How did you do with your goals for February? Are you sticking with your resolutions? It’s never too late to start over fresh. Here’s how I did with last month’s goals:
February’s Focus was LOVE
My overarching goal for February was to become a more loving person [to unselfishly, intentionally, and gladly meet the needs of others] by practically showing love to John and at least one other person every day throughout the month. I used a calendar to keep track of my daily progress.
- Faith- (I) Meditate upon 1 Corinthians 13 weekly, (II) Memorize at least 3 verses about love per week, (III) Hand out at least one gospel tract per week, and (IV) Pray every day that God would increase my love for Him and others and give me opportunities to show practical love.
(I) I think I only did this two out of the four weeks in February. Nevertheless, I’m thankful for what I learned as I meditated, studied the original Greek, and memorized part of this passage of Scripture. Below is a chart I made after a comprehensive study of verses 4-7:
|LOVE IS NOT…|
|HONEST||delighted in wickedness|
(II) Again, God graciously helped me to memorize three verses every week this past month. What a blessing to meditate upon His Word and to have so many verses about love pop into my mind just when I need them. This one discipline alone has kept me grounded in the Truth and encouraged my walk with Christ immensely.
(III) I utterly failed in meeting this goal. I handed out one tract the entire month. I made excuse after excuse and was shamefully cowardly. This is an area that I definitely need to grow in. Pray for me- that God would give me courage and boldness and a greater desire to share His Word with others. The final week of this past month I finally resolved to make my own tracts (from my husband’s leftover business cards), but the next step is stepping out in faith and obedience and giving them to people.
(IV) I did pray every day for an increase of love for God and others throughout February. Thankfully, I felt far more dependent upon Him this past month than in January. God had showed me how much I was striving in my own strength to show kindness and the lessons I learned that month carried over into February. I heard His still, small voice far more often (though there were still a few times I failed to obey).
2. Marriage– (I) Fulfill the love language experiment (as shown on my blog).
(I) If you followed my Love Language Challenge, you will know that I successfully fulfilled this goal. Some weeks were more difficult than others, but I’m thankful for how my eyes were opened to the myriad of ways I can show love to my husband. I also found that the more I focused on blessing him, the more satisfied I was in my marriage. Times when I become more self-absorbed and fixated on what my husband is or is not doing for me result in less satisfaction.
3. Health- (I) Do one thing per week to show love to my body (for example, take a bath or get a haircut).
(I) If “pampering” was what I was going for, I didn’t do very well this month. But that isn’t to say I didn’t take care of my body. For Valentine’s day my husband got me a 3-month membership to our local gym, so I have been going there 5-6 days a week ever since and have felt great (aside from the initial soreness). I’ve made sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night and have eaten healthy (except for the 2 bags of chips I should’ve avoided this past month). I was also able to read lots (which, in my opinion, is the best way to show my body love). I read a total of 7 books in February (most are not shown below because I borrowed them from the library).
4. Homemaking- (I) Make a meal for a family at church, (II) invite friends over for a meal.
(I) I was able to do this after friends from church had a baby.
(II) Unfortunately, this never happened in February, but we have invited friends over for this coming weekend and are looking forward to it.
5. Interactions– (I) Do at least one loving act for somebody per day.
(I) According to the chart I made to keep track of my progress, I did this every day except one throughout the month of February. A “loving act” is pretty vague, but it ranged from purchasing gifts, sending cards, helping others clean, to volunteering. I still had to check my motives and fight off the desire to be thanked or merely noticed for my actions, but it was far easier this month than in January when I was trying to show kindness in my own strength.
Everybody has somebody in their life that they find difficult to love, for whatever reason. This past February a quote by C.S. Lewis helped me put love into perspective:
But though natural likings should normally be encouraged, it would be quite wrong to think that the way to become charitable is to sit trying to manufacture affectionate feelings… Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did… when you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.
One of the books I read in February was Just Give Me Jesus by Anne Graham Lotz. I highly recommend it. I think she hit it right on the head when she said “the key was… to focus on my relationship with God.” To put it into context, she was struggling in her marriage to love her husband and one day God revealed to her that it wasn’t possible for her to love her husband the way He called her to unless she was abiding in Him. She writes,
As I spent time with God, growing in my knowledge of Him through prayer, Bible study, obedience, and submission, He would fill my life. And because God is love and because He would fill me, His love would also fill me.
When I read that on the 10th of February, I knew that’s exactly where my focus needed to be. I could struggle like I had previously in January to do it on my own, or I could simply give up all striving and focus on my relationship with Jesus.
Though the striving ceased, it was a couple more weeks until I obediently began to put God first. As mentioned earlier, my husband gifted me with a 3-month membership to the gym. And I don’t think it was a coincidence that my father-in-law preached about the importance of giving God first place in your life that very same weekend. In my notes I wrote that I needed to be sure to “start my mornings with Jesus instead of working out or practicing piano.” Unfortunately, good intentions don’t count for anything if you fail to put into practice what you intend to do. I had the desire to get up earlier and give God the first hour of my day, but morning after morning I made excuses and gave in to my desire for more sleep, instead.
It wasn’t until this past Saturday (the 27th) that God convicted me of my disobedience and my need to make Him my first priority each and every morning. Though I had still been reading my Bible and spending time with the Lord, I wasn’t prioritizing Him. I was allowing other things to go before Him and sometimes my days got so busy that I never really got a sufficient quiet time. My prayer life was suffering immensely and I knew it.
In yet another sermon my father-in-law pointed out that our obedience to Christ is a proclamation of our love for Him, as Jesus says in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Yikes, if that wasn’t convicting, I don’t know what was. I knew there were two areas in my life where I needed to submit to God: putting Him first and sacrificing my comfort while handing out tracts.
So finally, I made the commitment to get up at 6:30am, no matter how tired I felt, in order to spend the first hour of my day with Jesus. No gym and no breakfast until I had spent time in His Word and in prayer. Of course it hasn’t been easy, but has it been worth it? Absolutely. And as for handing out tracts, I did finally walk on my fear and hand one out, but I am still in need of great improvement in this area, as well.