June is a great check-up point. How’s this year going? Am I doing the work God has set in front of me?
I’m reading Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George right now and she’s talking about leaving the past behind. Letting of what’s already happened and looking at today and tomorrow and the rest of the future. When I think of leaving behind the past I think of leaving behind the bad things- sin, failure, struggles. But it’s not just the bad things we have to leave behind. We have to leave behind the good as well.
She talks about a couple who came to her church who were very involved at their previous church. But instead of getting involved in the present work they only talked about what they had already done. They didn’t forget the past; they tried to live there.
But life doesn’t work like that. The past fades quickly and then you’re the person who just burned out. Dimmed and then vanished. There’s no lasting legacy only a vague “they used to be here” sentiment. I don’t want that for my life. What I’m doing and where I’m doing it might change but I want to have a heart for Jesus and the work that He gives me for as long as I’m alive.
That means I need to concern myself about today. Not who was I six months ago. Or if I was a good wife last year. Or what kind of mama I was when my oldest was two.
I have to look at today.
Who am I supposed to be today? Who will I choose to be today? I always get to choose what kind of woman I am regardless of what else is going on.
The good stuff- the hard work- needs to be done every day. I need to renew my mind in the Bible every single day. I get off track so quickly that skipping days leaves me wandering farther away from Jesus than I want to be. I need to devote myself again to my husband every day, praying for him and looking for ways to bless him. I need to get to the work of raising these children. Last week wasn’t enough; they need today too.
Gretchen Rubin says, “What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while.” Because what you do every day is who you are. You’re not a good wife if you were a good wife one day in 2015. What kind of wife are you today? (And rather than evaluating yourself based on your neighbor, why not just ask your husband?)
If you’re still stumped about what you should do today it may help to look ahead and work backward.
Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? I don’t mean deciding that you want to make a million dollars and live in Tahiti. (I have no helpful hints for that; if I did that’s what I would be doing.) I’m talking about deciding you want to be gracious and cheerful. That you want to tell others about Jesus. That you want to run your home well- not perfectly. That you want to be excellent at your job.
Now that you know who you want to be, what do you have to do to be that person? If you want to be a cheerful woman, start smiling. Start thanking God for all the things He’s given you. Practice seeing the world and your circumstances as part of His plan instead of annoying interruptions and inconveniences.
Do you want to be a writer? Start writing. Open a journal or a word document and write something. Then do it again tomorrow and the next day and the day after. Maybe eventually you’ll start a blog or a tumblr or a newsletter. Maybe you’ll write a book. But you won’t do any of those things if you don’t write today.
You want to run your home well? Develop some systems. Sweep your kitchen floor and wipe off the counters every night before you go to bed. Wash, fold, and put away one load of laundry a day. Write down a meal plan. Move a piece of art to a place it will be better appreciated. Write a list of projects to tackle. Then do one thing every day. Make the food, fold the towels, sweep the floors, paint the hallway.
Don’t despair if you haven’t done these things before. There’s still life in front of you. For a moment, erase what’s behind you. If no one knew your Christian testimony before or knew your work reputation, what will they learn about you today? Who will you be today? What will you do with your time?
Remember who you want to be. Look at what that person would do. Then do that today (and tomorrow and the next day.