Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Goals for 2011

I'm a big believer in goals.  I have always felt that if you set goals for yourself, you will be motivated to try and accomplish them.  Of course, I am also a big believer in Jesus, so I also believe that our plans succeed only in the might and power and will of the Lord.  Proverbs 16:3 says:  "Commit to the LORD whatever you do and your plans will succeed."  So, at the end of each year, I seek the Lord's will as I set goals for the upcoming year.  When I led the women's ministry at church, I would also seek God's will for ministry goals.  Each year, God would give me some word or verse and we would base our ministry vision on that goal.  This year, Brian and I have set some goals for our family, and I have set some personal goals.  All of these are God-honoring, so I am praying that God will enable us to achieve them.

First, we intend to get out of debt.  In a previous post, I mentioned that we had gone through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, and that our savings were getting us through the lean times of Brian's lay-off.  When Brian's former employer cut his salary at the end of 2009, we were in the midst of paying off debt.  In FPU terms, we were in the midst of the "debt snowball".  I don't mind telling you that in the first five weeks of the program that we paid off over $9,000.00.  Really. Granted, Brian was making good money and we got a tax refund in that period of time.  That was in Feb./March of 2009.  We continued to pay off debt and sold an rv, so things were looking good.  Our 'debt snowball' was interrupted, though, so we still have work to do.  We squirreled away money in our savings, and we needed it these last few months.  So for 2011, we are extremely motivated to finish what we started last year.  To that end, when Brian got his severance money from his former employer (finally) a few weeks ago, we paid off a small signature loan.  We did not put it on costly Christmas gifts.  As a matter of fact, we paid cash for our Christmas gifts, and we bought fewer.  Christmas isn't about stuff anyway.  Jesus Himself argues against the accumulation of material things in Matthew 6:19-21:  "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be, also."

Second, we intend to build our savings back up.  In the explanation above, it should be obvious why we need to build our savings up. We used it!  This is where we will have to lean heavily on God.  It will be by His power and generosity that we will do this.

Third, I intend to get a full-time job.  Every time I mention this to my friends, they ask if I dislike subbing.  It's not that I dislike subbing.  Subbing is a part-time job.  I am not always able to take the jobs that are offered.  Sometimes the distance is too far, or the job is something I am not able to do.  There are no benefits for subs, and the pay is not great.  Since Brian is working again--and going in earlier--I am getting the kids to school.  In order to sub in elementary, I have to be there by 7:35, which is tough.  Obviously, I like pre-arranged jobs.  I know where I am going ahead of time, and I can prepare the kids in advance.  However, frequently jobs are offered in the early morning, and I have to be ready to go.  So, for the sake of my sanity and for my family's sake, I need a consistent, full-time job with benefits.  I'll continue to sub, God willing, for the remainder of the school year (while keeping my eyes peeled for long-term sub jobs or full-time aide positions beginning in February).  I am praying that God will give me a permanent position for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year, preferably as a full-time special education teacher.

Fourth, but more immediately, I intend to finish my teacher certification classes.  My classes resume next week, and I will finish (again, God willing) in February.  I will be taking my special education certification test in February.  Hopefully, I'll pass!

Fifth, and maybe hardest of all, I will work toward grace and forgiveness towards those who have disappointed and hurt me.  I don't mean for that to sound exploitative or self-serving.  Honestly, I have some spiritual work to do.  I've got to get some things right in my own heart, and I really, really need the Lord's help with this.  I honestly don't think I bear unforgiveness in my heart towards Brian's former employer.  Brian and I plan to write about some of the stuff that we've endured, only because we've learned that we are not unique.  More and more, companies are struggling and leaving a mess in their wake.  We've learned some things that may be of use to lots of people.  We don't want anyone else to experience the things that we have and that we know others have.  People have shared some of the most heart-breaking stories with us.  We want others to learn from our mistakes and experiences, not repeat them. 

Who or what do I need to forgive?  Well, that's tough.  I haven't really wanted to talk much about this, even though I have been hurting.  The thing is, there are so many other people who are struggling with real dilemmas.  I have a friend in Kenya who is a missionary.  Her landlord is threatening to evict her, and she had to send the orphans that she has been caring for to another children's home.  It broke her heart to do it, and she is still in danger of losing her home.  That's something real and tangible that she is struggling with (You can help Cheryl by visiting her website and donating here  So my petty concerns seem well, petty.  I just want to live peacably with others.  I want to see the Lord made famous in my life, my church, and my community.  There are so many who are suffering and struggling, and I hate to see disunity in the fellowship of believers that I belong to.  If you go to church with me, yes, I am struggling with the work that I did on the Bylaws Team and the fact that the church did not approve our work.  If you don't go to church with me, then I think you can understand how hard it is to be disappointed by people that you love and trust.  The best way that I can explain the circumstances is to use an analogy:  Imagine that you are given a task to perform by the operating board of your employer.  At first you are hesitant, because it seems like an unnecessary task.  The more you explore and research your task; however, the more you see the necessity of it.  So, for two years, you work and work on the task.  Then, as the time draws near to present your findings to the company, you find out that some of your colleagues are meeting in secret to sabotage the work you have been doing.  You try to reason with them, and find that they are determined to work against you and that they are pulling in other members of the company to help them in this task.  Worse still, you find that one of the members of the operating board have been calling employees to tell them that the work you are doing is wrong, and that they should vote against it.  How would you feel?  Betrayed, right?  Hurt, possibly?  Angry?  Check, check, and check.

The fact that it is not a business, but a church compounds my hurt and disappointment.  The fact that the folks who met in 'secret' aren't really a secret to me is hard.  The fact that I am commanded to love and forgive is not lost on me.  I know I have to, so from this point forward, I will work towards love and forgiveness.  How will I do it?  I have no idea, but God is good and He will show me how.  I have a few other goals for 2011, but it seems like these five are at the top of my list.  Number five is important to me, and if you are struggling spiritually with unforgiveness, then perhaps you will join me in overcoming it.  At any rate, this year--as in all the years that have come before--my goals are placed before the Lord, for His will to be done.

Many blessings,


No comments:

Post a Comment