Over the past couple of weeks, Eric and I have made various small changes to our lives and every so often he will whisper, “restore.” When he does, I feel a sense of hope and excitement about what is to come and that is a welcome change from the dread I feel when I watch the news or scroll through social media. It is not that Eric and I have a lot to complain about or that we are hanging on by a thread, but as with any couple who has been married for a while, life has brought challenges. Our hope for the year is that we can discover the broken places in our relationship, home, lives, friendships, and relationship with God and work towards healing and restoration.
Thump, Thump, Thump…
We can look at our lives as a tire. Unless our tires are properly filled and round, they will not fulfill their intended purpose. Most areas can be full and working well, but brokenness in one or two places can cause the whole tire to go flat. If you have ever had a flat tire, you know what follows is a short and bumpy ride. If my bank account is full, my relationship with Eric is peaceful, and my home is clean and ordered, I am still not working at full capacity if there is turmoil in my friendships. And if my relationships are all wonderful but I ignore my calling and dreams, I am still missing an important element.
While we are in these frail, human bodies, we will always have something in our lives which needs attention. Rich men go on diets. Successful career people still look for love and companionship. If you are like me, you look far ahead into the future and hope. Hopefully, in ten years we will have met this financial goal. Hopefully, when we reach our silver anniversary, we will be in a happier place than we are now. Hopefully, when life slows down a bit, we will be able to spend more time with friends. But, as last year’s theme suggests, we must be intentional to meet our goals in life; and if restoration is a goal, it starts with intentionality.
In our initial post this year, we recommended making a list of areas in your life which need restoration. If you made that list, you can use it for the following exercise. If not, you can start a list now. After you create your list, organize it into the following categories:
What are elements I want to restore in my:
- Romantic relationship?
- Interests and hobbies?
- Personal dreams and goals?
- Health (physical, mental, and emotional)?
- Relationship with Christ?
Add at least one restoration goal into each category. Some of your restoration goals will be small and that is good. Small wins inspire bigger wins. If every goal is huge, you may become discouraged on your journey if it takes too long to meet it.
After filling out your list, begin prioritizing them. In categories which have more than one goal, prioritize them from most important to least important (or more time sensitive to least time sensitive). From there, create a plan of action for your most desired goal in each category. As you begin restoring areas of your life, write down each victory. Nothing is too small. I finally painted the bedroom. I organized my spice cabinet. I called an old friend and apologized for something, and then we talked an hour. I memorized two Scripture verses this week.
What Is Already Working Well in Your Life?
In addition to listing and prioritizing areas which need growth or healing, also list the parts of your life which are working well for you. Be thankful for them and keep them working as close to 100% as possible. Show appreciation to the people in your life. Keep a thankfulness journal. All too often we ignore the “working” areas to focus on the squeaky wheels, but we are not doing ourselves any favors if we restore one important aspect of our lives while neglecting another aspect.
As I consider what I want to restore in my life this year, I feel a mixture of excitement and dread. The dread comes from fear of the unknown. How much energy is this going to cost me? What painful changes might I have to make to restore the broken places in my life. But… excitement also comes from the possibilities. What joy will come from being in emotional and physical health? Which relationships will I enjoy more once I humble myself and work through the rough spots? What will God show me in my walk with Him when I actively prioritize my spiritual life?
With each small movement towards overall restoration, we gain hope which encourages us to keep reaching for more. The project may not be finished for years, but each day we can put in a little more and conquer one small goal after another. Before long, the chrome is shining again. The upholstery looks like new, and the engine purrs. A restored vehicle is the sum of a hundred small restorations.
What can you do today to begin the restoration process in the areas you listed? This week? This month?