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Posts Tagged ‘Goals’

I feel like I write these type of posts a lot, so if you still read them, either I am not alone in the world of figuring oneself out or you are really bored.

All of you who have been around awhile or read previous posts know that I am the type to constantly push myself. I always have a goal I am reaching for and always trying to arrange my life around those goals, working towards it. I think I’ve talked a few times before about discouragement and trying to figure out precisely what I want and all that. Well, one thing I don’t think I’ve really mentioned is my constant struggle for joy. Not to say I have been unhappy – I am quite happy- but you know that settled feeling in your soul that just says you are at peace, even if you are striving toward something? I haven’t had that except once in a great while in a very long time, and I’ve been trying to figure out why.

I have, relatively speaking, a perfect life. It hasn’t always been this way, as anyone who knows my past can attest to – and some people see my life now and tell me that I deserve it after all I’ve been through – I know better than that. I deserve nothing and am therefore grateful that for some reason God has seen fit to give me such a good life right now. I am also under no misconceptions that it will last forever. Why, then, do I have such difficulty settling and enjoying this current life instead of constantly looking and striving forward as though I’m waiting for something more before I can really enjoy the life I’ve been given?

I worked between 10 and 14 hours every day Sunday – Tuesday this week on an exercise down in Florida. Consequently, I was able to take most of Wednesday to relax on the beach before working another 12 hour day on Thursday. I found myself looking out over the ocean in a contemplative mood on the very subject I mentioned above. So, I decided to go for a walk and talk it out with God. This time, however, I decided not to just concentrate on the writing aspect or the job aspect or whatever other aspect – I decided it was time to go through my life in detail with God to ferret out the reason for my inability to be joyful instead of impatient in my current status of life.

As tempting as it is, I won’t bore you with all the ins and outs of the conversation – it was very minutia oriented, which, after all, turned out to be what I needed. God and I discussed what I thought I wanted out of life vs. what God wants out of my life, and then we talked through my writing life and whether I had the right point of view on it, my current job, why I wanted to go into Counterintelligence, and if I actually wanted to go into it, or if I just wanted the glory of saying I was a CI analyst, and where I was right now in life vs. where I thought I wanted to be.

Below are what I feel the conclusions of the conversation were:

  1. God may have a different plan for my life than I think He does and my being stuck on a certain career path could inhibit what He wants to do in my life. Though it is good to have goals in life, the issue comes in when you insist on those goals remaining the same.
  2. My thinking I cannot have a writing career unless I concentrate on it full-time is a product of fear and procrastination and assumes God cannot give me the capacity for more than one task at a time.
  3. It is possible – not for sure, but possible – that God gave me the desire to go into CI precisely to get me where I am today. I love my job, my company, my coworkers, and my job location – why am I so eager to move on? What happens if I concentrate on doing the best I can with where God currently has me instead of not giving it my all because I think it won’t get me where I think I want to go? God can use me in this current capacity and if I assume this isn’t where I need to be, I may miss what else He has planned for me.

Ultimately, and it can be difficult to put into words, but ultimately: Instead of striving forward constantly, I am making a goal to be happy where I am. I still have goals, but realize that God may have different goals for me. I am going to enjoy my current life and not feel guilty every time I am spending time with my husband instead of writing or feeling guilty for not working on writing an article because I don’t feel like it or not working on something CI related because I don’t want to. I am going to strive to be the best in my current capacity (which is, after all, a Senior Analyst, which is a huge part of what I wanted out of my career) and assume that, as He always does, God will clearly open a door when it is time for me to move on to something else He has planned for me. I am going to continue writing on a regular basis, but not feel guilty when I don’t have time for it because I am taking joy in the life God has currently granted me. I am going to assume that God will allow me to be published in His perfect timing, not mine.

Implementing the pattern of thought that it is not a sin for me to not constantly be doing something educational or working toward one of my goals has already done an incredible part in putting my heart at peace. Despite being sick, I enjoyed a very relaxing weekend at home with my husband, and read two books, without any guilty thoughts on needing to write or needing to practice Russian. I healed significantly faster than usual from my cold and did not wake up today with the thought that I didn’t want to go to work.

I want to be clear that I still think it is good and healthy to have goals you strive toward. The secret I am learning, with God’s help, is being at peace and joyful where you are while you work toward them, and being flexible enough to realize that God may direct those goals elsewhere and, for God, there is no time limit. He’ll bring you there when He knows you are ready.

We so often concentrate on the trials aspect of Philippians 4 and being content. For some of us, it is in times of plenty that we get lost.

Philippians 4:6-7, 12-13

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. . .  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

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Since my last post (other than the awesome NaNoToons I just shared) was all down-in-the-dumps-self-pity, I figured I should give you guys an update sooner than I usually do.

After a semi-good nights sleep, I felt worlds better the following day. But, my husband being the darling person he is and generally able to tell what I need better than myself, insisted on bringing me to a wine/coffee bar that evening for a few hours, where he brought a book and left me alone with my wine, headphones and writing. It was so refreshing! And once I had sleep and writing and all that, I felt much better about life ahead.

I really do want to pursue a career – I’m not ready to give up on that yet, even if I am pursuing my writing more seriously. The problem is, I am not ready to go after it with a vengeance right NOW! And I have this coworker who is taking all these trainings, is upset she isn’t a manager yet even though she’s only been in the job for two years, and is pressuring me to get going on my own goals. And I don’t like being pressured. Unless the pressure is from God. I get that.

