Friday, January 11, 2008

I resolve . . .

So I know it's a little late for New Year's Resolutions, but I've been thinking about things recently.

Now, I love the holiday season. It is such a cheerful thing in the midst of a dreary, cold season. Families carve out time to all gather together. Friends dust off address books and send cards over the miles. Neighbors give each other cookie plates. Strangers smile and offer holiday greetings. It is a time of connection, relaxation, and fun. For all the work and time that goes into decorating, shopping, wrapping, writing, baking, cooking, cleaning, planning, and so on, it provides a special blessing to all involved in serving and giving to others.

BUT, it does tend to lead to a sort of Mardi Gras atmosphere of grab-all-the-gusto. We eat more than we should, spend more than we should, work less than we should (I would say "sleep more than we should", but I really think we are sleep deprived most of the time), and all our good habits and intentions go flying out the window, for a week or so. Okay, if this doesn't speak for you, then let it speak for me!

Then comes New Years: a refreshing re-start button on our calendar, and thus our lives. A time to make promises to do better with the time, things, people, mind, heart, and body that God has given us. So, I will try to make a fresh start while keeping these two things in mind:

1. God does not need us to wait for a calendar date or time of day to repent and do better. In fact, He wants us to turn as soon as we see what we have been doing is futile and not glorifying to Him. To follow His will, we will probably have to do quite a lot of turning over the course of a year!

2. It is impossible to achieve anything worthwhile without God's strength and guidance each step of the way. Perfection is vain (both impossible and self-glorifying) and should not be attempted, except in the step-by-step shadowing of what we see God's will leading us to do.
* * *
Resolution #1: To grow in a passionate and dependant relationship with God. I want to crave His word, ache for time with Him in prayer, and savor His presence, guidance, wisdom, and working in my life, and to do so with my husband.
Proverbs 31: 10-12

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

How: This resolution is probably the hardest, most essential, least concrete, and most long lasting (meaning it will probably be a goal for the rest of my life). It will require a commitment to make time with God a priority, both alone and with James. I find that when I surround myself by books, songs, lessons, and people that will encourage me in this, I can light my fire with their passion. My problem is lack of fuel to keep the fire burning after my fire is lit! This, I think, will come from harder work and more diligence to my first commitment - and prayer for continued passion! Anyone wanting to volunteer for the job of holding me accountable is welcome to apply!

Resolution #2: To move my family towards better health by providing wholesome foods and encouraging activity.

Proverbs 31: 15, 17

She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

How: I plan to get back into the habit of planning my weekly meals, adding additional habits of eating healthier replacement foods (7-grain oatmeal granola from scratch rather than the store-bought bars, etc.), staying committed to going to Curves, taking longer walks with Titus, and finding activities that we enjoy that will keep us moving (much easier to do in the summer).

Resolution #3: To reevaluate the stuff in our life once again and give away, throw away, or sell our excess (I've actually made a little progress on this one in the first 11 days of the year!).

Proverbs 31: 18, 20

She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

How: I have divided our home and things into zones: books, clothes, cupboards, storage, papers, closets, etc. And I have decided to tackle each zone or sub-zone (textbooks, clothes in the dresser) one at a time, in small, finishable projects. This one should be satisfying!

Resolution #4: To prepare for the future by getting insured, saving, investing, and assembling an emergency kit.

Proverbs 31: 21

When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in sc

How: Similar to #3, I plan to do one thing at a time, even buying an item for the emergency kit with each grocery list, and making a budget and sticking to it!

Resolution #5: To make at least one scrapbook page of pictures each week and finish my wedding album!

Proverbs 31:13

She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.

How: I will use the one night that James will have a late class to claim the dining room table. I will try to keep ahead of myself by printing and gathering photos ahead of time and jotting down future ideas for my pages.

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