01 February 2016

One Month "Complete": What makes a good day?

And just like that--January is gone. I have tried to live "complete" for one month and have eleven to go. How far have I journeyed? Can the last 31 days be considered a good start to the year?

What did I complete? 

  • I organized and greatly reduced the items we keep at my parents' house in Hawaii.
  • I put together a dresser! (That felt fantastic.)
  • I created my year's journal
  • I read two books. 
  • I had a birthday. (I completed another year of living!)
  • I flew solo with three young kids, 7 check-in bags, and 7 carry-on bags back to Seoul.
Stretching our legs during our layover in Japan

Do these accomplishments mean I had a good month? 
This question takes me to one of my favorite books: Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick. It's a parenting book, and she begins by asking what makes any parenting style "Christian." It cannot be morality because many nonreligious parents still encourage doing the right thing. It cannot even be pleasing or obeying God because many parents of other religions promote the same thing. Her conclusion (which changed my life as a mom) is that Christian parenting must center around Jesus.

Can I expand this a bit?

I've been considering whether my January was a good month, but have I really thought about what would make it "good"? Does my "good" have anything to do with my Christianity? In fact, what do I mean when I say, "I'm having a good day"? If I'm completely honest, it usually means I've been productive and happy. It might mean the kids were behaving and the house is clean. It could mean I had made time to write (which obviously didn't happen in January). My answers here have little to do with Jesus.

One of the ways I aimed to be "complete" in 2016 was to be complete in Christ. Thinking about this now, I see that my "good day" gauge was set on myself, on my own moods and projects. This is not living complete in Christ. If God promises to "work all thing together for good to those who love [Him], to those who are called according to His purpose," then every day should be good--even the difficult ones--because He is for me. And while every day is an opportunity to disciple, to serve, and to learn, it is foremost an opportunity to connect more with God.

Furthermore, how often do I talk about how Jesus impacted my day? It's easier to talk about Him on a longer time scale--a month, a year, a season of life. But in the day? Isn't this how I should measure each day? Ask myself: "How did Jesus walk with me, help me, discipline me, speak love into my life today?" Also: "How did my faith grow? What am I learning about Him? How have I seen Him in our community, in my children, in my marriage?"

So heading into February--I hope to continue focusing on this word because it makes me goal-oriented, but this definition of "good" needs to change in my everyday. There's nothing wrong with being honest, with admitting struggle or success, with labeling a day better or harder than average. But in my own heart and vocabulary, I'm realizing that this simple daily focus has rendered me reliant on accomplishment, health, and peace--rather than on Christ. 

What will I say now when someone asks: "Did you have a good day?"
Well, I'll figure that out and tell you next month, but I hope the question itself will now remind me to recognize, appreciate, and desire Jesus every day. I hope my answer will be based more on faith than circumstance.

Abide in Him,

Are you focusing on one word for 2016? How was your first month?
How do you usually answer the commonplace question "How was your day?"

Related articles you may also appreciate:
Complete: My One Word for 2016
Count: My One Word for 2015
Treasure: My One Word for 2014
Four Reasons to Journal Your Year

1 comment:

  1. Always encouraged and inspired by your insight. :)


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