Welcome to a new year, fellow moms! It is a time for new goals and fresh beginning, right? But, perhaps you find yourselves, like me, thinking these kinds of defeated thoughts in January…
“What happened to our plans for family worship last year?!”
“When it comes to patience with my kids, I had such great intentions and not so much follow-through.”
“Did my children stay on track with their personal devotions? Did we?”
“I said I wanted to be more intentional about being a fun mom with my kids last year, but feel like I failed.”
It’s so easy to beat ourselves up. Making new goals while looking back on the past year can be an overwhelming process, especially if you are a task-oriented, perfectionist-driven kind of mom. Some of us can rightly confess our own overwhelming tendency to make accomplishing a task an idol. We stress our families out, and do whatever it takes to check off the list, sometimes at the expense of honoring Christ and blessing others with a Christ-like attitude. Others of us tend to shy away from setting any kind of goals for fear of pressure, disappointment, or the sense of failure. We may not put pressure on those we love, but we often find ourselves defeated or not measuring up because we compare ourselves to a standard that is unreachable and unrealistic.
As I look at my own life, I see how pro-active perfectionism as well as a passive fear of failing are really both outworkings of pride and self-sufficiency in our lives. Both produce discontentment. Both take our eyes off Jesus and the families He’s given us to care for, and have placed the emphasis on our own abilities and what we think our worth as mothers comes from.
As we look upon the new year, it is a wonderful goal to plan for daily family worship. It is rewarding to begin again on a Bible reading plan. It is a blessing to be intentional about the kind of mother you’d like to be in 2013. But it simply can’t be about us, or in our own strength.
Christ perfectly accomplished the work of righteousness for all those who believe; we set goals for more focus or greater discipline because it flows out of thankfulness for who we already are in Christ, not in order for us gain His approval.
To put it plainly, we set goals to become who God’s already made us to be in Christ. Desiring to be more than we were last year, hoping to grow more disciplined, aiming to be more joy-filled and gracious….these are not merely self-improvement goals, or ways to form your family to look more like the Christian “ideal.” Instead, it is, for a child of the King, already ours already in Christ, but is realized through obedience and perseverance.
And, so, may I encourage you to be blessed as you look forward to 2013? May I remind you that…
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) and so,
“…let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galations 6:9) for,
“…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Be encouraged to start anew. Let’s not worry over success or failure, perfection or shame; those are not from Him. Let us, instead, fix our eyes on walking in the Spirit, growing in His likeness, and putting one foot in front of the other in faith as we train our children, serve our families, and walk in the high calling of motherhood He’s given us.