A couple years ago, a few weeks before Easter, I went in for a routine mammogram. It came back questionable. The doctor called and said that they would like to take a more in-depth screening because they saw what seemed to be a dark spot that could be cancerous. That day marked a change in my life. I stopped looking at life like it would never end. I realized that I had no guarantee of days or weeks, months or years.
Fear was gripping. And the fear wasn’t so much for myself, it was for my kids. I didn’t want them to grow up without a momma. I didn’t want to miss their graduation, their wedding or their babies. I didn’t want my husband to have to bumble around the kitchen, to figure out how to pick out girl’s clothing and learn how to do my daughter’s hair. I wanted to do all of those things that I love to do for my family.
Every minute with my kids seemed precious. When we sat down to a meal, I really looked around the table, I engaged in what was happening around me. I wasn’t preoccupied by the clock, what still needed to be done, if the kids were acting up. The time was precious.
My husband and I had a lot of good talks during the time before my next mammogram. I told him that one of my biggest regrets would be not taking that big road trip on route 66 that we had talked about for years. I wanted weeks just to spend with my husband and kids, with no work to preoccupy us, no chores around the house to stress over, no busyness to over-occupy our schedules. Just time together. That is what I longed for. (btw, we are going on that trip this summer! If you would like to see the craziest road trip ever, follow me on Instagram!)
Thankfully, after two more mammograms, the results came back clear. But, I didn’t go back to who I was. I was looking at my life through a different lens. A lens that had eternity in its view and the things that mattered most, in focus. In the January following my cancer scare, my dad had a serious stroke. Then, in the fall of that same year, I lost my brother to a massive stroke. All of this made me hyper-sensitive to relishing the people I love and more aware of my time on earth.
Usually, my goal-setting is pretty task/goal oriented. Run a marathon. Achieve a goal on the blog. Lose 10 pounds. (btw, that one is on there every year! :)) But this year was different. I actually made my goals by first looking back on 2015 and making a list of regrets. Then, I shaped my goals so I wouldn’t live 2016 with those same regrets.
Here are a few of my “new”goals:
Show love to my family in their love languages (goal: several times a week.) – I listed the people in my life that I wanted to do that for and their specific love languages. I listed my hubby, kids and also my parents. Then, I tried to identify their top love language. My goal was to relate to them at least weekly in their love language. This is actually tougher than it sounds. But, I’m making progress!
Make time for important people in my life by connecting with them weekly/monthly. I live far from my family, so I need to schedule time for phone calls for the people I love. To be honest, I’m not a phone person, but for my parents, this is how we can connect. Oh, why can’t they get on Instagram!!??
Read meaningful books. Read one chapter a day. I love to cook while listening to Audible, generally a historical fiction is my jam. But, I also need to be reading inspiring, helpful, God-centered books as well. Right now, I’m reading UNDONE by Michele Cushatt. It’s one of those books that you send to everyone you know, because it’s that good.
Stay faithful to my morning routine: reading my Bible, prayer, & exercise. This is what keeps me centered and focused. It’s like taking vitamins, it does good over the long haul. I’ve recently begun journaling my prayers and occasionally hand-lettering a scripture. It’s so meditative.
Make time for friendships. I’ve been trying to meet friends for coffee and invite friends to dinner. This has been one of my most enjoyable goals. But, I know me. If I don’t plan it, it won’t happen. We all need friends, it’s time to be intentional about pouring into friendships.
Be interested and encouraging to something others are doing. My sister did this for me. When no one was reading my blog, (seriously, I mean no one!) she did. She read each post and sent encouragement, even when the posts were less than stellar. There was no benefit to her, just time and energy. What an example of unselfish love. I hope I have learned from her how to encourage and be interested in other’s goals.
What are some of your regrets and how can you turn them into goals in the coming year? I would love to hear yours, please shout them out in the comments below.
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