By Amy Pentimone
Did you start the new year with some goals? Perhaps you were looking for a fresh start as the calendar moved into 2020, or to get back into the groove with your regular (pre-holiday?) schedule.
As homeschooling families, sometimes it can feel like a juggling act to keep track of everything. When the Christmas season arrives, there’s even more to handle (as if you didn’t already have enough). Welcome to gift-shopping, cookie-making, extended family gatherings — perhaps even traveling — all right in the middle of the school year. “Winter break” can feel more like a whirlwind propelling us all towards a new year rather than a break. It’s no wonder that when January 1st approaches, we’re ready for a reset. For many, a “fresh start” means a list of “New Year goals,” to get back on track and move forward with new resolve.
It’s certainly helpful to take time to refocus. If we’ve gotten so caught up in all there is to do, pausing to look for the big picture, remember where we’re headed, and make a plan of action can be vital.
And yet, here at the end of January, many people are discouraged when they feel their new plans haven’t come to fruition as hoped. Perhaps our plans were overly ambitious. Perhaps the goals we focused on weren’t realistic in light of who we are as a family. Perhaps we put too much hope in our goals. For a variety of reasons, rather than aiding us in forming new, helpful habits, goals can feel like a discouraging, distant memory by the end of January.
As January comes to a close, are you among those wondering what happened to your new year goals? Are you wondering where you’ll find the endurance to push through for a strong end to another school year? Do you feel like you’re not doing enough or not doing well enough as you seek to educate your children, meet their needs, and disciple their hearts?
If so, you may want to take a moment to refocus — not on any plans you started the year with, although those have a place. Instead, take any discouragement you might feel as a reminder to refocus on the real goal — walking closely with Jesus and pointing our children to Him.
Each morning we wake up essentially the same person we were the night before (and that’s why our plans and goals don’t always come to fruition!), but the mercy of the Lord is new. Where our goals may seem to have been unfulfilled, the grace of God continues to strengthen and renew. New year plans are a wonderful opportunity, not to pull ourselves up by our own proverbial bootstraps, but to fix our sight again on Jesus. Let your heart find renewal and focus in remembering the Gospel, a Savior who carries our loads for us, and our “simple” purpose — to walk with Him.
Today, there is hope for you and your children and the plans you are forming for your week or year. That hope, as always, is Jesus.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV