I know. I know….
When I wrote the intro post for this series I said that the first post would be on creating a family mission statement. I’m already back tracking here and changing things up a bit…
But let me tell you WHY…
On our journey to creating a family mission statement (which is still a work in progress) we (Matt and I) have had to REALLY come to grips with what our goals and priorities are for our family – specifically.
I’m not talking about the generic “Love God, Raise kids, Love each other, Survive” goals that we seem to fall into when we are in survival mode – but figuring out what the true core beliefs and priorities that we feel we are called to and that we will use to base our major family decisions off of.
It wasn’t until I started goal setting that I realized two things:
- Most days I am living a reactionary life to the events taking place inside of my home. In my heart I know what I want to be doing, but without those things written down and deciding what small steps need to be taken each day to make progress, I lose sight of them by the first meltdown at the breakfast table.
- Even though I can say with conviction that “Comparison is the thief of joy!”, without tracking my own progress and priorities based on MY family’s calling, I can easily fall into the trap of either feeling like a failure or trying to mimic someone who I assume “has it all together” – in a way that does not line up with my gifts and personality….
Both of these things lead to the inevitable – burnout. I start out with best intentions each week, but by Wednesday I am overwhelmed, by Friday I have given up and the weekend ends up being time to recuperate or develop a new plan for the next week. This cycle is HARD.
I knew that there had to be a better way, but I just couldn’t seem to get there. My goal setting habits in the past have looked a lot like:
a. set unattainable goal that I believe I should be working towards for some reason that may not even be true to who I was created to be
b. work overtime trying to achieve said unattainable goal refusing to measure progress along the way and instead only judging myself by the time it takes to complete and perfect goal
c. burnout, give up, and feel like a failure OR achieve goal but make everyone miserable by my amount of stress along the way….
see – I know that my heart is in the right place. I LONG to be more self disciplined and to create this purposeful, intentional life that I know is possible – I just couldn’t figure out how.
Thanks to some amazing resources created by other Christian women, lots of prayer and learning to give myself grace I am learning to become intentional MY way.
And it starts by setting goals that mean something to me and my family – and in order to do that, I need to set our overarching family priorities….
Now, as I have said a million times before, we are all called to lead families that look different from each other – because we are all called to different purposes and plans. If we can REST in that, we can find the freedom to set our own goals and priorities based on the gifts we have been given and discovering what is important for us and our families. So PLEASE – don’t expect your priority list to look exactly the same as mine.
If you’re anything like me, when you first sit down to do this you’re going to want to put the priorities that you think you should have instead of what you want to – don’t. If you need to journal, pray, think, talk to a mentor or pastor before making your list – DO IT. But don’t settle for what someone else has done, or what you think the right answers are, because if you do – you will end up right at the beginning again….
So what are my priorities that are guiding my goals?
- Relationship with the Lord – making this first has been HARD. Why? Because I like to control things. But, I know that when I am in a good place with Him, the rest seems to fit together better and I feel more confident in how I was created.
- Our Marriage – Marriage is WORK. If anyone has ever told you different – they lied. In the last (almost) 7 years we have a lot of fun, a lot of change, and a lot of REALLY HARD seasons. We have, during certain times, had to make a point to make our relationship a priority. DO IT. When everything else in this world is stripped away and only the important things are left standing your husband (or wife) will be right there with you.
- Raising girls who know who God is and what that means to them – I’m not raising Sunday Christians, but girls who discover who God is in their lives. How to listen to Him, to talk to Him, to understand WHO He is and how to have a heart for His world.
- Raising girls who know how to and LOVE to learn – is education important? Absolutely. Are academics themselves MORE important than learning how to learn? NO. Not in our home. Teaching the girls to learn and how to love learning is a priority because its a lifelong skill they can take with them. Pulling them out of public school and choosing to homeschool was the right choice for our family. Homeschooling is a lifestyle we are creating though, not school at home that fits into a little box. I long for it to permeate every aspect of our home and life.
- Creating a home and a Homestead that is a safe haven for my family, a place of rest for my husband, that gives life to our family and is a place for learning (from example), loving, developing relationships, discovering who we are and where God is the center.
