This morning I forgot what day of the week it was. If it weren’t for school and the few activities my kids are in each week, I may never remember the dates as the year rolls on with no clear differentiation between one 24-hour period and the next. At times, life can seem rote and mundane.

My forgetfulness isn’t because I don’t have things to do; in fact, if you haven’t heard we’re writing a book. WE’RE. WRITING. A. BOOK. And after having four deadlines this summer and, now, looming edits due to our editor (the second of which just passed, thank you, Jesus), I feel extra pressure to put my head down and whittle away at stories a little at a time. Sometimes I forget the joy, the magnitude of seeing a dream fulfilled with the pressure to actually do the work that it takes to finish the project. (Dreams have a way of being way more work than you ever imagined, who knew?)

And I’ve come to realize I do this a lot in life. Head down. Eyes focused straight ahead. Goal-oriented. Not that I don’t experience any joy in life, I certainly do. But I’m much more caught up in the day-to-day tasks and crossing things off my to-do list than I am in spending time thinking about the big picture.

Last week I had a conversation that sparked that very idea. I started talking with someone about my son, who came to be a part of our family when he was just going into third grade, the same grade that my daughter is now in. I mentioned how fast time goes when kids enter school, and how my son is now a ninth grader in high school. (Am I even old enough to have a child in high school?!? Clearly, yes. I am.) Immediately my mind thought of all that he has accomplished, all the labels that have been erased from his file. How well he now does in school (with just a little push from us), what good friends he has, and how he often talks of his future and even college.

And it felt, just for a moment, as though I lifted my head to see the big picture. To see the good that happens over time, even in the midst of the everyday hard. A reminder of the joy children bring to our lives, even while and along with the work they bring.

Like most of us have learned, anything worth having takes effort and time and expense. Battles are hard-fought. Sometimes we get discouraged by where we are at, but can I offer you some encouragement today? Look up.

Lift your gaze to the big picture. Step back from all your daily work, for just a moment, and remember why you do what you do.

Remember why you married that person. Or had these children. Remember why you took that job or started that career. It’s the beginning of a new year, a time to reflect and remember and even to dream anew.

What are you hoping in this new year, friends?

My prayer is that you would strive for what’s important, let go of what’s not, and pursue all that is beyond even your wildest dreams.

This year, let’s once again commit to be girls who try.