Here we are again. The calendar has marched on to the start of a new year. 2015 was immensely busy for us; so much so that it really feels like we just celebrated the end of 2014. Like water under a bridge, the days slid past us. I’m acutely aware that, even as I type this, the moments of this infant year are meandering under that bridge. We’ll blink, and it will be time yet again for costumes and turkey and snowmen and presents and noisemakers and another post about another new year.
I suppose this is also a time for making resolutions, though I approach doing so with trepidation. My natural tendency is to dive headlong into things with an over-zealous “can do” attitude — then fizzle out about mid-February. I must combat this, or I’ll ever feel like a failure. (Anyone else struggle with accepting grace in failure? I suspect I’m not alone in this one.) In my thirties, I’ve established (what I feel is) a helpful way to evaluate the year past and resolve to make small adjustments in the coming months. There are two big steps to this process, though the second step is composed of quite a few smaller steps.
- Select a word for the year. Often this is rooted in a Scripture and is tied to something about which the Spirit has convicted me.
- Evaluate what I see as my four main areas for growth: spiritual, physical, intellectual/emotional, and relational. Did I find success in meeting my goals for the ending year? How do I need to tweak these? Or do I need to set entirely new goals? My “word of the year” factors into most of these sectors, to varying degrees.
Typically, I begin this process around Christmas Day. There is much reflection, reading of Scripture, and praying that happens. The goal, of course, is to set goals that grow me in ways that ultimately glorify the Lord. For 2016, the Lord has drawn my attention to Matthew 22:36-40:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
My word for 2016: LOVE
During the second half of 2015, I struggled to love — in part, due to challenging emotional circumstances that have surfaced, but mostly because I was a ping-pong ball in the way I sought the Lord. My self-discipline in most things turned drastically downward. I’m taking this fresh year as an opportunity to reset my course, thankful that the Lord drew my attention to my folly and helped to give clarity regarding these new, continued, or tweaked structures for a new year.
daily reading time using a chronological Bible reading plan
daily prayer and journaling time
extended time with the Lord on Saturday
heart-care regarding the aforementioned emotional challenge*
daily rotation of at-home, body weight exercises
strict adherence to a diet that excludes grain, dairy, and sugar**
strict consistency in all treatments
Intellectual / Emotional
create and complete 2016 reading list
complete first draft of novel
limit screen time and remove Facebook from phone
write an encouraging note to a specific person (weekly; not by text)
pray more actively for those in my spheres of contact
*The time spent receiving heart-care will undoubtedly affect my well-being and growth in all four of these areas — an my ability to love those around me.
**If you’re looking for paleo meal and snack ideas, visit my Pinterest board that is dedicated mostly to that end.
I don’t feign that these resolutions will be the answer to all of my self-discipline problems, but I firmly believe that the answer to that issue lies in seeking the Lord more diligently. It has been my experience that being disciplined in that one regard produces the fruit of additional discipline in other areas of life. I also believe that each of these resolutions (yes, even the first draft one!) will grow me in loving my neighbor as myself (and create opportunities for that love to be lived out).
Stay tuned for my 2016 reading list! I had to scale it back a bit from 2015, but I’ve been more intentional in what I chose for the year. Meanwhile, I would LOVE to hear about your resolutions for 2016! How do you want to grow in the coming year?
Soli Deo gloria,
Evan and I finally took a spell to sit and reflect on the entirety of the holiday season. This proved to be a helpful step in removing my eyes from my (ever-decreasing) overwhelmed state, and to the blessings bestowed upon us by our loving Heavenly Father. I thought we should share these things with you, too, so you don’t think I’m crying in a corner all the time (which I’m not). 🙂
Since our last post, Evan finished his very first semester at Southern,
we had fun in our first good snow,
celebrated a very happy Thanksgiving with Evan’s parents,
visited the Louisville Slugger Museum,
celebrated our first Christmas in Louisville with a visit to the Creation Museum (followed by a short jaunt into Cincinnati),
a candlelight service at our church, and dinner at the seminary. Fun fact: We, along with one other couple, sat with Dr. & Mrs. Mohler! It was fun to get to know a little bit more about them.
Another huge blessing for Evan was his week-long J-term class that happened the week before Christmas. Through this class, Evan was able to meet men who are in a station similar to his own: they are shifting their focus from their established careers to pursue full-time ministry. It was a very encouraging week for him!
Please Pray with Us
- that our break would be a time of intense rest and renewal, both physically and spiritually;
- for Evan’s focus and productivity regarding work for his winter term class;
- for our diligence in personal and family devotions;
- for the Lord to provide wisdom as we survey the landscape of the coming year.
Thank you for joining us in prayer. We would like to pray for you, as well, so please let us know how we can do so!
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you in the coming year (2 Cor. 13:14).
Soli Deo Gloria,