Ah, the New Year. Time for new plans, motivations, hopes, change. Good intentions. I was thinking about what my resolution was at the start of 2011. I can't remember. Can you? I have some vague recollection that I decided not to make one, but perhaps I did?
Which of course makes me think that really it is all a little pointless. That, though well meaning, these resolutions often result in very little change. For the majority of people at least. How many people do you know who planned to get fit, lose weight, reduce debt, give up coke/smoking/chocolate...but with minimal impact on their lives twelve months later.
Not to discourage.
I have been pondering a couple of ideas as 2011 was drawing to a close. The first was the idea to make it my ambition to lead a quiet life (1 Thessalonians 4:11). The second is to be holy (Hebrews 12:14). All going well, I may tick both of those off by February.
Number one. How do I lead a quiet life? My four boys appear to make that immediately impossible. Really. My life is the antithesis of quiet. For many weeks I have been considering what a 'quiet life' could look like for me. I have written down my commitments, my plans and my hopes. Not forgetting my role as teacher/coach/Personal Assistant to a 5, 7, 9 and 11 year old. Commencing a Masters this year is not a small thing. And I would really like to play tennis.
But more than those things I want to make the most of the last couple of years my eldest adores my company. I want to choose a coffee with a friend who needs to talk, over the list of things I want to achieve that day or the assignment that needs to be written. To do at least as much praying as I run. And to return to more regular 'date nights' with my husband who is also adding in a Masters to his busy life. Quietly taking hold of what is important. Over things that seem like they are.
Which means that I need to let go of other things. Which things? Why is it harder to let things go than it is to take more on? That is taking time to discover, but will be revealed in time.
Number two. Holiness. What needs to change practically? I could make a very long list, but it diverges into one word. Yield. This is no new year's resolution. It is my life's work. To submit to my creator, my saviour, the one who is loving and good. Not in 2012. But in each and every day. Broken down into moments.
To seek Him first, His ways, His path. Holiness will follow. I read recently that:
God cares more about our response to His Spirit's leading today, in this moment, than about what we intend to do next year. ('Crazy Love', Francis Chan)
So since it's the 2nd of January, let's assume that God is more concerned about our listening to Him, and then the resultant action we take today, than about what we do on the 3rd of January. Or whether we achieve our New Year's Resolutions in 2012. Because they are mostly our resolutions aren't' they? Not always leaving room for a God who created us, knows us intimately, has prepared good works for us to do (Ephesians 2:10), but perhaps hasn't revealed them to us in advance.
Surely you would rather be doing those things. The really good things. The purpose for which you were intended.
Perhaps my New Year's resolution is not to make one. But to yield to the plans that have already been made. The path already forged. Knowing that is better.
What about you?
- Meaningful work; my man, doing tough work with grieving families.
- Him home, in time for New Years.
- Beautiful new friends, despite them leaving soon.
- A girls' day out; new places discovered.
- Six more days with a gorgeous girl before she goes.
- Emails from cousins, who have become friends.
- Spending time with Oswald Chambers.
- Fireworks from our balcony, shared with our boys and friends.
- Cubby joy on a rainy day.
- Plans for 2012 holidays.