1st Quarter Review

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“Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3
I thought I’d do a quarterly update.  In December I mapped out my goals for 2018.  My one word for this year is Commitment.  My verse is Proverbs 16:3.
My goals for the year are:
Spiritual:  Praying over my calendar on Monday mornings.  Finding and completing a domestic mission trip.
Physical:  Continue my two classes a week minimum.  Increase cardio workout to 5-6 times a week.
Financial:  Coming in on budget personally each month.
Writing:   Write a blog weekly
So far so good.  Or even better, as Mark Batterson likes to say, “So far so God.”
I have to admit, reviewing my goals reminded me about the domestic mission trip. I thought I had it covered. I was going to do one  in West Virginia.  However the dates don’t work.  At this point I still need to work on finding one.
Praying over my calendar has  impacted my life the most. It has helped me not only live up to my commitments, but give them my best. It didn’t take long for God to reveal to me I was overbooked.  This began an avid conversation with Him.  I knew I had to give some things up. I didn’t know what.
I am volunteer staff for my church. I run two small businesses.  I love all three of these things, each for different reasons.  When working in balance, they balance me.  When I’m doing one job, it gives me a break from the others.  I need the diversity.  It helps me get my mind off of one thing, focus on another.  When I come back to the first one, I’m fresher, think clearer, can have fresh eyes.  It’s how God designed me.
I didn’t want to give any of them up.  Which was the first question I asked Him…what do I give up?
Over and over again the answer was nothing.
Now what?  I became so frustrated.  I was so tired.  I was dropping into bed at night exhausted.  I was walking through my days like a zombie.
In addition to my work, I have been achieving my physical goals.  I’m doing yoga three times a week regularly, again life changing.  I’m doing cardio 5-6 times a week, can’t wait for warm weather so I can move it outside.  The treadmill isn’t very motivating to me.  Although yesterday I utilized the time planning for my tennis class. I found it inspiring.
I have been writing my blog once a week.  I have come in on budget for the first two months.  If I’m completely honest, I’ve pushed it to the last dime, but it is still on budget.
Re-evaluating my calendar has made all of the above possible.  It revolutionized my life.
The area I had to cut back the most in was my position on staff.  I had taken on way too much work.  I found saying no to God was harder than saying no to actual money.  It peaked one day when even more was being asked of me than I was already doing.  It was a pivotal moment in my 2018.
As a result, I spent the next five days truly evaluating all I was doing.  I started by analyzing my job description for church, which quickly showed me how much additional work I had accepted. No one’s fault by mine.  I looked at my teaching schedule for tennis. I sat down with my partner and we outlined our classes for the entire year.  I added in the hours I spend dog walking.
This was the most fun part.  I took a blank calendar for 2018. I added all of the things I was required to do.  There is a weekly church meeting I’m required to attend.  I plugged in the hours I dog walk every day.  I added in our class schedule for teaching tennis.  Then I plugged in my yoga classes and anything else I personally wanted to do each week.
It was eye opening.   There was literally only one day I didn’t have something plugged into my calendar.  I was booked before I added anything else.
It was time to seek wise counsel.
I sat down with my husband and a trusted friend.  I showed them my calendar.  I asked them to be honest with me, to speak truth into my life.  I asked them to show me how I could find balance?
After a long discussion, some hard truths, I created black out times.  I literally blacked the times out on my calendar.  One for me personally to have time to myself.  One for my family, designated as time with them.  I have a new rule in place.  No work of any kind during those times.  It is the only way I can remain sane, keep doing all of the things I love.  More importantly, it is how I can give my best to those around me.
It has been challenging.  As a result I have had to say no.  At first, it was really hard.  I had to make some difficult boundaries.  I’m better at it now, I’m learning to say no.  I have been able to schedule jobs into my open time slots.  I’ve honored my black out times.
It has changed my life.  I’m not exhausted.  I’m not walking around like a zombie from one meeting to the next.  I’m more present in my relationships.  I’m saying no to things so I can give my best yes.  I’m enjoying my time off.  I’m relaxing, I’m refreshing, I’m renewing each week.
Praying over my calendar, in the first quarter has brought balance into my life.  God has taught me so much through this one exercise. I’m not going to finish 2018 like I did 2017…tired, exhausted and ready to quit.  God has re-vamped my life by this one goal: praying over my calendar on Monday mornings!
How is your first quarter going?  Do you need a reminder of what your goals are for 2018?  I know I did.
I need to start working on a mission trip.

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