So it’s the first Monday in 2015. The first day that our our goals and resolutions meet reality. And maybe they don’t seem to be lining up very well. Not only did you neglect the morning exercise plan but also found yourself eating chocolate for breakfast. (Or was that just me?) And as the living room is cleaned I pick up that list of big dreams I wrote out five nights ago that has been lying on the floor since then. I clear a space on the fridge, throwing away 2014 invitations, schedules, and meal plans, and hang these eleven hopes to fridge.
They stare back at me. Nothing too unlike the resolutions from years before. The same qualities and habits I have valued since a child. Read the bible. Love others. Make healthy choices. Work hard. The same things I come back to every January first. So what makes this year any different? Will eleven goals, phrased or emphasized differently but essentially the same as the before, make any difference in 2015?
If kept on my fridge and confined to nothing but a list these goals for the year will make no impact. No matter how eloquent or profound they may appear on the page, if it is merely a list held up by a magnet it will only become next year’s trash. To be anything more, those words have to become what I live by. They have to be the motto of my day. The structure to my routine. To move beyond wishful thinking written down on December 31st they must be intentionally integrated into daily life on January fifth and February sixteenth and November twenty-sixth. If they are not worth being lived out every day they are not worth being made.
I’m great at making lists. They are everywhere in my house. In my pockets. In my car. In my bags. I am less great at using those lists to spur me onto living the life I felt called to in the making of them. May 2015 be the year that I learn to live out lists. Not by my own power and strength, because we all know that will fail and I will continue to eat chocolate for breakfast, but by the strength and power of the Spirit of God alive in me.
So here they are. Eleven habits, resolutions, goals, and hopes for the year ahead. I cannot imagine a year of living these out not making a radical difference.
I tend to be picky about relationships. And by picky I mean selfish. If they are people I enjoy or learn from and friendships that can provide mutual edification than I consider them worth putting an effort into maintain. And then we moved to a new town and for the first time in many years I’ve felt a lack of options for close friends, and loneliness for the close communities I have benefited from in years past. I miss the friends I left behind. I see familial relationships strained from long distance and miscommunication. I’ve actually experienced the (unusual for Greer) feeling of loneliness. So though I am bad at keeping up long-distance relationships and though I struggle to make new friends and though I have reasons why the people in my life may not meet all my relational needs, I will choose this year to cherish relationships.
2. Open Scripture, Open Heart
I read Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson a few months ago. It has widened my perspective of scripture and has wetted my appetite for more of it. But more than that, I am eager to receive scripture on its own terms and let the words enter an open heart, untainted by bias or preconceived expectation. Exegesis not eisegesis.
3. Eliminate Time Wasting Habits
Namely scrolling through Facebook and Twitter when I have small intervals of waiting time throughout the day. Those small chunks of time quickly add up and could be used better. A few pages in a book, a quick writing exercise, a song on the piano, or even just being alert to the day happening around me. (I do appreciate their function, but am choosing to give myself a daily or bi-daily time to enjoy the pictures, links, and posts from friends.)
4. Beat My Body to Make it My Slave
If this statement isn’t too drastic for scripture, than eliminating unhealthy eating patterns and training for a half-marathon shouldn’t be too drastic of goals for my year.
5. Hone My Art
I can play piano, draw out pretty words, take pictures, and write fairly decently. It is life giving when I do these things, especially when I do them well, and yet I consistently find myself out of practice.
6. Pursue Blogging Further
Because writing makes me alive and because I have hopes to minister to you in some small way through my writing.
7. Take A Photo Every Day of the Year
For my own personal enjoyment at the end of 2015, and to not lose the beauty of each ordinary day. To record the faithfulness of God in our journey, and to capture a moment forever. There is so much in each day that I pass by without a care, taking pictures makes me pay attention. In attempts to keep me accountable and to share my findings I will have a page here of these daily photos.
8. Journal Often and Deeply
If this is how I think, and process, and retain information and ideas than I would be a fool to let this habit fall aside. Besides, with each journal filled I have greater records of God’s faithfulness in my story.
9. Read Constantly. More theology, more fiction.
“We read to know we are not alone.” My shelves are overfilling with books that I have yet to read, my wish list on Amazon continues to grow in length. I am provided with mentors through theological writing and companions in fiction, I must not stop reading.
10. Take Risks and Step out of my comfort zone.
I am inspired to growth and change this year. It is not a comfortable or safe thing but life is too important to waste hiding in my shell.
11. Set aside time for a monthly review
Because if I mess up in January, or get off track in February, or forget my goals in March I can’t afford to wait until 2016 to re-do. Beginning again, right where you are, is imperative to living out goals in my finite limitations. Each news month will be a time to remember the things I find important and give thanks for the days already lived. H
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his powerthat is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. -Ephesians 3:20-21