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By Lisa Cherry

We can miss out on the potential of the New Year if we get stuck in mindsets of survival.

...clean up the mess, put away the tree, figure out how to lose the extra pounds we added, pull the kids off the ceiling...

Surely you know what I mean?!

Instead of just vacationing or surviving your way into the New Year, I have a challenge for you. Three important to dos that could revolutionize your entry into 2014.

All three are within your power to do. All three require no extra expense(!) except the expense of time. And if you ask the Lord, I believe you can carve out a couple hours that will be well worth your investment.

Here are my 3 to dos:

1. Listen... So often in our prayer time for the New Year we fail to do the most basic. Listening to the heart of God. He knows where we are headed. And He knows what we need to be prepared for. Active listening to His still small voice is exciting. How about asking Him some directed questions and then listening for His answer? Sometimes He speaks softly to our heart. Sometimes He answers through His word, and sometimes He speaks through the voices of others who are also seeking His will.

Sample questions: What is on Your heart, Lord, for Your body in the New Year? What are You speaking to our family? How can I prepare myself spiritually for the coming year?

2. Dream... The New Year is a time of optimism. Grab that momentum and let yourself dream! If you are in a listening mode, God will inspire your dreams! Dreams are not the same as plans. They are simply dreams. Let them come forth from your mind and then write them down.

3.Plan... planning can be a scary word that makes us feel like a failure before we start! There are so many forms of planning, but the type I am urging you to do is "big picture planning." The shopping lists and menus will need done. But why not take this special time to look at the macro-plan? Why not take to dos #1and #2 and turn them into some broad goals?

Create a simple one page sheet with one of these ideas:
My top three goals for the New Year for me...
        For my marriage......
        For my kids.....
        For my ministry.....
        For my career.....

When you get done with these three to dos, you need a special place to keep your notes. But even if you are not the most orderly person who keeps track and refers back to notes, recognize the value of the experience. And let God excite you for 2014!

Next week I will be sharing with you some of my dreams for the New Year! Until then, enjoy your time with your family!


P.S. if you are looking for a creative way to enter 2014 with some family vision planning time, click here to see our vision retreat post.

Image:  NapInterrupted “DIY Planner - Franklin Covey Compact Size” via Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

 Gratefully linked to:
Making your Home Sing Monday
Faith Filled Friday
The Wellspring 
Modest Mondays

Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday 

Photo courtesy of Asif Akbar

By Lisa Cherry 

We are dealing with a pesky invasion of ants in our bathroom right now.  This seems to happen every spring right about the time the seasons change.  Tonight I heard Lydia begging to use the other bathroom because "they are all over the walls marching in a line!"

I am not a fan of ants.  Tomorrow I will need to find that little sticky liquid we always put out that makes them go away.  But tonight as I was looking at Proverbs chapter 6, I decided that I should do what verse 6 says and go in there to watch my ants on the walls.

Here they are trying hard to fulfill their God given job of verse 8, "storing their provisions in summer and gathering their food at harvest."  They are working very hard.  Maybe I can learn from them before I drive them out!

Oh to spend more of my time looking ahead with forethought as those ants.  I sure would have a lot fewer crises if I learned from them. Running out of toilet paper, forgetting to buy eggs, failing to wash the boys’ load of jeans...all these forgotten or procrastinated little acts can add up to some mighty household challenges. 

The wisdom I can learn from those little guys?  Lisa, spend a little more time looking ahead and making a good plan.  Sit with the Lord and let Him help you make your to-do lists.  Listen to the voice of experience and do the little things while they are still little.  Act like an ant and don't wait for an overseer to correct you. Just do it.  March in a line and get the job done.  Take the self-control God gives you by His Spirit.

Well, tomorrow the visual reminder will probably be gone.  Sticky liquid here we come!  Unless, of course, God sent those critters on another assignment!  Ugh!  I hope we learn from Proverbs 6 quickly!