Your Greatest Enemy in 2019

Your Greatest Enemy in 2019

Happy New Year!!!

I hope you enjoyed some quality time with family and friends. Our family joined some friends last night and brought in the New Year with games, laughter, love, and encouragement. We made it to midnight! But we had our fair share of incoherent sentences and slurred words. No alcohol was involved, haha.

Today, I wanted to remind you of what you already know in hope that your New Year starts off on the right path. I wanted to remind you to stand firm against your greatest enemy.

What is our greatest enemy in 2019?

Forgetfulness.

This year, I wanted to bring in 2019 with one goal—to remember. But this concept didn’t just come to mind one day. It kept ringing in my ear for months; this notion that if I want to accomplish anything in life, I must remember to remember.

Sounds weird, right?

However, I looked through scripture for some clarity and discovered there’s a profound emphasis on remembering and a stern admonishment against forgetfulness.

In the New Year, I’m aiming to leave behind the following habits. Will you join me?


Habits to Leave Behind in 2019

 

 

1. Forgetting to set the right goals.

Losing weight and starting a business are great goals. But how many of us take the time to set the right goals? Setting the right goals will help us accomplish anything our heart desires.

And what are the right goals?

Let’s start with “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33).

Seek the Kingdom of God

And here are a few others!

“Above all else, let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives…” (1 Corinthians 14:1).

“Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands… Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).

“So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him” (2 Corinthians 5:9).

 

2. Forgetting to write down your goals.

So many people make declarations, but few of us take the time to actually write them down. What difference does it make?

We will forget them!

Documenting our goals on paper is the first step to achieving them. It makes them official and holds us accountable to them.

After Israel defeated the Amalekites, the Lord instructed Moses:

“Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: I will erase the memory of Amalek from under heaven” (Exodus 17:14).

This verse serves as a reminder that documenting things in writing ensures it is never forgotten. So, let’s take it a step further and hang those goals up somewhere where we’ll be sure to see them every single day and as often as possible.

 

3. Forgetting your commitment.

Life gets busy. So much so that sometimes we’re so busy doing life that our goals get pushed to the sidelines. One week of taking time off from pursuing a goal can catastrophically turn into one month. The next thing we know, the next year is vastly approaching and we’re wondering where those twelve months went!

We’ve forgotten our goals.

We’ve abandoned our commitment.

But, what does commitment look like? In Deuteronomy 6:7, when God made the call to Israel for wholehearted commitment to his commands, he said this:

“Repeat them again and again…”

“Talk about them often…”

“Put them everywhere that you’ll be reminded of them…”

Although he was talking about his commands, we can take these strategies for practicing commitment and apply them to our goals.

The bottom line: when something is truly important to us, we do everything in our power to commit to it.

 

4. Forgetting the future.

We have a bad habit of looking at the past and allowing it to dictate our direction. Let’s forget the past but remember the future because that’s where we’re headed. The future is where our goals are realized. Where our success is.

Consider this verse when Paul tells us about pressing on toward his goal:

“But I focus on one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:12).

Forget the Past

Proverbs 4:25 also stresses the importance of looking forward:

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.”

Why do these verses suggest looking forward and not to the past? Because when we live in the past, we tend to forget the future.

How bright it is!

How exciting it is!

How fruitful it is!

Remember, faith is not the substance of what we can see, but what we cannot see and what we’ve yet to see. Looking to the future strengthens our faith and focus. Looking to the past keeps us bound by it.

 

5. Forgetting to count your wins.

Let’s forget about how many times we’ve failed. Instead, let’s remember to count our victories. One method that helped me in the past was taking inventory on a regular basis. Every so often, I would ask myself what I did right and reflect on those things. When I started this exercise, it suddenly occurred to me how much I focused on my failures and how rarely I thought about my wins.

Consider this verse:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

When we reflect on our failures, we start identifying ourselves as failures. Which is simply not true. Romans 8: 37 tells us we are more than conquerors! Furthermore, we must remember we are what we think. For, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

 

6. Forgetting what you learned from your losses.

Mistakes really suck, but they drive us closer to our goals. They are invaluable teachers. They tell us what works and what doesn’t work.

In every mistake, every loss, every failure, there is something to be learned. We must make it a priority to learn the lesson so that we won’t repeat the mistake. When we learn the lesson, we become more effective, resilient, and wise because of it.

“For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity” (Proverbs 24:16).

When we make mistakes this year, let’s not beat ourselves up. Instead, let’s ask, “What did I learn?” I highly suggest writing down what you’ve learned so that you never forget it.

Learning from Mistakes Quotes

 

7. Forgetting how weak you are.

Put no confidence in the flesh. If you’re on a weight loss journey and you know you’ll eat every bag of chips in your pantry before the weekend is through, it’s time to stop bringing chips into the house. If you’re on a journey to become more productive and you know you spend hours on your phone scrolling through social media every day, it’s time to get an old-school flip phone.

