12 Goals for July

As you may have noticed, I kind of took a break from goals for May & June….yeahhhhh, not very intentional, huh?

While in my dream world I would be perfect at absolutely everything, that certainly isn’t reality. Instead of feeling down, this is one of those moments when I need to give myself grace and keep striving for intentionality every day!

Though, to be honest, while I haven’t been very consistent with following through with my daily and weekly goals, I’ve made some good progress on several of my one-time goals I had for myself for this year:

  • Reread the Harry Potter series by Christmas – I’m on book 5 of 7!
  • Print out wedding photos and put in a photo album – completed!
  • Host a baby shower for my friend Breanna – did that back in May!
  • Visit the Grand Canyon – Was an overachiever on this one: went there 3 times!

It’s just a reminder to be proud of even the little accomplishments. 🙂

So, without further ado, here are my goals for July!


Goals

Spiritual/Church

1. Read my Bible every day

2. Recap Romans memorization: memorize Romans 1

3. Pray over a prayer list once a week

4. Learn at least 2 parents’ names of the kids I teach on Sundays

Marriage

5. Read The Love Dare together 5 times a week

6. Write Kevin 2 encouraging notes

Health

7. Eat vegetables 4 times a week

8. Wear my retainer 4 times a week

9. Workout 3 times a week (we’ll see how this goes!)

Personal

10. Read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

11. Try a new recipe

12. Have someone over for dinner – probably won’t try the new recipe out on that day 😉

What are your goals for July?

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Rock Bottom

There are times in life when all of a sudden your life is turned upside down. A heart-attack out-of-the-blue. The death of a loved one…maybe even someone taken way too soon. An unexpected, maybe even unwanted, pregnancy. The earth-shattering news that you or someone you love has a terminal illness. Finding out that your baby is going to have mental or physical disabilities that will affect their entire life. Being handed divorce papers after years of a struggling marriage.

Life can change in an instant. Have you ever wanted to just rewind to a time when the world still made sense? To rewind to a time when you didn’t have such difficult decisions to make? To rewind to a time before everything changed, so you could feel the bliss and happiness again?

rain

I don’t claim to have all the answers, and I certainly don’t try to claim that there is an easy-fix to the earth-shattering times in life.

What I do know is that the Bible tells us what we should do in times like these:

1. Grieve. When something life-shattering happens, it is normal and healthy for you to grieve. Grieve what you have lost. Grieve what once was. Grieve the huge change that is impacting your life.

The Bible isn’t full of people who are always happy, plastered with fake smiles. No, the Bible is full of real humans, who faced terrible circumstances of their own:

  • Paul grieved: “For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears” (2 Corinthians 2:4)
  • David grieved: “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning.” (Psalm 38:4-6)
  • Other Psalm writers grieved: “I say to God my Rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppresed by the enemy?'” (Psalm 42:9)
  • Jeremiah grieved: “Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable?” (Jeremiah 15:18)
  • Jesus grieved: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (Matthew 26:38)

why have you forsaken

There is nothing shameful about grieving. In fact, grieving may be the most healthy thing for you to do. As one of my college professors, Dr. Gary Zustiak, taught, the emotions you are feeling are not going to go away by bottling them up, they will only resurface in other areas of your life and come out in destructive ways.

Instead, you must face those emotions. One of the best ways to do that is through prayer.

2. Pray. The second thing to do when your world is turned upside down is to pray. God wants you to pour your heart out to him. He knows what is going on in your life, and he wants you to invite him into it.

Did you know that over 1/3 of the book of Psalms (that’s over 50 psalms) are considered psalms of “lament”? That means that they are psalms crying out to God about hurts and brokenness. As Dr. Zustiak puts it, laments are a “loud religious ouch” — as we cry out in pain when we are hurting physically, lamenting is how we cry out in pain when we are hurting emotionally or spiritually.

pray in church

God can handle our raw emotions. And getting those emotions out through prayer starts us on the healing process. It opens us up to receive the comfort of God.

Though you may not feel God, he is there, he hears your prayers, and he cares for you. Just as 2 Corinthians 1 tells us, God is the “Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles.”

Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”

Romans 12:12  “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

3. Trust in God. The third thing to do is trust in God. No matter the circumstance, God is able to bring about good. God does not cause evil things to happen; terrible & life-shattering things happen in this world because there is sin in the world. But when they do happen, our God is great enough to be able to work good out of it.

