Happy New Year, reader(s)!
I hope 2010 was a good year for you; it certainly had its moments for me – some fun times with my family, a basement renovation, a bit of headway in my career and a couple of very tangible steps forward in my walk with Christ, for examples.
But it’s hard to believe that 2010 is over already – it
feels like about four months ago that we last pretended to be excited that midnight had arrived.
New Year’s parties don’t really do much for me, but I do like New Year’s resolutions.
I try not to save all of the self-improvement exercises for the turn of the year – new minute’s resolutions are definitely better. But there’s something exciting about the thought of starting a new year on the right foot, so what the hey!
Here are my 2011 New Year’s resolutions, in no particular order:
– Eat less, exercise more: Making and breaking this resolution is an annual ritual for me, so why stop now? Seriously, I’ve gotten out of the habit of walking my dogs, and life is getting pretty ruff for them.
– Spend more time with my extended family: another perennial favourite of mine, because my parents aren’t getting any younger, and they deserve more of me than they’re getting.
– Play more: I spend too much time doing things for my children, and not enough time doing things with them. That Guitar Hero game we got for Christmas is calling my name – not to mention the Garage Band software that came with my spiffy new Macbook, or the dozens of Star Wars toys that are officially Ian’s.
– Blog more: When I started this blog, I was writing three or four times a week. Since then, it’s faded to once a week at most. I’m supposed to be a Christian blogger who writes for magazines and newspapers to pay the bills, not a freelance writer who does a blog in his spare time.
– Give more: Not necessarily financially, although not not financially either. But what I’m talking about here is giving more of my time and talents to things that go beyond family and no-brainer ministries (music, website and newsletter in my case). I’m talking about giving blood, and doing more for mission ministries like Inn From the Cold and the Mustard Seed. I’m sure God will present me with other opportunities to live generously, and I pray I’m open to them when they come my way.
– Study more: My theoretically daily (but actually more like thrice-weekly) 15-minute Bible reading regime, plus my fortnightly Bible study group meetings don’t feel like enough for me. It’s hard to squeeze even this time into my schedule, but I feel like I could be getting more out of study time if I put more time into study.
– Fellowship more: As much as a dislike the use of ‘fellowship’ as a verb, I’ve chosen it here deliberately. By its use, I mean that I want to spend more time hanging out with other Christians, doing things that bring me closer to them and thereby closer to God. I don’t know what this looks like exactly, but maybe some of you do, and will help illuminate this for me.
– Date more: Compared with many couples, Karen and I spend a lot of time alone together – on the couch, after the kids have gone to bed. This is great quality time for me; I don’t see the need to spend money, fight traffic or eat different food to have romantical-type feelings for my beautiful life partner. But I’m aware that this stuff matters to her, and it’s really not much of a sacrifice for me, so what’s holding me back?
– Pray better: Prayer is part of my daily routine, but it often feels like I’m running through a checklist of things to say ‘thanks,’ ‘sorry’ and/or ‘please’ about. Once I get through the checklist – assuming I don’t get distracted and forget to finish – I tend to lose track of what’s really on my heart. I also tend to talk too much and listen too little during prayer.
– Be more of a Mary, and less of a Martha: When people come to visit, I’m all about getting the house clean and having great food ready at the perfect time, then cleaning up the mess. Spending time with my guests is secondary, and those priorities are completely messed up. What’s worse is I’m aware of this, and I get frustrated that I can’t do both!
Well, there you have it. Or a lot of it, anyway. I’m sure I could come up with a dozen or so more areas where my life could use some work. But this is enough – more than enough, actually.
As I look at the list, a theme emerges in all 10 of the items I’ve chosen to include: time. My resolutions all say to spend more time on the things I care about – or should care about.
Time is one thing I don’t have in abundance – as illustrated by the fact I can’t believe 2010 is over already. So what can I do to try to reconcile all of these competing priorities? Nothing. But God can help, if I ask Him. So here goes:
Lord, multiply my minutes like so many fish and loaves and help me to fit in everything You want me to do this year – either that, or help me to discern what You don’t want me to do, and give me the courage to cast it aside without hesitation. Amen!
Peace be with you.