“For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3).

Why shouldn’t we put confidence in the flesh? Because “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (Romans 8:5).

Our flesh wants what’s comfortable.

Achieving goals and reaching new heights is uncomfortable, so naturally your flesh will fight against it. The commitment required to achieve a goal hurts. The hard work, discipline, setbacks, etc. can really take a toll on us. Let’s not make it harder on ourselves. Let’s eliminate all distractions, temptations, and detours and keep our eyes on the prize!

 

8. Forgetting how capable you are.

Honestly, you can do it. Whatever it is. With God’s help, you’re more than capable of doing the seemingly impossible. Remember, we can do all things through Christ who strengthen us (Philippians 4:13).

Also, consider:

“His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).

Yes, we have everything we need. Even when it doesn’t seem like it. I’m sure most of you have heard of the story of the woman and the jar of oil in 2 Kings, chapter four.

To paraphrase:

The woman’s husband died, left a debt behind, and now the debt collectors wanted to take her two sons and make them servants. This woman cried out to the prophet Elisha in fear, hoping he could help her, and he responded, “What do you have in your house?”

The woman replied that she had nothing except a jar of oil. The prophet then instructed her to use what she had. To go and collect empty jars from her neighbors, fill the jars with oil, sell them, and pay the debt collectors what she owed them. The woman did just that and experienced the miracle of multiplication as that one jar of oil was able to fill numerous empty jars to the brim.

She was able to pay her debt, keep her two sons, and live on the rest of the earnings.

The moral? Whatever little you think you have, use it! Whether it’s talent, resources, discipline, or passion—utilize it and watch it multiply and bring your goals to fruition.

 

9. Forgetting not to please people.

People-pleasing is a trap so many of us fall into. It’s easy to do in the age of social media where we’re sharing more of our highlight reels than ever before. For this reason, I know that some of us set goals to impress others, win their approval, or one-up them. But we must ask ourselves, how impressed is God by us?

Consider Paul’s words:

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant” (Galatians 1:10).

Quotes on not impressing people

Here’s the thing, it’s not the goal—it’s the intention of our hearts. Our goals should never be selfish but should be of benefit to others.

If you’re starting a business, what charities or causes will you support with your newfound wealth? Or will you simply live an ostentatious lifestyle?

If you’re buying a new car, who will you bless with your old car? How many people will you offer to give rides in that new car? Or will you simply boast about your new purchase on social media?

If you’re losing weight, will you share your journey with others so that they, too, can experience weight loss? Or will you simply show off your new body to your overweight friends and secretly love being thinner than them?

The best goals are those that give back to the community. Let’s leave selfish motives behind in 2019.

 

10. Forgetting that God is in control.

Everything is working out for your good. Even if you can’t see it at the time. No matter how many goals we set or plans we make, sometimes God takes us on a seemingly different path. If we try to fight it, we’ll just end up further away from our goals than we need to be.

Consider this:

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

Our goals are not for us, they are to achieve a kingdom purpose—to benefit the next generations to come. It may seem like it’s just weight loss, but you are setting the tone for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc., to live a healthier lifestyle.

Therefore, that fad diet may not be working for you because God wants to introduce you to a lifestyle change that is healthy and worth imitating by those who are watching you. This concept applies to any goal we make.

Things may not happen how we want them to, but we can rest in the comfort that God is in control and knows best.

Let’s take God out of the box in 2019 and let him help us achieve our goals HIS way!

Until next time, friends…

Big Homeschool Mistake

Homeschool Burnout | One Mistake I Didn’t Know I Was Making

Free Yourself

Here’s my account of our third homeschool year. As of date, we’re approaching the second semester of our fourth year as a homeschool family. I wrote these sentiments months ago when I was in the thick of my feelings and a light bulb went off. Today, I’m finally posting what has been lying dormant in my Word documents since April 2018.

I share these real mom moments in hope that it can help free some of you from the unnecessary burden you’ve placed on yourself to raise the perfect homeschool prodigy. For some of us, this burden stems from the need to prove to outsiders that our children are meeting the mark. Don’t allow yourself to enter into the New Year still burdened and carrying the weight of everyone else’s expectations for your child.

Feeling Inadequate

I was one of those anxious moms, so to speak. I just sort of lived with it and attributed it to the stresses of homeschool. After all, stress is normal.

Or should it be?

I didn’t jump out of bed eager to start the day. I found myself tired even after a full night’s rest. I was constantly worried about my children’s progress. If they were on target with their peers—if they measured up.

If I measured up as a home educator.

Homeschool Quotes by Nike Anderson

I teeter-tottered with the idea of “traditional school,” thinking to myself perhaps my boys would be better off. After all, who was I to think that I could supply all their educational needs? This was the weight of other people’s words that I carried for a long time.