These are my five. You may have more or less. But I can guarantee yours are not the same. But, once you can list our your priorities you can start to measure your goals and your time against them. If you are working tirelessly on a goal that doesn’t match up with your family priorities – cut it out of your calendar. Don’t waste your time on it.
For example – We spent a lot of last year trying to figure out how to maintain a “traditional” school schedule – you know, school work done in the morning during 3-4 consecutive hours without any interruptions or arguments etc.
It never worked. And its because it was never meant to be how our family functioned. Don’t get me wrong – school work, lessons and completing assignments on time is a TOP priority in our home, but we were going about how to get them done all the wrong way. And it was creating a tone and environment that none of us liked. I was striving against our personalities and family priorities to achieve a goal that I thought was the right way to go.
So how do we fix this? We set a new goal. If my priority is to create a lifelong love of learning, and to create an environment of safety and rest, then our schooling has to mirror that.
So for this year we have set a new goal: To intertwine our school work with our homesteading chores and plenty of outside time as possible. To leave margin in our schedule to further study things that we find interesting, and to set aside time to complete independent work in a relaxed manner. To be flexible enough to welcome interruptions as an opportunity to learn more about ourselves instead of getting upset, and to make sure the learning comes from a place of rest, enjoyment, and fulfillment. We are going to give each other more grace, enjoy each others company more, celebrate the successes and make time for the areas that cause more struggle.
How are we applying this with practical, measurable goals? This summer we have decided to start Math in July and give ourselves a full year to complete each grade level curriculum. This means we have a goal of three new lessons a week instead of five – and if we fall behind we still have room to spend longer on certain topics until they are mastered without feeling like we are going to have to play catch up.
We are planning out monthly field trip days during the school year where we shelve the book work and take off for the day to discover, enjoy and learn in a different environment.
Our 6th grader will be given more control over when and how to complete some of her independent work. While I am a morning person, she is not – and she completes some things better in the afternoon/evening than she would upon waking. Discovering this is causing both of us to learn to be flexible – at times she will have to work when she doesn’t necessarily want to, but I also have to let her take more control over her learning so that she can discover her own particular skill set. Sometimes the pressure that procrastination brings is a better teacher than any amount of nagging I can give – and our relationship is already healing because of that.
We will choose read aloud books together, and find times to enjoy them within our day. Some days its the morning, sometimes the afternoon, some days before bed. Last year I used to force it in the morning for all of us – feeling like a failure all day if we didn’t fit it in. But the truth is – reading and enjoying the time with my girls is what is important.
So, where do you go from here? This is becoming an incredibly long post, so let me wrap up by giving you some ideas for how you can start to apply this to your family:
- Talk to your husband and discover what ideas you both have about priorities for your family. If you haven’t talked about it you may be surprised that you both have some similar and very different ideas about what is most important.
- Pray. Read scripture. God is the only one who truly knows the plan for your family and the why behind the reason that you, your spouse and your children are all put together. Listen for wisdom, and direction.
- Journal – in a perfect world, where would your family be in 10 years? What dreams do you have for your children? What do you wish your home felt like? Sometimes we can surprise ourself with what is important to us!
- Don’t choose too many things! Choosing priorities is as much about choosing things as it is about NOT choosing things. Don’t give yourself 17 areas of life to thrive in or 20 things to be great at – you will overwhelm yourself. It is much better to do a few things WELL than it is do many things.
- Give yourself GRACE. You may want to prioritize things and then realize they aren’t as important to you as you thought. You can change them. There is no rule that says once you write it down your stuck. Try new things – be brave. Don’t be afraid to discover how you and your family are different.
Okay – ONE LAST THING…
and this is exciting…
I am doing my very first giveaway!
Goal setting has been a learning process for me, but one thing that has helped me so much has been Lara Casey’s Power Sheets. If you have never heard about them, you can hop over to their site here and read all about them! I LOVE them – it has streamlined the process of priority and goal setting. We all know how busy things can be with kids! But, more than that, they help me to track my progress and to realize that I am moving forward even when it feels like I’m not…
Because of that, I am giving away ONE 6 month power sheet planner! I have made my way through 3 and they have been invaluable. So how do you enter?
- Share this post.
- Comment “Shared”
- Visit and like my Facebook page! Its that easy!
Giveaway ends 7/7/17 and I will choose a winner!!
Click HERE to enter the giveaway!!
Thanks for entering!