This is the first bona fide fall weather weekend we’ve had (and by fall weather, I mean highs below 90), so there could not be a better day than today to spend some time outdoors. A weekend alone at the beach would have been ideal (maybe next time), but today I took the free route and drove out to a small church near the outskirts of town that has incredibly lovely gardens. Thankfully there weren’t any church activities going on at the time, so I was able to find a spot without fear of being interrupted. With the sounds of birds chirping and a water fountain trickling in the background, I sat down with my Bible, journal, notebook and a book I’m currently reading (God’s Joyful Surprise by Sue Monk Kidd).

My daily Bible study is with a one-year Bible, and today’s Old Testament reading was from Isaiah 66. As I sat soaking in the beauty of the garden, I couldn’t help but think that these first couple of verses were quite appropriate to the setting:

This is what the Lord says:

“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Could you build me a temple as good as that?
Could you build me such a resting place?
My hands have made both heaven and earth;
they and everything in them are mine.
I, the L
ord, have spoken!

“I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts,
who tremble at my word.” (Isaiah 66:1, 2)

The New Testament portion of today’s reading proved to be timely as well. It was from Philippians 3, where Paul talks about forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. Aside from just wanting to spend some quiet time outdoors, my main reason for this little getaway was to spend some time dreaming about and planning for the future. Unfortunately, I can easily get caught up in thinking about the past and sometimes find it hard to move on. I needed the reminder from Paul that what lies ahead is far more important.

After my Bible reading, I journaled some goals for myself, some short-term, some long-term (and some that will probably be lifelong goals). I’ve realized lately that there are a lot of things I do in practically every area of my life that are not deliberate. One of my overall, lifelong goals is to live a life that is full of purpose and deliberate thought and action, really taking responsibility for my life and not just letting life “happen”. That’s not to say that I’m in control of my life (God is), but I’ve become lazy in quite a few areas and need to live with more purpose.

With goals set, I then wrote out a long to-do list of projects to be done around my house. One of my major goals for the next year is putting my house on the market, and these projects must get done first. Now that the projects are written down and staring me in the face, that will go a long way toward getting my rear in gear and getting those projects done instead of just thinking about what needs to be done.

I could have easily done all this at home–living alone does have its advantages, including quiet time pretty much whenever I want it. But I knew that it would be so tempting to just veg out on the couch or spend time on the computer instead of spending this time goal-setting and contemplating the future, so getting away to a quiet place definitely helped me focus more. I’m thinking that I should do this goal-setting and evaluating on a more regular basis, at least twice a year or perhaps even quarterly (I could do it when the weather changes each season).

Do any of you ever spend time goal-setting and making plans for the future? Where’s your favorite place to get away and have some quiet time?





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