“Ok, so what good could possibly come from the death of a child, or from this terminal illness?”, you might ask. Like I said, I don’t claim to have the answers. I know that when bad things happen, it can seem like the world as you know it has ceased to exist. You may feel like no good could possibly ever come from it.

But hear what I’m saying – I’m not saying that you may ever think of the situation as “good.” Those who lose a child will never look back and say it was “good” that they lost a child. However, those who have lost their child have said that because of it, they found God and found a renewed hope in him. Parents who have children who are diagnosed with disabilities won’t say it’s “good” that their child will never live a regular life here on earth. But they do say that having a child with disabilities has taught them what love really looks like, how to have greater patience, and what it means to believe in God with a child-like faith. (This one I know personally, as my brother has mental disabilities.)

contemplating

So what good can come from your situation? I don’t know. But I do know that God asks us to trust him and to trust that he is big enough to bring something beautiful from the ashes.

Though you may not be able to see it now (or maybe not for a long, long time), God, who has an eternal viewpoint, can see how good can come from even the worst of circumstances. God is asking you to trust his view of eternity. God is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9).

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”


If you have 30 minutes to spare, I would recommend listening to this message from Dr. Gary Zustiak, who I mentioned a couple times in this post. His words are healing to the soul and he has great insights about what it means to lament to God.

Sugary Drinks for the Soul

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters, and you who have no money, come buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk, without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me, hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.” Isaiah 55:1-3

Have you ever experienced a time when you were really thirsty and you drank something like kool-aid or soda to try to quench your thirst? I don’t know about you, but when I’m really thirsty, those sugary drinks just won’t cut it, I need straight up water! Studies have shown that sugary drinks can actually dehydrate us and leave us feeling even more thirsty than before.

Cold glass with cola and ice cubes

That idea is similar to what this week’s verse is saying. In life, there are many things we chase after or expect to quench our thirst, to fulfill us. Take, for example,

1. Money or position – We think that having a big salary or getting that next promotion will satisfy us. Once we get there, we still want more.

2. Relationships – We think that meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right will fulfill us. Yet, those people will make mistakes and let us down (because we are all imperfect people!). Or, marriage sometimes doesn’t seem as easy as we thought it was and we end up in divorce, feeling completely unfulfilled.

3. Stuff – We see our neighbors with their new car and think we need to top it. We need to have the biggest house, the prettiest decorations, the newest gadget to impress our friends. But once we buy it, we see the next big thing we need. It never ends!

4. Drugs or alcohol – We crave the fix that we get from these substances. Yet, afterward, many end up dependent and see their lives crashing around them. What they thought would fulfill them has actually controlled them.

5. Doing, doing, doing – We find fulfillment in being busy. The more things we can fit on the calendar, the greater we feel about ourselves. But when it’s all said and done, we end up feeling exhausted, burnt out, and bitter towards those very same appointments we made to boost us up.

6. Family – We pour our whole lives into our family. We give our kids everything. We find fulfillment in them. Which, it’s certainly not wrong to care for your family and kids!! But our kids grow up and will lead their own lives one day. When they have grown up and moved out, in what state will you find yourself? Did you spend all your time pouring into them at the cost of your own marriage, or at the sake of neglecting your own soul?

What else might we be chasing after? In what do you find your identity? We all thirst for meaning in our lives, how are you quenching that thirst?

And, how empty do you feel?

Empty

In this week’s verses, God is telling us that only He can fulfill that thirst we have for something greater. He asks us, “Why are you toiling after something that doesn’t satisfy you?” and he beckons us, “Come to me, I will fill your soul up like nothing else can.”

If we would only turn away from all the enticing things of this world, we would find a water that quenches our thirst like none other can. That is Jesus Christ, who called himself the Living Water. Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman at a well when he said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

God is beckoning us to drink a water that will truly satisfy. He loves us so much! He doesn’t want to see us laboring after things that will leave us feeling empty in the end. He is extending his Living Water to us…will you drink it?

water

Questions for Thought:

1. Do you believe that you can find satisfaction in things other than Jesus Christ? How is that working for you? Will you take a moment to be honest with yourself and with God…do you really feel fulfilled?

2. Even those who have already chosen to accept and believe in Jesus still sometimes start chasing after things that don’t satisfy our thirst. Is there something that you have been trying to find fulfillment in other than God lately? This week, seek God first and foremost. Spend some extra time with God, maybe through prayer, reading your Bible, or worshipping through song.

If you want to learn more about what it means to find fulfillment in Jesus, you can read here!