“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.” Psalm 39:4
Begin With the End in Mind
If you’re like me, your Summer begins with enthusiastic joy – no more soccer practices during dinnertime, end-of-the-year party preparations, or frantic searches for winter coats and boots! Yet somehow that enthusiasm turns to a feeling of drudgery as your children’s squabbling escalates and summer drags on. Instead of succumbing to this pattern, begin this season with the end in mind – not just the end of summer, but then end-result of your parenting.
“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” -Abraham Lincoln
What is it that you want from this Summer? Set realistic personal or family goals. Keep them as your primary focus this season, and give yourself extra grace in other areas.
It is better to improve one area of your life permanently than make 1,000 ambitious, unsustainable changes that will fall by the wayside within a few weeks.
Make sure you know what you are going to change, how you are going to change it, and why it is your priority and support it with scripture. Having a goal that is rooted in scripture will help you stick to it; it will remain a high priority when your to-do list is a mile long.
Here are some examples of summer goals that I have set over the years:
|Spend more quality time as a family||Your weekends will be restful, and your home will be more peaceful the next week.||Prepare for a great weekend by making treats, assembling crockpot meals, and cleaning the house on Fridays.||John 14:27|
2 Thessalonians 3:16
|Teach your children to go through their morning routines without your help.||Kids take pride in caring for themselves, and it feels positively indulgent to start the day with a hot cup of tea and some quiet time.||Let even small children dress themselves and retrieve food prepared the night before. It takes time and consistency to begin a routine and form a habit.||Proverbs 22:6|
|Incorporate your faith and the Bible into your family’s daily rhythms.||It takes time and intentionality to disciple children and teach them to relate to Jesus personally. Don’t just assume your faith is rubbing off on your children.||Take note of how God is woven into your daily life, and consider adding more of Him. Pray about how to demonstrate and explain your relationship with Jesus for your children.||Deuteronomy 11:18-20|
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Remember to give plenty of grace to yourself and your children. The goal is to keep realistic expectations so that you can enjoy one another’s company! With just a few months of focused effort, you will reap the benefits for years.
How can you use this summer to grow closer to God or your family?
Pray about it, and then don’t stress. Give that area over to God. Put forth an honest effort and trust that God will work with what you have to offer.
Prayerfully consider coming up with your own goals for the summer (or any other time of year). Just make sure you have a how and why and find scripture to support it. Looking to scripture for support will ensure that you are choosing a worthwhile goal (getting your body swimsuit-ready is fine, but unless you’re planning on becoming a swimsuit model, you probably shouldn’t make it your primary focus all summer long).
Remember to choose one reasonable and important goal, and don’t stress about it. I am working on the third row of the table above. The other two are from summers past.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”
Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Deuteronomy 11:18-20 “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
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