I haven't spent much time on the internet lately, but in my brief browsing I notice that there seems to be a lot of anti-New Year's resolutions sentiment out there. Personally, I have always liked the idea of looking back on the old, assessing my life, and then looking ahead to the new year. Starting fresh, aspiring to do better, putting my stumblings behind me and pressing on...these are all ideas that I like!
So, I have been thinking about what I want to change and what I want to accomplish in the upcoming year. Of course, there are the usual eat-healthier, exercise-more, yadda, yadda thoughts that go through my mind, but really, that is not what inspires me this year. What I have been thinking on most is about how can I serve God better? What can I do to draw closer to Him? I want to know Him better, spend more time in His Word. So, to accomplish this I will definitely be doing a reading schedule that will have me completing the entire Bible in one year. (I am even contemplating accelerating the schedule so that I go through it twice.) Now, the trick to this is to not let it become a chore, or something that I just go through the motions on. Let me be honest, I can not tell you how many times I catch my mind wandering when I am reading the Bible. Suddenly, I will realize that I have read an entire page, but I have not digested a word of it because I am planning a meal or thinking of something that needs to be added to the grocery list! GRRRRR! I want to really focus and read the Bible purposely.
Another thing that I want to improve on this year is my burden for others. It is all too easy to become consumed with my own busy life and my small sphere of community and to forget there is a big, vast world out there of people...many who have no hope and have not heard the Gospel. Lately I have been reading a lot about other countries and their needs. Here in America, we have a church on every corner. Granted, there are many, many needy people right here, and I am not shutting my eyes or my heart to them. However, if someone in the good old USA wants to know more about God, they could buy a Bible at any bookstore. They could choose from a plethora of local churches to seek spiritual guidance. I don't want to ignore the needs of those around me, but I want to be ever mindful of the fact that most people do not live with the freedoms and affluency that I am accustomed to. I want to open to the possibility that God might want to use me to share His love with them. In the very least, I can pray for their needs.
A third area that has weighed heavily on my mind is my squandering of gifts that I feel I have left undeveloped. I want to be ready and able to serve in any small way that I can. There is a parable in the Bible about a man who gives 3 of his servants different amounts of money (called talents). Two invest their talents wisely and earn praise because they can give their master the dividends they have earned. Therefore the master entrusts them with more. The third servant buries his talent in the ground and only gives back to his master, exactly what he was given. Because of this, the master takes his one talent from him and gives it to the others who will use it wisely. What skills, abilities, aptitudes has God given me that I have not been improving or developing? Will there be a need in the future that I will not be able to assist in because I have not been diligent with what God has blessed me? There are two specific areas that immediately come to mind: music and language. I have not been diligent in practicing my instruments. I have had a piano and guitar for years. I have also acquired a violin and flute more recently. I look back on the last 10-20 years and realize that I would be fairly competent with the piano and guitar if I had just spent 15 minutes a day on each one. Right now, the church we attend abounds with musical talent, but what if one day our family were to be moved and the fellowship had no one who could help out with the singing by playing an instrument?? How sad and disappointing if my lack of diligence might leave a need unfilled! As for languages, well, I have studied both German and Spanish, as well as sign language. I am conversant in none because I have not used any of them in years. Think of all the thousands, or even millions of people out there who do not speak English. What doors might open if I were to take the time to be competent in another language or two? I don't have to go far...there is a large hispanic community right where I live.
So these are three major areas that I hope to improve in 2007. It will require discipline and diligence. It will also probably require that I set up some semblance of a schedule. I will need to get out of the bed earlier (ugh!) and I will need to piddle away less time on the internet.
Oh, and of course, I have the usual goals too: Be a better wife and mom. Be more patient and kind. Be more focused on home schooling my kids. Unclutter and dejunk. Live with less stuff. Manage my money better. Finish my 101 unfinished sewing, knitting, crocheting, needlepointing projects, etc.
I also want to eat healthier and exercise more! ;-D