Today is the first day of the second half of the year.
So, let me ask you … how’s it going so far?
If you’re like me you started the year with goals, plans, hopes, and dreams along with some good habits to start and a few bad habits to break.
In my own case, I keep thinking of Paul’s words…
And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.Romans 7:18–19
I’m so good at having good intentions and so bad at having consistent follow-through.
Something I’ve realized in the last few days is that I have a problem with being more reactive than proactive with my days.
I consistently get up each morning and brush my teeth, wash my face, and tame my hair. I get dressed and make the bed. I feed and walk the dog. And then I sit down and spend time with the Lord.
That’s all good but that’s also when I stop being proactive. From that point on I spend much of my time going “squirrel, squirrel” to almost anything that floats by and distracts me.
A post on social media can have me digging around the internet. An email can send me off to do some online shopping. A news article or opinionated post can agitate and distract me. Or a random memory can put me on a path to visit my reserved spot in a town called melancholy.
Yep, I start out positive and end up wondering “what in the world just happened here.”
It all became a little clearer for me the other day. I was just finishing up my Bible study and prayer time when the phone rang. The conversation was with one of my favorite people and we were just having fun when all of a sudden one of my “trigger” topics came up and I found myself chasing a squirrel down the path of “truth” and “self” righteousness.
Now, it’s not that my views were wrong, it’s just that (1) I couldn’t help but wonder what my pontificating was accomplishing because (2) I was “preaching to the choir!”
After our conversation ended, I felt that still small voice whisper, “Do you feel better? Was that helpful? Was it”
…true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise? Philippians 4:8
Nope! Not so much!
That’s when I realized how much is lost when I’m reactive rather than proactive.
So, I’ve made a list of action steps I’m calling “proactive help” to get back on track. Things I believe will bless the rest of the year and maybe even make it the best yet!
Positively Proactive Help for the Best Rest of the Year
1. Count your blessings every day.
I started “Counting My Blessings” during one of the most difficult times in my life. I launched it to hold myself accountable to noticing God’s goodness in the middle of the pain.
Whatever is going on in the world, even in my world, God’s grace and mercy never change. His perfect love is unfailing!
Whether I write them in a journal or on a piece of paper to drop in a jar or basket, I want to go back to keeping a list of the many ways God is providing for and protecting me … heart, mind, body, and soul every single day.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;Psalm 103:2–4
may I never forget the good things
He does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
What does it mean to “seek God first?”
I sometimes think I can think of it as beginning each day in prayer and Bible study.
But I wonder if it’s more than that. I wonder if it’s more of an attitude … in finding my purpose in Him.
Do you remember the 5 Purposes of a Purpose Driven Life?
1. You Were Planned for God’s Pleasure.Rick Warren
2. You Were Formed for God’s Family.
3. You Were Created to Become Like Christ.
4. You Were Shaped for Serving God.
5. You Were Made for a Mission.
I think it just may be time for me to reread that book! I just may be allowing too many “squirrels” to distract me from focusing on and doing what’s most important.
You can also click on the link above to find the goals I made at the beginning of the year … I know I needed to read it again!
3. Assess your goals and the progress you’re making.
I’m going to be completely honest with you here…
I am terrible at goal setting, time management, and follow through.
I am a Sanguine who like to chase “squirrels!”
So, I can spend all kinds of time making a list of goals and thinking about the best ways to plug them into my schedule and on a good day, I might make it ’til lunchtime before I’ve abandoned it all and gotten off track.
But I will not give up! I’m making a new list of goals this afternoon and attaching to my planner. Although I may not plug in specific times, I’m going to be intentional about doing a weekend assessment of my progress.
4. Learn to say “no” so you can say “yes” to the best.
I want to be able to live my purpose intentionally. And I believe that God sometimes sends interruptions to help me grow in different ways.
But I also know…
Not every interruption is from God and it is not God-honoring for me to chase every “squirrel” I see.
So, I want to prayerfully set those goals I talked about above and live purposefully.
And as a reminder, I’m going to keep the following quote from one of my favorite time-management instructors…
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage pleasantly, smilingly, and non-apologetically – to say no to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger yes burning inside.”Stephen Covey
5. Let go of the past and refuse to worry about the future.
This is a hard one, isn’t it?
It’s so easy to bring yesterday’s baggage into today and worry about how today’s doubts and concerns will affect tomorrow.
But Jesus clearly told us not to worry about today’s troubles or tomorrow’s unknowns.
Because when you and I seek God first, He is faithful to give us everything we need.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.Matthew 6:33
Jesus very next words are … “so don’t worry about tomorrow.”
And we can let go of the past because we are forgiven and free in Jesus.
I don’t know about you…
but I’m ready to stop chasing “squirrels.” I’m ready to stop living a reactive life.
I’m ready to apply proactive help to the rest of the year and enjoy the freedom and blessings God offers to those who live with purpose as they place their hope and trust in His Son, Jesus.
And I’m praying the following words of Paul for each of us as we make the the next six months the best rest of the year.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:!3
One more thing…
I believe being positively proactive can bless every area of our lives.
So, are you ready to look back at your goals for the year and make some positively proactive changes to bless the rest of the year.
Thank you so much for joining me today.
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