For each of the past 2 or 3 years, I have made time to sit down at the end of the calendar year, reflect on the last 12 months, and think about what I wanted for the next 12 months. From that, I select one single word that I use as my "Word for the Year". I think on that word throughout the year and allow it to help me make purposeful decisions.
This year I have spent at least three days thinking about what it was that I want for myself for the next year. What do I want to change? What do I need from God? What do I need to do in order to achieve my goals? Tonight..... my word finally came.
I was reading Ecclesiastes 3 and thinking about what God told us about time. I had always thought about this particular scripture as just explaining to us that life isn't always what we want. It isn't always laughing, happiness, searching, or love. Tonight I realized that for me, it means much more.
In recent years I have found myself devoting more and more time to career. It isn't just the usual 8 to 3 school day. I bring home lesson plans that need writing, papers that need graded, emails that need responses, and other things that I always think just HAVE to be done at the time.
As I entered into this, my 31st year, I also found myself thinking about and agonizing over whether I should go ahead and retire at the end of this year. After all, there are bills that will go on.... cars that will need repairs.... and one more child who still has 2 years of college and college debt.
As I read this passage I realized two things:
1. I need to create a more balanced use of my time. I need to allow myself to take personal time for my family and for myself. I have allowed myself to get off kilter- devoting too much time to work and being serious. I need to stop beating myself up over taking a bit of time to read a book, go out to eat with my husband, or just sit and watch a television show.
2. I don't have to worry about how retirement will affect me or my finances. If it is time for me to retire, God will provide. He has blessed me with a talent for crafting, crocheting, and sewing. In the past couple of years, he has shown me that I can create things and sell thing to supplement my income. Retirement could provide the opportunity for me to finally go ahead and turn that into a full time side business that can help if my retirement money runs a bit short of the financial need. It could also allow me to do something else that the Lord has in mind for me. He led me into teaching and he can help me to figure out what his plans are for me after retirement.
Because of these realizations, I have decided that my word for 2016 is BALANCE.
As I read the Bible, study, journal, and pray, I am sure that God will help me to find the personal balance that my life so badly needs. As a reminder, I added a small drawing in my journaling Bible, along with a short prayer.