Abandoning My Homeschool Room

This year, I’ve noticed we’ve been gravitating toward a more relaxed learning environment. The whiteboard in our classroom has not met the stroke of an Expo marker in months. Our workbox drawers have not been pulled open in months. My boys have not sat at their desks in months. I have not stood at the top of the class teaching lessons in months. In fact, I kept telling my husband, “One day we’re going to go back into that classroom and actually use it.”

One day.

I felt guilty. Like I’ve somehow failed as a homeschool teacher. I feared my boys would never learn how to sit still in the classroom. I feared they’d never learn how to raise their hand and wait to be called on to speak. And even though they were still learning, I feared I wasn’t teaching enough.

Doing enough.

Yet, I was exhausted—burned all the way out. Some of the exhaustion stemmed from the war going on in my thoughts.

Mental exhaustion.

Some of the exhaustion stemmed from doing the absolute most.

Physical exhaustion.

Homeschool Quotes by Nike Anderson

I grew tired of force-feeding information to my children. Things that held very little value to them. Things they’d learn just enough to ace a test and then forget the next month. It all felt counterproductive. We weren’t having fun anymore. They went from “YAY, school!!!!!” to “Oh no! It’s a school day?”

They Hated School

I could laugh every time I think about my second-grader “spacing out” while I’m teaching him a new concept. His little eyes just glazed over with a blank stare. His default nod to convince me he’s paying attention. His sigh of relief when I’m finished explaining everything (I tend to be long-winded, haha).

Laughter escapes me whenever I think of my preschooler actually running from me whenever I pulled out his reading curriculum. All the excuses he’d make, like, “I’ve got to draw some pictures, first.” He was the one who initiated his reading journey, yet I sucked ALL the fun out of it by using a traditional teaching approach unsuitable for his learning style. The daily battles to get him to “do his school work” put a strain on our relationship. I’d say things like, “You’re the one who wanted to learn to read.” Yea, I’m sure this is a great way to ensure he shares his interests with me in the future.

My “Aha” Moment

A few months ago, I shared Three Things It Takes to Homeschool. But there was a piece missing; something only revealed to me very recently, after watching a video by Shelly Sangrey.

In that video, Shelly, a homeschool veteran, said something like this, “If you’re still holding onto the standards of public education, you’re missing out on the freedom homeschool has to offer.” The freedom of not being bound by age, grade-levels, and “what your child should know” propaganda. The freedom of not being bound by one teaching method that caters to one learning style. The freedom of not being bound by a classroom. Chairs. Desks. Whiteboards. These things work for some people. But for our family, they just don’t.

Homeschool quotes by Shelly Sangrey

So, if I were to add a fourth point to the post Three Things It Takes to Homeschool, I’d say unschool yourself.

That was my mistake. I was still bound by traditional education and all the stress that came with it. The emphasis on performance and looking good on paper over quality learning.

Unschooling Myself 

I’ve realized that, while we’re concluding our third year of homeschool, I’ve never officially “unschooled” myself. Each time I tried to break away from the traditional model of education, I found myself being lured back in, fixating on grade-levels, assessments, and teacher’s manuals. Why? Because that’s all I knew, and that structure worked for me as an “A” student growing up.

But it doesn’t work for my boys.

What is unschooling exactly? This quote by the late George Bernard Shaw sums it up nicely:

“What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child.”

Child in Pursuit of Knowledge by George Bernard Shaw

Slowly, my new motto became, “if education isn’t organic, I want no part of it.” Each of my children have subjects they gravitate to. They burst at the seams with questions about all kinds of things, and I miss teaching moments because I’m busy trying to get them to remember the difference between mass and matter.

My boys retained more information about random questions they’ve asked during fifteen-minute car rides than information they’ve studied for two to three weeks. They don’t mind spending an hour listening to me read a book about architecture because that’s what they’re into. But it’s a struggle getting them to follow along on a book about medieval history.

Revisiting the Root of Education

I get it. There are just some things that children should know and learning won’t always be “fun.” But the heart of education comes from the Latin word “educare” which means “to draw out” and “lead”—yet, I spent more time putting information “into” my children rather than encouraging them to discover learning for themselves.

And, truthfully, children don’t need help learning. They’re natural learners. But they do need guidance; someone to help them develop their ideas and concepts, answer pressing questions, provide the right resources, and demonstrate the lifestyle of learning.

So, instead of “doing school” or “going to school,” we’ve made a point to ask God how to help our children learn to live intentionally with vision and purpose. If we do this, they’ll always seek the knowledge they need to pursue that calling. In that, we can help them develop the habit of “being in pursuit of knowledge.”

Until next time, friends…

Tag, You’re It!

What would you say was your biggest homeschool mistake? Write a comment below!