Such rich reflections as you walk your way through a challenging season. He is so good in you!

  4. Emily on December 29, 2022 at 4:37 pm

    For 2023, I feel the urge to really focus on three things: my relationship with God, home, and my health. I mean I’m always thinking about my health in some way or another, but I want to kick it up a notch. Like you I want to be strong! Peloton has been a life changer for me in that regard. After working on my writing and my book it eel like focusing on “micro” (as my dd would say!) things are small, but I think that’s where I really need to focus. I want to be intentional with my relationships, my health, and my environment this year.

  5. Lynn Cooper on January 1, 2023 at 3:59 pm

    I love reading your thoughts in processing your last year. 2018 was a similar year for me – the loss of a loved one on top of a move across the country. It’s tender and hard but the sweetness of the Lord shines through.

    I am looking towards another transition year – my youngest finishing preschool and starting kindergarten and me possibly looking for a job. But all God willing! Love reading about your goals – it’s inspiring and encouraging!

  6. Julie on January 9, 2023 at 9:04 pm

    I’m so grateful to read your words (and maybe hear your laugh as I read it). Last year was hard for my family as well; losing my father-in-law Christmas morning. But I agree with you, good things certainly grow from trials! I’ve been studying the book of James this past month and references to it seem to be popping up everywhere—I always love how God does that! I too am focusing in on spiritual maturity and learning to really study what I’m reading. Who knew word studies could be so much fun! Steadfastness is the word that keeps coming to mind as I word through my prep work.

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