What I Learned in 2014

Last year, I lived my 25th trip around the sun, and finished it celebrating my 25th birthday. If I live to be 85, then 30% of my life is done. With that in mind, I asked God what He wanted me to do last year--what word He wanted me to focus on. I invested in a system called PowerSheets, an amazing planning tool for thinking through your life, getting vision for your goals, and then making time to pursue them. I imagined myself at 80 looking back on my life, and put the goals I’d need to reach that vision in my heart into words, and then turned those words to actions for each month. Quietly, the word “intentional” settled in my heart.

Last year, 2014, was a year of being intentional. In true Tori-fashion, I imagined an intentional 2014 being filled with accomplishing some big, grand goals: losing 30 lbs, running my first 5k, writing a blog post every day, planning meals each week and making them happen every day, getting enough sleep each night, spending many hours with the Lord each week, keeping a clean home and finishing some major home projects. I expected to mentor many young women, teach about relationships, paint every week and send hand-written cards to friends. I planned to work many hours furthering Christ’s kingdom at work, serve Peter with at least 5 hours at a week attending practices, and manage social media for WorshipArts, my church, and myself. I wanted to spend lots of time staying in touch with my girl friends, and make many handmade Christmas gifts. I would spend time with my husband, our friends, and our family. That would be a truly intentional, focused year! (Nevermind the fact all that stuff would probably take 30 hours a day...)

At the end of December, I was feeling downright discouraged. I really hadn’t done half of the things I had wanted. I know I had a lot I wanted to achieve, but had I really chosen laziness so often? Was I really not capable of achieving at least a little more? Had I thrown my “intentional” year out the window?

So I sat down and looked back. I looked at each month with my calendar, Instagram and Facebook open. I spent over five hours carefully looking over how I spent my time...and slowly, I realized: The Lord knew better. It wasn’t about an intense “intentionality” list. It was about intentionally believing truth.

Truth like Lara Casey says, “Done is better than perfect,” and "Progress not perfection." Truth like some months all I did was WorshipArts, and others I didn’t do any WA and instead I poured into tons of relationships. Or other months I traveled, and didn’t really connect with family too often--until the next few months, when I never left town but instead poured into family and into church.

Or this huge truth: I don’t need to beat myself up for my choices. Like I would do sometimes when I choose to spend evenings with Peter playing a video game, laughing and connecting with him after a long day, instead of getting more sleep or doing those chores I was behind on. Or I would when I wouldn’t write at all--because I was too busy helping getting information ready for the next season of WorshipArts, or a big church event, or I used up all my words with some great conversations with dear friends. Or when I only listened to worship music on the way to work that day, and didn’t do a longer devotional time (because my day was packed...serving people.)

Last year I started to genuinely learn how much I can actually do, and that it’s okay to just choose the ONE best thing for that moment. Because that’s really all we can do--one thing at a time.

After spending those hours pouring over my time, my heart lifted. I realized I had lived a very intentional year: I did the things God called me to do. I loved Him, and I served people.


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