So, we’ve all agreed that we need to bring some order to our lives. We’ve realized that we’re overextended and living in chaos. So far on our journey, we’ve explored the necessity of bringing God alongside us in our quest for change, and we’ve explored the meaning of godly priorities. God comes first, followed by our spouses, our children, then church/ministry, and finally everything else.
Next on the checklist for organizing our lives is to discover our goals and motivations. What is it that we want out of our lives? How do we really prioritize every aspect of our lives, every baseball game, church social, and TV show?
Before we can flesh out our schedules and decide if they are in line with our priorities, we have to know why we do what we do and what will decide how we change.
Goals are essential to providing us with a visual of our endgame. They give us direction, a road-map if you will. Goals, detailed goals, will help us to find our way when we get off track. Over the years, I’m sure we’ve all read many posts on goal-setting and SMART goals. If you’re unfamiliar with SMART goals, SMART stands for:
We should take the time to set goals for all areas of our lives: Bible, Marriage, Family, Ministry, and Work. This will gives us a clear view of where we need to go.
When setting these goals, we need to consider our godly priorities. These will be the basis of our motivations. Why do I want to lose weight? Is it so I will look better in my clothes. Sure, that might be one reason, but will that really make us happy? Will that have a lasting effect on us? No. However, if we say we want to lose weight so that we are better able to run around with our kids or so that we have more energy for such and such ministry opportunity that we love, what more encouragement does that offer?
Motivation is very important and often overlooked in the goal-setting process.
We can say we want to do this or that. We can even set it up with measurable parameters to be met by a certain time, but without a motivation to actually do it, what good is a goal?
Colossians 3:23 tells us that in everything, we should work with all our heart as if working for God. This is our most important motivation. Everything we do should bring glory to God–maybe not the kind of glory that everyone sees on the outside, but even in private, it should please the Lord. We give our all in everything because that’s what God did for us.
But sometimes that motivation is too abstract, and we need something more finite, more tangible. So, we find the other motivations in our families, friends, and even in little rewards. Give yourself a good reason for accomplishing any goal.
Why is it important to clean the house? What benefits do you get from waking up at 5:30 in the morning? How do you justify reading with each kid for 20 minutes a day?
Sometimes, you’ll realize in looking for motivation, that there really is none. Sometimes, we think we have to do something, or we’re supposed to do it because everyone else does, but when we look at our lives, our priorities, and our goals/motivations, we realize that it isn’t as important as we thought.
For instance, up until recently, I’ve felt bad that I haven’t yet got my 7- and 6-year-old daughters in some sort of sport. Is exercise important? Absolutely! But when I measured up some of our other goals and priorities, I realized a couple of things. The girls get plenty of exercise–they are outside, running around, all day. They get socialization and lessons in teamwork from some of our other activities like homeschool co-op and American Heritage Girls. They aren’t particularly interested in sports and prefer stuff like art and drama. So, would getting involved in sports benefit our family? Not really.
Watch for conflicts in your life between goals and motivations/priorities.
You can smooth out your schedule more if you learn that sometimes life is smoother when things are simpler. We have a saying in the fiction-writing world: if a scene only serves one purpose, then it needs to be cut or combined with another scene so that a scene serves more than one purpose and is free of useless drivel. Same goes for life. Sports may provide exercise and teamwork, but if we’re getting the same thing elsewhere, why add to the craziness of life with practice and game schedules. Now, if we throw in a passion for a particular sport, that might change things.
Now, we’ve got our priorities straight, explored our goals, and discovered our motivation for doing the things we do. Next time, we’ll finally get to laying out our schedules and organizing our lives. Until then, continue to lift one another up in prayer, coming together to unite in the necessary changes for a less chaotic life.