It’s a new year. A blank slate full of fresh possibilities. But all that empty space on the calendar can leave me feeling completely overwhelmed.
And these days everybody seems to have an opinion on how I should decide what to focus on in the year ahead. To simplify the process, I like to make a plan to move closer toward becoming the MASTERPIECE God created me to be.
The Bible doesn’t say we shouldn’t plan or set goals or make changes in our lives. In fact it encourages us to make wise plans. But we need to include God in our planning and then remain open to His revisions. So my plan each year is to figure out what He thinks I should be doing in order to become more like who He created me to be. And then plan accordingly.
Below are the steps I follow each year to plan for moving toward my goal of becoming the MASTERPIECE I was created to be.
Once I’ve worked through these, I create a visual reminder of those intentions. On Monday, you’ll get a full tutorial on creating your very own “Motivational MASTERPIECE,” but today we’re going to begin the heart work. It’s the most important part.
Before I begin to set goals for the year ahead, I pray. I invite the Holy Spirit to guide me in both my self evaluation and my planning. I don’t want to invest my time, talents or treasures in anything He hasn’t directed me to. I believe asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me as I set intentions and create a vision for the upcoming year is the most crucial step in finding the motivation to become the MASTERPIECE He created me to be. Here is a sample prayer to get you started:
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for all you helped me accomplish last year. Forgive me for the ways I’ve failed to live in accordance with Your plan for me. Help me to discern your will for my life in the upcoming year. Show me where I need to replace bad habits with good ones. Help me to see where I need to make improvements and where I should invest my time, talents, and treasures. Help me to envision ways I can use the gifts and skills You’ve blessed me with to serve Your creation. As I ponder where to focus my efforts in the year ahead, guide my mind toward paths that are pleasing to you. Help me to establish a vision that will bring You glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Process the Past
Next, I like to take stock of where I am. Like it or not, an honest self assessment is necessary for growth. This isn’t meant to be guilt-inducing. Release anything painful to God. In order to determine how to become the MASTERPIECE God created us to be, we have to know where we’re starting. I consider my roles and responsibilities (wife, mother, sister, writer, Bible Study leader, friend, church volunteer, etc). I take in to account my spiritual, physical, and emotional well being. I look at what went well and where I would like to improve. I list the practices I would like to sustain. Where could I cut back and where was I missing out? This one is tough, but I also look at areas where I failed miserably. Print and use the below chart to help you capture your thoughts.
where you want to be at the end of the next 12 months. These don’t necessarily have to be goals of epic proportion. Incremental changes toward becoming a MASTERPIECE are often more effective and manageable than a complete overhaul. Check out my friend Kaylie’s post on small steps here. Pondering the person we want to become can keep us from becoming someone we wouldn’t like. Below are 10 questions to get you thinking about the steps you need to take toward becoming a MASTERPIECE.
As much as we might like to accomplish everything simultaneously, the process of becoming the MASTERPIECE God created us to be is a life-long journey. Once again, go to God in prayer asking for His guidance to prioritize your objectives. Even though all our priorities are established by God, this is a highly individualized step. What I need to work on may be vastly different from where He wants you to focus. I might need to really invest in my marriage, but you might need to get your finances under control. I might need to work on being more patient with my children, but you might need to establish healthier eating habits. Then, rank order the answers to your questions from Step 3. Go ahead. Assign each one a number. Rewrite your list neatly in priority order and keep it in a safe place.Moving toward the MASTERPIECE requires us to Pray, Process the Past, Ponder, and Prioritize. Click To Tweet
You could stop here with a tidy list list of goals for moving toward becoming the MASTERPIECE God created you to be, but a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s why on Monday, I’ll post a Tutorial for creating the visual motivation necessary to sustain your fervor for accomplishing what you and God have planned throughout all twelve months of 2017!