2014: The Year of Rest

why I'm not setting goals or making resolutions this year


This time of year, the web is abuzz with ways to make and keep New Year’s resolutions. Fitness inspiration, goal-setting worksheets, and cleaning schedules are all created in an effort to help us find practical ways to stick with our goals.



These are all good things…they help us live with purpose and manage our time more effectively to focus on the things that really matter. In year’s past, I too have joined in the goal-setting fun by creating a home management binder, writing down my goals, and downloading various cleaning schedules. In fact, just hours after I finished writing the first draft of this post, my friend Crystal’s new book Say Goodbye to Survival Mode arrived in the mail. Much to my surprise,  I was quoted in Chapter 3 as a success story for how goal-setting has positively impacted my life (which it continues to do)!



But this year, I am resolving to make 2014 a year of contentment and rest.



No resolutions.



No goals.



No cleaning schedules.



No fitness plans.



This might have something to do with the fact that we are getting ready to embark on a major life change in the next 7 weeks that will rock our world for a while. Or maybe it is just because I feel God’s prompting to be still and let Him do the work in me. Or it could possibly be my own laziness cloaked in good intentions. After all, the Good Lord (and my sweet husband) knows that I have many, MANY things that I could work on to improve myself. And everyone knows the best way to make such changes is to create objective, measurable goals…



But I’m throwing that all out the window this year.



I’m going to embrace the person God has created me to be and let the little things go.



I’m going to try my hardest to enjoy this precious time with my kids without the stress of “doing it all” weighing on my shoulders or upholding a schedule that once seemed like a good idea but now feels like a giant burden…making me feel even worse about myself because I can’t even manage to even stick to the goals I meticulously laid out just a few short weeks ago.



The things that really need to be changed in me…the things that really matter (which are not at all related to cleaning schedules or fitness routines), I can’t do myself anyway. These things are matters of the heart (like selfishness, self-centeredness, and pride). Instead of focusing my time and energy on the less-important (but still good) things like fitness plans and an organized house, I’m going to pray that God will etch away a little of the ugliness in me each and every day until I am transformed by His doing, not my own.



After all, when Jesus encountered people who were worn out and exhausted trying to uphold the ridiculously high standards of the Law of Moses, he didn’t hand them a goal-setting worksheet and tell them to try harder.



Nope. He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Mt. 11:28, 30).



A light burden…rest…an easy yoke. Deep breath. Ahhhhhhh.



Isn’t that the way God intended it to be all along? Are the cultural expectations of increased productivity clouding God’s vision for our life…an abundant, restful, content life???



The next time I start feeling that I’m not good enough or not accomplishing enough in this life of mine (which will probably be as early as this afternoon), I’m NOT going to take out a pen and make a to-do list. Instead, I’m going to open the Bible to be refreshed and renewed…rested and revived.



This year will be a year of rest for me. Not literally, of course, as the amount of sleep I get will soon be equivalent to that of a giraffe (which is about 2 hours, in case you were wondering). :)  But a year of rest figuratively, emotionally, and spiritually.



What about you? Could you use a little less guilt and a little more rest???





  1. This a very valuable and timely reminder. I am returning to work tomorrow, after 2 weeks off… feeling stressed that I didn’t accomplish even half of what I had planned to do… telling myself I MUST be more organized in 2014. Your post reminded me of what is really important and what God intends for us. Thank you.

  2. It’s good to hear such a popular mother think these things, it’s so hard to step back & not follow the world around you. As a Christian, I learned a while back that we don’t plan resolutions. To accept God’s will is to accept everything that comes with it. His will I see everyday in my life as a stay at home mom. When each of my kids catch the awful stomach virus, I see his will. There is nothing I could have done in my planned schedule of resolutions that would have avoided this! Instead why not see it as an experience of conversion, learning to be a more patient mother. This year this really did happen & of course the hubby was at the fire station working, This means yes he’s gone all day & not off till the next. I know, I’m thinking the very same thing….is this necessary to learn to be patient!! Why not do this another way? It’s not always easy, but following his will has made me a happier mother, wife, daughter, & friend. After all isn’t he our father, shouldn’t he know what’s best for us?

  3. It’s so neat that you wrote this. I wrote a post on New Year’s Day entitled “I Don’t Have a List of Goals This Year”. And the verse from the book of Matthew you referenced is similar to the one I referenced from John 7:37, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” I’m so glad I came across your post too. It’s very confirming to what the Lord has already spoke to me about this new year. Thanks for sharing!

    Here’s the link to my post in case you’d like to read it: http://www.aromaofhim.com/2014/01/i-dont-have-list-of-goals-this-year.html

  4. This was great…kind of nice to read a post like this in the midst of many other goal-setting ones (that are also good). I’m in a season of life right now where my kids are young, another one is coming and it’s better for me in many ways to throw out the to-do list and just live life to the fullest each day. Yes, we still have a loose “schedule” with things that happen on a weekly basis, and yes, I made my husband agree to one very large goal for this year (which is necessary due to life circumstances coming in the next 18 months) but I think I’ll meditate on Matt 11:28 and 30 with you. Sounds like the less-stress way to go!

  5. Great post, Jenae! Especially as we are expecting soon too (8 days until the due date!). With a newborn I’ve learned it’s so important to just let things go and try to enjoy the moment. I pray I can do it and will pin this post to come back for a reminder. :)

  6. This is a great post. This year I agree I am leaning on the Lord to guide me not tied to resolutions just a new focus on Christ. I picked a few verses to focus on this year that I would love to share. Mainly Matthew 6:33

    Matthew 6:30-33 The Message (MSG)

    30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

    May you seek His rest this year. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Been reading your blog for a while. Our kids are similar ages. I have 3 (5, 3, and 1). I use your ideas for home school with my two oldest.
    It’s been a hard year for me. Some post-pardum stuff.
    It’s so good to hear other mama’s who are saying….”this….all this DOING, is not the stuff that really matters.”
    Praying for you as you REST this year and hoping you find joy in the DOING that you CHOOSE to do. Press on, sister.

    1. I can see I’m way late in reading this. I actually just came across your blog. I LOVE this post. I had a dream the other night. When I awoke from the dream, I heard the words, “keep it simple”. Now this is in the midst of me scouring the internet for curriculum, looking for a new job (husband is now unemployed), raising 3 small kids, being without a car because I was in an accident and totaled our vehicle, and the list goes on and ………on……
      I knew what God was saying to me, but I struggle with trying to be the “super wife & mom”. I have always been super organized and am one of those people that try to DO everything. I’m now tired. Life has caused me to HAVE TO slow down from day to day. I find myself avoiding a lot of homeschool sites lately, because of the temptation to plan for two kids for the entire next school year. I CANNOT DO THIS RIGHT NOW. THERE IS ALOT ON OUR PLATE. So, I’m constantly reminding myself to “KEEP IT SIMPLE”. Keep my homeschool simple. Keep our home life simple. Keep my everything simple. It’s what’s working right now. No goals. No planning. No running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Simply being led by God DAY TO DAY. It is a struggle, but it is absolutely necessary. Thanks for the post. I appreciate it. I hope at the half point of 2014 you are still resting in God. Be blessed!

      1. I am! It has been a wonderfully refreshing year! :) Thank you so much for your kind words and for taking the time to leave a comment!

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