Renewed Intentions: Seeking God’s Voice in Setting Goals for the New Year

Happy New Year! Since a few days have passed between now and January 1st, at times our renewed intentions, goals, and aspirations can start to stray. In education we are blessed with two new years: the start of a new school year and the start of a new calendar year. At both points we have a concrete reminder to ensure that the commission of this work is centered at our core.

Whoever has ears, let them hear. Matthew 11:15

Are you finding time each day  to spend time with God and hear what His intentions are for you this year? Too often I set my own goals and New Year’s Resolutions without specifically seeking his guidance in the process. When we take the additional step to include God’s voice in our goals, the process and product are exponentially better, and the impacts in our work, life, and faith are deeper than have been expected. Below are three ways we can seek to include God in renewing our intentions for the New Year. 


Over winter break my daily routine slowed down significantly. Not needing to get up and get out the door allowed a little more time in my mornings to sit in stillness. While it can be hard to initially start seeking stillness, the results of this time are well worth the process. I utilize my morning ritual to include time for stillness and prayer. When we eliminate distractions such as TV, social media, email, or the knocks on the door and demands from others, we will find ourselves available to hear what God has been trying to say through the static and noise of our day to day routines and responsibilities. 

A way to visualize this time and God’s intentions is through journaling. Sentence starters such as the following, when surrounded with silence, provide us  time and our minds space to fill in the blanks.

  • Lord, I feel You are leading me towards…
  • Lord, I am grateful for this work in my life…….
  • An area I feel You are calling me to work with (or through) now is……
  • Lord, I am leaning on You through this season and circumstance…….


By reflecting on God’s goodness and faithfulness we can identify concrete ways that He sees and supports us through whatever we are going through. 


Meditation on His Word is a clear way to seek the Lord’s guidance for the work we are committing to in the new year. So often when I feel lost, confused, or unsure of the next step a verse will come to me at the exact moment I need it. Having a senior in high school this year, I committed to reading the Bible in a year and journaling notes for my son that I can gift him as he graduates. More often than I can count, when I am struggling with something, the verses I am scheduled to read speak to me so clearly it seems like they were written directly for me!

Do you need a place to start? Try subscribing to Christian Educators Daily Devotionals. are posted every day and not only provide a verse, but a reflection from educators that can help you see perspective and maybe a clearer path for your own questions and reflections.  


As a former music therapist, I know the absolute power music can have on our thoughts, feelings, and interactions. In a different way, but similar to scripture, a chorus or verse to a song can hit me in such a clear way that it is hard to turn away. In 2023 I was two weeks into the new calendar year and had given up trying to find my #OneWord for 2023. One Word is a framework to choose a word as an intention or commission for the new year. Previous years I had used the following: Balance, Better, Focus, No, Elevate, Rest, and Reset. While I had started to write off not using this process this year I heard a song with the following lyrics. 

Teach me how to hear Your voice

And filter out all other noise

Lord, I pray, have Your way

God, I submit

God, I submit to You

Whatever it takes

That’s what I’ll give

Oh God, I submit to You

Ooh, ooh


Submit! How had I missed it? What an incredible intention in the season of loss, grief, and confusion I am  going through. So for 2023 I will work on daily intentional actions of submitting to Him. How this works for me is I have added a piece to my morning habit of journal time that includes the following prompt: 

  • What will I submit to the Lord today, and 
  • What might I receive in turn?


Through stillness, scripture, and song, I hope that you are able to find time soon to sit with God and review His intentions in your work, life, and commission for the new year.

Jessica Cabeen

Jessica Cabeen is the Principal for Alternative Educational Program in Austin, Minnesota. She was the 2021 ED Dive National Principal of the year and In 2017 she was awarded the Minnesota National Distinguished Principal. Jessica is the author of Hacking Early Learning, Lead with Grace, Unconventional Leadership, and co-authored Balance Like A Pirate. When not at bus duty or checking in with students and teachers in classrooms and the hallways she speaks at schools, districts and conferences about leadership, learning, and how to balance everything in-between.

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CE Summer Bible Study

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