I have traditionally hated New Year’s Resolutions. They make me feel undisciplined and near-sighted. Since high school I have instead been asking God for something. So one year I asked for a servant’s heart and another year I asked to know what it was to praise Him. But this year Mike started blogging about his resolutions http://thepadre10.wordpress.com/2009/12/17/the-fifteen/, and his perspective was so refreshing and hopeful that it made me start reconsidering my boycott of the NYR. Instead of saying “Will lose 40 pounds by March,” he was saying, “Will lose some weight this year”. Or instead of “Will do devotions for 30 minutes every day”, it was more like, “Will spend more time in personal bible study”. It was less about meeting goals and more about readjusting the steering wheel. Does that make sense?
I’ve been trying to observe my habits and lifestyle over the past few weeks and these are some things I’d like to change in 2010, but only with the help and grace and daily forgiveness of God.
1. Less expletives
Okay, I admit it. Besides that week when I was scraping the popcorn ceiling off in the living room, the expletives I’m thinking of here are along the lines of *geez*, *rats*, and *oh my goodness*. I have little to no moral problem with these words, I just think that I sound like a dork when I say them. So except for very rare cases when only a big loud “gosh darnit!” will do, I’m going to start cutting these meaningless and embarrassing words out of my vocabulary.
2. More focused prayer
For the past two months, my neighbor Kristi and I have been meeting in the mornings to pray. This has developed into a blessing and a rather healthy habit and there are very few things in this world that I would exchange for these twenty minutes each morning. However, my prayers are very personal and spontaneous, much like Julia Cameron’s “morning pages” tend to be, and I’ve noticed that my list (you know…family, friends, kids, North Point, my marriage) tends to get forgotten.
As a side note, this resolution has me the most nervous, because it will mean actually setting aside time everyday to pray for the important stuff, but things happen when you pray, I need peace about these things (Philippians 4:6-7), and God tells us to pray about this stuff. So I’m going to get out my list more often and pray through it.
3. More healthful cooking
Whenever I have to make food decisions for myself (ie. my lonely breakfast meal, eating out), I make fairly good choices. But as the family chef, I’m not as good at cooking healthfully for the two of us. It’s just too easy to throw together a casserole or to make our favorite chicken noodle soup. It would only take a couple cookbooks from the library, a little planning, and a steely heart (when I remember how delicious jambalaya and cornbread tastes) to put some healthy dishes on the table. And actually, I have faith that there is such a thing as a delicious AND healthy meal. So I’m starting my collection of new recipes (feel free to share)!
4. More books
Bible, fiction, non-fiction, anything (except Face). I want to read more. I love reading. I’ve fallen out of the habit. Another thing I want to incorporate into this resolution is to write a review of each book I read. Hopefully this will help me process and remember the book better, instead of only reading it.
5. Less isolation
If you were to see a bird’s eye view of my life in relationships this past year, I think that it would reflect poorly on me. I let busyness, disillusionment, and apathy get in the way of some really good friendships that I had going on. I thought I had good reasons for letting my friendships slide. I was sad, because it’s so hard to have as good of friendships as I did in college. I was mad, because the friendships I did have weren’t going the way I wanted them to. But this quote by Bonhoeffer helped open my eyes to reality: “The person who loves their dream of unity will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.” I want to start loving the people around me. And loving means spending time, money, prayer, and thoughts on a person. I want to start having coffee regularly with an old friend. I want to start attending yoga classes with a new friend, taught by another friend. I want to invite my neighbor’s kids over to hang out, so their mother (my friend) can have a few minutes to herself. Logan and I are going to start opening up our home more. I think this is going to be fun.
6. Write more
I’m going to get serious about my compulsion/desire/responsibility/need to write. I’m thinking 3:00-5:00 every afternoon. I don’t even care what I write, just as long as I do it.
7. Less selfishness
Without bringing you into the scary places of Aanna’s life that only a brave few have dared enter, there were a couple times this year when I behaved very selfishly towards my husband and hurt him. It was horrible. Even though I know I probably will, I never want to do that again. I was listening to the radio recently (to one of those stations that I only listen to as cultural research to know the kids better) and there was a sobering line that said, “When you ain’t backin’ down and I ain’t backin’ down, So what the hell do we do now?” I realized that as horrible as that way of thinking is, it has crept into my head and comes out whenever I don’t get what I want from my husband. I’m just going to come out and say that I’m done thinking that way. It’s selfish. It’s not like Jesus. I want to look at my husband and out of my love for him, do what’s best for him and not what’s best for me. I can trust God to look after my interests.
So that’s my list. There’s only one more thing I want to say, both to you and to God.