I started listening to Ann Voskamp’s book ONE THOUSAND GIFTS again tonight. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone over it in the past, and yet it still speaks to me.

With her words rolling once again on my mind I sit in bed tonight thinking of goals, life, how I have struggled a lot recently. And I hear this voice, “struggling is a choice”.

Now I know there can be various circumstances, physical, mental, and external, causes for personal struggle. And I don’t want to condemn or judge anyone. But there comes a time when we choose to continue to struggle instead of pursuing a better way.

It was as if a load was lifted.

I can choose to say, “I’m struggling” and that is why I can’t or don’t do those things I want to do. Those habits I want to create. Those goals I want to crush. And by doing so I am hindering my progress when I hide behind my struggle. Or I can make the choice to stop struggling.

It’s all a choice.

I can choose joy, gratitude, victory. I can choose to live a fuller life, better than I was yesterday and still reaching for a greater version of myself.

I take my notebook in hand, one that is filled with thanks, goals, wishes from a friend, memories and yet, has blank pages left to fill. With pen in hand I start to list my goals. I break them down in to categories, spiritual, physical, financial and relational.

In her book Ann casually mentions her “prayer bench”. And everytime I have heard this, I want one. Not a bench specific, but a special place for prayer. I have never created this place. This place of medition, of prayer, of quiet. A place where God and I meet. This is a goal I am going to actively seek. I will find a place, a chair, a corner of my home that is my “bench”.

I have a goal to be fit. To me, this is toned muscles, not big, but toned. To have physical endurance and the strength to handle what is necessary. (Not sure how to quantify that)

Debt free is my financial goal. A new vehicle with cash? Add ons to the house. Paying off overdue school lunch cards and random monetary acts of kindness with out thought of my bank account.

And relationally, I want to be an exceptional wife, a friend that listens, is aware of needs and makes the load a little lighter. Not too busy and caught up in my own life.

Big goals that are possible. They create responsibility, especially since they are now spoken. Goals that can become reality starting with one choice. The choice to stop struggling. To stop using that excuse to remain unfulfilled. And instead, to choose to live, to conquer, to acheive, to have joy, to worship, to learn, to grow, to give thanks for each step of the way, to give myself grace, to accept God’s help. For it is only with his help, these choices can be made.