Looking Back and Dreaming Ahead

By December 28, 2013 culture 3 Comments


Each year about this time, I get all excited for the New Year. January 1 is one of my favorite days, marking the start of something new. For me, that newness is related to an assessment of the year that is ending and a vision for the year that is about to begin.

As I look back at 2013, my breath catches. Lots of things happened. Check out this sampler:

celebrated my 40th year at the Goofy Challenge (39.3 miles of running) // started working for Revive Our Hearts // attended The Story conference at Spread Truth & met the shining Laura Karr // traveled to California // attended the Revive Our Hearts Revive Tour // started Snapchatting // enjoyed Beach retreat 2013 // ran the Champaign half marathon // survived a Cupcake Crawl w/niece Isabelle // created a Dream Map // celebrated the Hubster’s work in opening Immanuel Health Clinic // spent two glorious months in Boulder, Colorado & made precious new friends at The Well // started reading Brene Brown // found Lucky’s Bakery & Boxcar Coffee // ran the Boulder Heart & Sole half marathon // ate seven pounds of Swedish fish in a month // celebrated my parents’ 45th anniversary // discovered my personality INFP matches the Hulk (mean & green?) // cheered the Hubster in his first competitive half marathon at Indy (he won the Master’s Divison! we got to see his brother & our dear friends! and we ate Flying Cupcakes!) // traveled to Disney w/dear friends // started working for Naomi’s House // made progress on my book // enjoyed countless hours with loved ones

So much joy, so much blessing—and most of it was not listed as part of my 2013 hopes and dreams. But some of these things came about because my vision was set toward those goals. And this is why I keep on with New Year’s Resolutions.

So I’m on it for 2014, and I’m going with a theme. My dream for the new year is that my life would be fruitful:

By God’s grace, 2014 will be a year of fruitfulness for me as I yield my moments to the Lord Jesus and seek to live by His Spirit.

From this vision flow specific goals that I’ve arranged into seven categories:

  • spiritual: tending to heart & soul
  • relational: nurturing bonds
  • physical: training the flesh
  • professional: investing talents
  • mental: stimulating curiosity
  • domestic: creating a refuge
  • financial: growing in generosity

One thing I learned this past year is that when my goals are merely a to-do list, I get overwhelmed. This dreamer needs the vision to fuel the actions! For instance, motivation and attitude are greatly lacking when I need to do some cleaning; running it through the filter of creating a refuge makes all the difference for me. I want a refuge, and that would be one with clean sheets.

Most of my goals are typical, not too out-of-the-ordinary . . . but I need them on paper because this dreamy-girl forgets things. If my life is going to be fruitful, I need God’s power working in me and focusing my efforts. There will be lots of praying happening to that end! I’m so excited to see what comes about in the next 12 months—not only what’s on paper, but also all the extra things that I would never dream about.

What are your hopes and dreams for 2014? How do you organize your goals? I’d love to hear all about it—share in the comments or post a link to your blog post detailing it. Here’s to hopes and dreams and things unseen.

  • http://gravatar.com/rycase rycase


    First time responder, long time reader, someone who loves you dearly as a friend.

    **Note , I believe wrote at least two dozen responses prior to achieving something worthy of comprehension to your reader base. ***

    Your pragmatic approach to life is awe inspiring. Ironically I believe that as I reflect on my life up until this point, I have focused far too much on assimilating life into buckets and far too little on what has filled the buckets. Let me elaborate.

    Two weeks prior I would have welcomed the close of 2013. I would have spent hours rambling about how unfortunate events had been despite a year filled with many positives. I would have slowly shifted towards acknowledgement of more and more positives to balance out the negatives, resulting in a balanced response that 2013 wasn’t that bad. I had many goals, entirely based on my world of running – I had goals on my career and somewhere in the weeds improving quality of life.

    As I lost the ability to continue focusing on those goals, life shifted quickly into a downward spiral that I approached solo despite welcoming arms from my spouse, my family and my friends. I reached a point which I felt was “rock bottom”. I quickly found refuge in a long last friend – God and immediately saw an improvement. I tackled each day with some note of improvement, with belief that I was including others and moving towards a better life.

    I found a new low shortly after the Holiday which caused me to realize two metaphorical buckets had been missing (not so ironically which are NOT mutually exclusive issues)

    My Spouse.
    My relationship with God.

    My spouse had been bearing my weight amidst her own challenges and I neglected to see these things. She was in pain and has been for quite some time. I did not speak her love language and completely missed the signs. Our team was not a function and it lacked any relationship with god.

    2013 will go down in the books as the best year of my life for the gift God has given me – another chance, a mulligan. God saw the signs with my spouse and I, God saw the pain I had in my eyes (and that everyone around me saw) and took those blinders off for the first time in a decade. Tears have come down in ways I was unsure were possible.

    For 2014 I have two rudimentary focal points

    Discover who I am through God.
    Discover how I coalesce into the life of others through God.

    Amidst the challenges- each morning I have prayed for strength to make it through some of the hardest challenges of my life. It has always been easy for me to come up with a pragmatic approach to resolution of any problem space. Finish a marathon, fix a car, learn how to do something – no sweat. There are no blue prints for the pain and suffering being endured, however God has allowed me to realize that I don’t always need a plan.

    I know that I would like to continue to embrace some of the goals I have had in the past, however for 2014 – these goals need to be bounced off of my savior – he will guide me for the things that matter.

    I have been incognizant of the world around me. My primary focus at this high level will be very very focused on my spouse, however the deliberate use of coalesce is important. My spouse and I need to find ourselves (focal point 1) , and I need to find how I fit into her life , metaphorically reinventing the wheel. I need to better understand where my relationships fit. I need to connect with friends and loved ones.

    Patience has always been a challenge of mine and Hebrews 12:1b-2a I thought was very fitting :

    “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus”.

    God give me the strength to know that life is a a journey and I need to have the patience for myself and understand priorities. I need to be willing to let God guide me without clear direction. Life plans are not prescriptive.

    I pray god gives me the strength to be meet my goals in 2014. Thank you lord for giving me the chance to discover myself and how I fit into the ecosystem around me. Thank you for making 2013 a year to help set me back on the right path.

    God Bless everyone. I am madly in love with my wife and I have God at my side. What else can a guy ask for (I mean I even have a pair of dogs!).

    • http://fillingmypatchofsky.com erinstraza

      Reading this makes my heart overjoyed! Cannot wait to see what God will do in 2014. Mike and I are happy to be on the way with you two!

    • Jim Case

      Lvu buddy! Great understanding of what your focal point needs to be. Your Ideal has to start with God. Hang in there pa.

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