Are the pages on your calendar turning as quickly as mine? Here we are in mid July and 2012 is halfway over. I’m afraid the date on my driver’s license, a chat with my doctor, conversation with family and friends, and a look in the mirror all remind me that the years of my life are moving along more quickly then I care to admit. There are things I want to accomplish as I make the most of the coming days, relationships to cultivate, and experiences to share with those I love. Yet, I don’t want to find myself so caught up in activities that I miss simple pleasures and the joy life offers. When I come to the end of my days, I want to know I did my best to use my time well and fully live the life God designed for me. While speaking to a group recently about finding balance in life, I was reminded once again how well-intended goals can get thrown off track by life’s activities and demands. Sometimes by major life shifts and other times by the day-to-day activities and pressures that challenge our best-laid plans. Perhaps you can relate. The scenario looks something like this: we welcome in a new year with a blend of enthusiasm and hope as we set goals. Then, armed with ‘to do’ lists, off we go. We buy memberships to fitness centers and purchase the latest diet books and personal organizers. We declare war on clutter and vow to be more diligent in our time of worship. Instead of grabbing whatever we find in the fridge, we turn off the television and gather around the dining table for a healthy dinner and family connection. We develop a budget to get our financial house in order, and we read about living a balanced life. We’re off to a great start. Then the demands of life threaten to take over our schedules and good intentions. Our focus shifts as distractions draw us off course. Even positive opportunities can threaten an already full agenda. We grab more fast food between activities, and we find less time for exercise and spiritual nourishment while we struggle to find opportunities to connect with family and friends. Our financial house is not quite so orderly and we’ve forgotten what that concept of “balance” means. The “want to’s” are getting lost as the “have to’s” take over. If we’re not careful, we find ourselves moving through our days either running as fast as we can to get everything done, going in circles without a clear sense of direction, going through the motions yet finding little pleasure, or overloaded, overworked, overwhelmed, and burned out. Whew! Now here it is, midway through 2012, and time for a personal inventory. Consider these questions as you take note of how you are moving along your life journey. We’ve looked at them before and now, perhaps, it’s time for another annual review to see if there’s a need for any adjustments. (1) What do you envision overall for your life? Now, are you bringing that vision to light or hiding it in the dark? (2) Have you set realistic goals to reflect that sense of purpose? Are they attainable for you at this point in the year, if you stretch yourself reasonably? Are they consistent with your personal values and priorities? Do you believe you can reach them? (3) Are you on course to accomplish your goals? If not, what adjustments will you make? (4) Are there obstacles impeding your progress? What will you do to clear the path? (5) What support resources will you turn to for encouragement and accountability as you move forward through this year, committed to building the life you envision? Years from now, when we look back on 2012, will we be pleased with how we approached life and how we managed our time, energy, and the opportunities before us? That’s my personal renewed commitment and I offer it as a challenge to you. What do you envision for your life? Now, what will you do to let that light shine as you step into the days ahead? Nancy Williams, LPC is a licensed professional counselor, life coach, speaker, and author of “Secrets to Parenting Your Adult Child” (Bethany House, 2011). Send questions or comments to her at www.nancywilliams.net.

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