Before the first month of the year slips into the second its time I decide on my resolutions for 2014, and in publishing them on my blog, begin the completion of one.
1. Find a rhythm that fits each season.
Its always been my greatest struggle. Ask my piano teacher. How many countless hours were spent with the metronome beating and my fingers trying to keep up. I remember the beat being tapped on my back and being so frustrated that my fingers couldn’t line up. Find the beat. Work on the rhythm.
There wasn’t a “one rhythm fits all” tag either. Each piece required new work on each rhythmic passage. Find the beat. Work on the rhythm. Just when I conquered one rhythmic passage another two agains three, or triplets going to sixteenths and back to eighths appeared on the next page.
Isn’t that like life. It felt like I just barely touched on the rhythm of 2013. And then the calendar turned the page and there was 2014 with a new rhythm pattern to discover. Student teaching. 22 piano students. New tasks. Different goals. Where is the rhythm here? And what will the rhythm be like in the summer? And how will it change again in the fall? Find the beat. Internalize it. Dance to it.
2. Don’t Stop Counting
“Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done.”
If you want to be great at rhythm you have to count. Count out loud. And once you have it, count it inside. Don’t stop counting. My goal this year is 1,000. I’m already behind the daily three goal. But I keep counting.
We all deserve death. Everything else is gifts. That’s a lot of gifts.”
Will you count with me? And with Ann? http://www.aholyexperience.com/2014/01/how-to-know-gods-will-for-your-life-the-art-of-fully-living-giveaway-for-dslr-camera/ Life is so much more beautiful when we look with seeing eyes for all that God is giving. Let’s make thanksgiving our constant refrain in 2014.
3. Be Flexible and Allow the Meter to Change
The rhythm can’t always be in 4/4. 3/4 even gets boring. Don’t force five beats to fit into a measure made for four. Don’t make two beats try to last the space that is meant for six. Life happens. Schedules are only a guideline. Enjoy the change and adjust as necessary.
4. Retune as often as
A slight bump to an instrument, a small climate change, or a lose string will quickly pull it out of tune. Though quickly rectified, a few sour notes can make the entire song sour. How often is it that a musician stops to tune? Can we make that our habit to? A stop from the tasks and the conversations and the daily routine just to pause and tune our hearts back to God? Whether in a silent prayer, a few words of scripture or the singing of a hymn, let 2014 be a year in which there is constant awareness of the notes of our hearts, and when they must be adjusted.
“Tune my heart to sing thy grace.”
5. Laugh and Have Fun
Life will give me enough to be serious about. There is no need for my tendency to over-analyze and stress myself out. Laugh and have fun. Smile at the bumps, make light of small mishaps, joke through the derailed plans, and enjoy the ride.
6. Grace and then Grit
It was first, Grit and Grace. And then, after two weeks of trying to feel on top of the semester and getting sick and waking up weary, the quiet reminder of grace pierced my heart. No matter how hard I try to grit my teeth and make this year a great one, with no regrets and no unfinished projects and no unmet goals I will not make it. My grit is not enough. First, grace. God has lavished extravagant grace upon me. (See resolution #2.) Let that grace flow. Live in it. Walk in it. Swim in it. And then grit your teeth and don’t grow weary in doing good.
7. Make the Most of Time
It is a gift. Do you really want to waste it? We each have our own time suckers that can be eliminated. For me its social media. (It is so much easier to sit down on my couch and grab my phone and scroll through the apps, and then scroll through them again than even grabbing the book sitting on that shelf and read a chapter. Or switch the laundry. Or go to the gym. Or do some lesson planning. Or…) For others it is TV. Fluffy reading. Sleeping in. (Ok, that’s me too.) Or even stressing and overanalyzing the good things they are doing. Put first things first, don’t let the tyranny of the urgent take over, and cherish each minute as a gift. Oh, and use that planner you bought!
8. Reveal My Inner World (at least some of it)
For someone who is a 29/30 on the introversion scale opening up and letting my thoughts come into words for others to hear is not an easy thing. But, even though my thoughts and inspirations and dreams and concerns, are not earth-shatteringly profound – there could be merit in releasing a little of it. Someone may be blessed. I, at least, will be better known, and have greater access to depth and intimacy.
Action Step: Start a blog. It feels great to already meet one goal.
9. Rejoice in the Morning
I am awful at waking up. Three snooze buttons later I (sometimes, if I have to) get out of bed. Groan and groggily get breakfast going. But notice scripture. Do a word search on ‘morning’. It seems to be a significant part of the day to orient yourself towards God. Is there a way I could be joyful in the morning? To rejoice rather than moan? To get out of bed rather than sleep in nine minute intervals for the next forty minutes? To kneel before God and offer the day to him? The benefits? Well, in the little experience I’ve had in the matter, I do know that having enough time to prepare well for the day and point my eyes towards heaven and rejoice shapes the day remarkably in a beautiful way.
10. Stretch Yourself
As we mark year two of post-school life, I am fearful that the capacity to push forward onto deeper knowledge, greater skills, and stretching experiences may be decreasing. Though another degree or two is on my radar for the future, it isn’t the present and I want to prove to the skeptics that – even though I am teaching at the elementary level and playing piano at a moderate level – I am always going further. Its more than a mere desire to prove myself capable though. I think there is a parable about it. Something along the lines of talents, and increasing and investing what’s been given to you for the good of the Kingdom…
11. Know His Word
Further in and Further up. Always. May this be my constant mindset in regards to Scripture. We are given the WORD OF GOD. Its at our finger tips. There are probably a dozen copies of the Bible in our home, not to mention the apps and websites we have access to at our fingertips at any given moment. What is our excuse for not being immersed in it? There is no greater treasure. I want to seek it as such.
Practically speaking, Tanner and I are venturing forward in memorizing Ephesians. We are on verse three and going strong. Only a hundred, or two or six, more verses to go. Exciting to know it. I also got some amazing commentaries in the mail yesterday. Giddy with excitement to walk with Christ through Matthew this year. Insights and ponderings to come. (See Resolution #8.)
Whether by capturing the memory with my camera, or getting a bottle of sparkling grape juice, or going out for ice cream, or rewards for met goals, I don’t want to get so caught up with the next thing that I miss the opportunity to celebrate what’s already been done. There will be many things to celebrate – ranging from the magnitude of a college graduation and one year anniversary to getting up on a Monday and getting through the circle of fifths with a student. I don’t want to let them go without a celebration. And if nothing else – every day marks another day as a child of God. This deserves a celebration.