She is trying to get me to sign up for a mentorship program, and ask about classes I want to take and talk to people about getting into the intelligence community and in general assumes that because she is in a hurry to reach her goals, I am too. But – I’m not. I mean, I am in a sense. But not right now. We just won the contract, holidays are coming up, and I’m enjoying extra time to write. And time at home. I’m just not in the pursue-it type of mood. So, you know, being a people pleaser, I thought that she would think I was a failure if I didn’t express more interest, which has contributed to me being anxious. But I’ve decided I don’t really care and unless God tells me to do it, I’m not going to be gung-ho about my career goals until next year. Even if I am turning 30 and time is running out for me. But that’s neither here nor there.

So yeah. End result – I’ve realized again that the world is not ending and it’s okay to just relax sometimes.

 

relax

 

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As I sit in my lovely living room, the Jim Brickman station playing softly in the background, curtains drawn, a cup of tea (yes, in a teacup) and the beautifully lit Christmas tree in front of me, it feels more like early morning than almost 11:00 AM. Of course, the magic of the moment keeps being rudely interrupted by my need to blow my nose. Dratted colds. But that is the besides the point. The point is, my husband, during evening prayers last night, thanked God for several things over the last year that left me in a reflective mood even to this morning. God has so blessed me!

Last year, and even the year before, were full of fun and joy, and I welcome the year stretching before me with open arms. How different from the years before I met my husband, where years stretched before me with pain and trial, and the constant prayer that God would get me through. How it was worth going through those years to get to these happy ones! Years where I want for nothing, where I live in the capital of the free world, where I can afford, without any injury to myself, to send money to my family! This, this is what I dreamt about and prayed for all those years going through college, working three jobs, taking 18 credits, not eating because I couldn’t afford or didn’t have time for food, watching my bank account drop to $1.50 and praying for another babysitting job so I could make the next bill. Crying tears of joy in my car after that babysitting job did come through and God moved on them to give me a few extra dollars, which would allow me to just make my next car payment.

Oh, I am not bemoaning those years – by no means! Nor the years before, when I watched my family go through more suffering than any family should and worked to put food on the table for my family while my mom tried to find help for my dad’s dreadful chronic condition. No, I believe going through that is what made me into who I am, what gave me strength to work my way through the world and put myself through college and find a good job, what laid such a strong foundation for trusting Him, for knowing that no matter how bad things appeared, He always came through. So, for that, I am grateful. But for what He has now blessed me with, I am even more thankful -and so much more thankful than I would have known to be had I not gone though the trials first.

So, enough of my poetic reflections. 🙂 Highlights of my last year!

1. A free cruise to the bahamas!

2. The swim-up bar at the all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic (the trip for our first anniversary).

3. Paying off multiple credit cards!

4. Getting a job I love! (so far, at least! 🙂 )

5. Getting curtains for our new apartment!

6. Last night, seeing my American girl dolls, Felicity and Samantha, dressed in their Christmas best by the Christmas tree. Now how is that for a childhood dream come true?

As if you haven’t had enough of my rambling, I am not done yet. I did, for once, create goals for the New Year! And, for the first time in my life, I didn’t create them based off of everyone asking me if I was doing any New Year goals! I created them because I wanted to!

1. Lose 30 pounds. I have gained so much weight since meeting Daniel, which is probably due to actually eating, that it is now time to get back down to an ideal weight, though, per entreaties from friends and families and comments about how unhealthy I looked, I am not going to go back to the 120 I weighed when Daniel and I started dating. Instead I am aiming for a more natural 130.

2. Complete my novel A Picture of the Past. I mean complete as in, completed and edited – ready to be submitted to a publisher if I should so choose.

3. Make money writing. I know, I know, very general. Mostly goals should be quite narrow and easy to measure, but this one is different for me. The truth is, I don’t know what a reasonable number to put would be. What I want, is to begin submitting stories to contests and articles for freelance and see what happens, with the intention of giving myself an idea of how hard it would be to make a good living writing if I were to do it full-time. Not to say I am not grateful for the job I do have! I am! And I intend to work it for a minimum of a year, probably two! But that doesn’t change the fact that writing for a living has been my dream since I was 8 years old, and Daniel and I have discussed many times how feasible it would be to make it work. So I figure, if I can make any money writing while I work full time, maybe it will give me an idea of what to expect.

I feel like I should make a fourth goal, like a financial or other more responsible adult-ish goal, but I don’t really feel like it. Besides, Daniel and I already have our financial goals, set shortly after we married! And, with his recent raise, and my new job, it looks like we are back on track to meeting our goal of being completely debt free by the end of 2018! So I will leave it at that.

You will all be relieved to know that I am now done rambling and ready to release you back to your own New Year!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and God bless us, every one!

American Girl Dolls

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Sorry I haven’t posted in so long – I have been busy with life: Settling in to my new job, setting up Christmas stuff, recovering from a week and a half with my in-laws . . . all that. 🙂

So, here are my upcoming writing goals. I think it will be significantly harder to keep without a whole community of writers doing it, but I am going to do my darndest anyway.

By the end of this month, I would like to have finished the (extremely) rough draft of my book, since 50,000 words by no means finished the book. Then, by March 2015, I would like to have finished the editing process enough to send it to friends for critique. By June 2015, I would like to have it finalized. At that point, I will decide if I want to actually try to get it published, or just enjoy the fact that I completely completed a novel. Maybe I will even do Nanowrimo’s offer to get two free self-published copies.

In the meantime, I have decided to start entering some of the Writer’s Digest writing competitions. I finally subscribed to Writer’s Digest a few months ago, and am amazed at how inspiring the articles are to me as a writer. I think having goals to work toward (as in, writing contests) will help improve my writing speed and style and whether I win the actual contest or not, I think it will help me move forward, and I am tired of putting off something that I have always wanted because I am afraid of failing.

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