I want to share how I think goal setting with God can bless us as mothers. I’ve talked before about being led by God in goal setting as it relates to helping our children progress. But today I want to share an experience I’ve had in setting goals alongside God. My goals are often abstract. Whether your goals are specific and written out or more abstract, I hope this helps you.
Also, I’m releasing the first foundational principle, “My Body is a Gift from God Just for Me,” in our Preschool Family Lesson Series soon! You can see a sneak peek on Instagram.
An Experience with God
I’m not exactly a scheduled person but this fall we settled into a rhythm that was working really well for us: Mondays for free play, Tuesdays for our Preschool Family Lesson, Wednesdays for a park day, Thursdays for baking, and Fridays for our Kid Family Lesson. It worked really well for us, but I worried about what would happen as the weather got cooler. I knew that we would have to be outside this year. We’ve talked a bit on here about this pandemic winter, and I knew one of our strategies would need to be going outside when it was cold.
I hate cold. And I’m a homebody. I would much rather invite friends over to our house to play than pack up all my kids and go to the park, or the zoo, or the nature center. And when it’s cold? I’ll often stay in the house for days on end. But, I do go stir crazy after about a week.
The weather cooled, and I wondered how long I would be able to encourage myself to keep our park day. I’ve learned enough about myself by this point in my motherhood, to know that my mental health would really appreciate keeping the park day all winter long. But I thought maybe I would plan for the best weather days, move our schedule around.
That’s when the miracle came. I am confident that I have loving parents in Heaven who want me to succeed.
Three weeks in a row, the best weather of the week was on Wednesday.
After that third week, I knew. I knew this was something God wanted me to do for my family. For myself. We needed to commit to this weekly park day. And so we have.
This story illustrates something I’ve learned about goal setting with God. Sometimes when God really wants us to do something . . . He makes it easy for us, at first. He helps us so much that it requires very little commitment, just our ability to trust Him. I saw this happen in my life this year. I had started all these projects: homeschooling my kids, personal study time, writing this blog, and creating our Becoming guide (which has morphed into our Family Lesson Series).
And last Christmas I picked up watercolor and did a few paintings for friends and relations. It was a lot. I felt I should cut back. But God encouraged me to keep pursuing it. But how could I possibly do it all and still take care of my family? I wondered. But it worked. One morning I woke up with only two hours to paint a picture I had been planning. It needed to be delivered that day. It wasn’t started. And somehow, a few hours later, it was done. It went flawlessly, and I just knew God was helping me do what He needed me to do.
So I kept pursuing all these interests, goals, plans, dreams, and ideas, as I felt He was leading me. But lately, getting those pictures painted has been HARD. I was not able to finish a painting I had planned to do for Christmas. It just didn’t happen. And I wondered why He didn’t help me like He did before. Was I doing the wrong thing now?
No. I’ve experienced this before, but this is the first time I am able to articulate it. And it’s because of the Wednesday park day. God knew me better than I knew myself at that time. My kids were so relieved yesterday when I told them we were going to the park. They were so happy to have something normal after the holiday craze (when I basically let our entire schedule disappear).
And I can see now that God knew that we needed the emotional and mental stability of our weekly schedule and our commitment to getting outside every week. And I know that the cold weather could have stopped me again and again. But it isn’t. Because of Him.
Doing the Hard Work of Goal Setting
On Tuesday night my husband told me Wednesday was not a good park day. But I said, “If I don’t go, I will fail. I will have stopped this Wednesday park day that God gave me for my sanity, for the good of our family happiness, for normalcy, for predictability, for so much that I can’t describe.”
Yesterday we went to the park. It was not a good weather day. It rained. It was cold. There was wet sand everywhere.
I know myself. If I failed to take advantage of the park day yesterday, it would have all crumbled to the dust. It would have been lost. In the fall, I couldn’t see what a blessing it would be, how much I needed to commit to it, so God made it easy on me.
Yesterday as I was driving in the car I remembered those three warm Wednesdays that came right when I needed them. At the time, I had wondered how many weeks the miracle would last.
And now I know, it lasted just long enough to give me the motivation I needed. When goal setting with God, I’m trying to remember that while He often helps me, hard work is also necessary.
As for that painting? I think I’ll do the hard work on it, too.