Well, with December nearing to a close and 2014 just round the corner, it’s the annual time for us to think about the year gone and determine that this is the year we would do all those things that we didn’t do this year. (insert cynical voice here!! :)). I gave up on actually writing out New Year’s Resolutions last year, because they just don’t work for me. It’s all nostalgia and hype that lasts for two weeks, and then reality and excuses kick in and they get buried in the back of my mind, with all motivation gone. I do, however, like going into a year with specific things I want to do, learn, or explore, and reevaluate my priorities.
This week I’ve been thinking how I’d look at all the different aspects of my life – physical, spiritual, emotion/personality, socially, academically, in talents, etc.; how I would determine my priorities, and then actually do them! That got me thinking, how could I intentionally do this from a biblical perspective, rather than just what I want to do and what I deem as priority. What things does God say are important?
From there, I started thinking about God’s priorities, and what that looks like. I then took those priorities, and worked in with them the things I want to do and already spend my time and energies on. I’m sure there is some room for improvement, but so far, this is how it’s working out.
Focusing on God – this has to come first. ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength’. This is the foundation for all we do – if something we believe or do doesn’t fit into loving God, then it shouldn’t be there. I want to grow closer in my relationship with God by reading the Bible, knowing his word off by heart, praying, and simply worshipping him.
Christ-likeness, or character – these are my values, motives, and actions.
Competence is simply ‘doing things well’ – Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, ‘whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might’ – basically, do it to tell the story of God. It means living with excellence, which is obeying the dominion mandate from Genesis 1:28 to take dominion over the whole world. Developing my talents and exploring skills and knowledge fits into this category.
Loving others and joining community – right after God said to love him with everything we’ve got, he said to love others like we love ourselves. In a similar vein, I want to be with people more, join community events, and invest in them, because I think that actively interacting with people and getting involved in life is how God wants us to live as Christians in the world.
After I listed those areas, I started to think about the specifics of those areas, both ones I am already doing, and things I need to pull back on track. For example, I am already learning piano (which would go into the competency category), but memorising scripture has kind of fallen off the radar a bit (focusing on God). I’m already doing a lot of the things I wrote down, but as I saw how those things had purpose, because they were fitting into one of the above categories, it gave me a motivation to either pick them up again, or to do them well. From there, as I wrote them down, I also thought about how I could practically make it all happen.
To memorise scripture, I’m going to dig up a book we have on my kindle with 52 verses to memorise, and use my memory verse app on my phone for reminders to practice.
To learn more about economics and finance, I’ve listed a David Ramsey book to do just that, and there are some opportunities coming up to put it into practice.
To improve as a cook, I’m going to find a certain number of recipes to work through (number to be decided!)
And on and on… I thought about what my talents are, skills to develop, academic subjects to explore, character qualities to dig into, my health and fitness, Bible studies and other activities to do with others, how I can specifically love certain people, and things we are planning to do as a family. It took me a few hours to do, and the first typed draft is about four pages long! But I think it’s worth it. For me, it’s tangible and achievable – I can think about the things I’d like to do and how I’m actually going to do it. I’ve looked at all the different areas of my life, and thought about how I can be intentional. But more than that, it’s giving me a solid reason why for doing those things, and hopefully, a motivation to live purposefully and diligently the whole year through.
Have you set goals or New Year’s resolutions for 2014? What are they, and how are you going to do them?