The year 2020 has been an exhausting year, despite the lack of travel and plans. Thankfully, it’s now drawing to an end-can we just skip thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas and 20201?!
It’s just about time to start thinking about areas in life we want to focus on in 2021. I know the Lord has a lot of growth planned for me, and I need to be sure all my goals align with the Word.
Keeping Jesus the center of our homeschool is what keeps us going. It is His grace that tells me, “we can do this.” I know He has called us to where we are because His plans work for the good of all His people.
Consider the Biggest Challenges in 2020
The pandemic environment has challenged circumstances in new ways. Many of us have experienced some level of financial impact, most have found it mentally exhausting, and others physically or spiritually challenging. I’m thinking about what challenges I have faced the most, and putting them in order of priority. Then prayerfully considering what steps I can take to go for growth in 2021.
*What I do know, is that circumstances should not determine our joy. We can still have joy in the midst of struggle or unrest, because *we* rest in the Lord. In a sermon I once heard, “rest isn’t a state of being, it is a state of mind.” Where there is peace, there is God. Period. So anywhere we want to grow, or change, we need Jesus.
Mental and Spiritual Growth
With all the turmoil of 2020, it’s understandable that we have felt a bit more anxious, even without really knowing it. If this sounds familiar, then perhaps start focusing on more time in the Word. I know that I feel much more at peace without even trying, when I spend more time in my Bible and praying. The night of the 2020 general election, I tossed and turned all night long, not really knowing I was anxious about the election. Evidentially, I was, proven by my lack of sleep.
The next day I spent a lot of time praying, talking to the Lord, and working in my journaling Bible.
There are so many ways to practice calmness (prayer) and mindfulness (being present and not worrying). Turns out, adult coloring books are proven to help with mindfulness; I especially enjoy this one. I like to work in it at night while having time with my 2 oldest kiddos after the littles are in bed. My oldest daughter is 10, and has really enjoyed her Beautiful Word NIV Coloring Bible for Girls. We will have a review of that coming, soon!
Usually during my devotion time with Jesus, the Lord reveals a word for my life that I need to focus on that year. It is typically in a Bible verse that really speaks to me, or during prayer. So I look forward to that.
Physical and Health Growth
Hopefully, in 2021 everyone will be back to hitting the gym, and enjoying their regular activities and group sports. Outdoors, there are all kinds of affordable and fun exercise options for people of all ages and fitness levels. We especially enjoy walking in our woods this time of year, when the ticks and mosquitoes are gone. We school year round, even during the hot summer afternoons, so that we can take fall mornings off and play outside.
Walking daily is one of my favorite activities-I started this in August of 2019 and have kept with it, minus a few exceptions with bad weather. Walking outside is one of the very best mental and physical health things we can do for ourselves!
Getting out of debt is always a popular New Year’s resolution– I don’t love “resolutions” because they always seem to fail. It’s probably going to be more popular than ever in 2021 to start paying off bills or selling excess to help pay for things. Sadly that means it’ll almost certainly be a target for scammers- be on the lookout for the Debt to Success System scam. This is when people try to pass off unproven debt-management systems for the legitimate Debt to Success System.
Something like Dave Ramsey’s System is very popular among Christian circles, and can be done easily. We use his envelope system, but with connected bank accounts instead of cash envelopes.
If finances are in order, then think about your financial growth. This is often connected with your personal growth goal. For example, I would *love* to plan a no spend month where we literally spend no money, except maybe gas for visiting friends. Could you set yourself up as a freelancer or start your own business? There are still plenty of opportunities if you put in the work for them.
Saving money and organizing finances doesn’t have to compromise your standard of living. In fact, it can improve it and help you destress by knowing things are organized, even if they’re tight. For example, changing from prepared foods to home-cooked foods can save you money, improve your health, and cut back on packaging/trash.
You could also try bringing some (more) real greenery into your home. Caring for indoor plants doesn’t require the same level of fitness as outdoor gardening. It does, however, have similar mental health benefits.
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