Even as a creative person who often flits from one project to the next with a frighteningly short commitment span, I still like to make “to do” lists and set goals. They may be forgotten within months, days, or hours and fall to the wayside, neglected in the wake of more exciting projects and ideas, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get excited at the outset of something new. Like, for example, a new year. I do have a love/hate relationship with resolutions because they pretty much repeat themselves on an annual basis with little to speak of in the way of accomplishment during the previous year. Nonetheless, it is helpful to at least put them in writing so that I know for sure where I have fallen woefully short.
I do still expect this year to be different (as I have in years past), and still approach these resolutions with a renewed sense of hope and commitment knowing that I pursue them not for the sake of merit, but for the sake of obedience by grace. So, for 2013, here they are:
1. Read the Bible cover to cover
I read the Bible a fair amount (I won’t say a lot, because it’s not daily…yet), and perhaps have come close to reading every single word if all my 26 years of reading were combined; but I’ve never read it as a complete, chronological book. This year, I want to approach The Bible in the perspective of Lewis and Tolkien, as a “true mythology” (see: http://www.transpositions.co.uk/2011/12/tolkien-lewis-true-myth-of-the-gospel/), the greatest Story by the greatest Author. I’m still searching for some good guides to help me accomplish this and, in the meantime, continue my ongoing devotionals. The church we attend is beginning a study of Acts, so I’ll be reading R.C. Sproul’s book alongside the sermons; and I’m beginning a study of Revelation with a girlfriend — we’ve decided to use the MacArthur Bible Studies book. I’ll let you know how this goal progresses….
2. Pursue a greater sense of [God-given] order in my household and lifestyle.
I stumbled across this blog post via Facebook the other day and it has given me plenty of food for thought: http://theimportanceofhomemaking.blogspot.com/. It has always been a goal of mine to be an accomplished wife and homemaker, in the most traditional sense. But my perspective has always been pretty introverted. I need to think bigger picture — how does my housekeeping, my perspective on orderly living, my way of life in general bring my community and culture closer to the new heavens and the new earth? This topic has been on my mind a lot lately (a focus on “the Kingdom”), especially with a recent reading of The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, as well as the topics that just keep cropping up in conversation and personal study. I think God is trying to tell me something here….
3. Accomplish creative impact
My ongoing pursuit of the creative arts — from painting and drawing to freelance graphic & web design — always keeps me busy. In addition to my full-time job, I maintain several clients on the side and also try to attend studio painting classes regularly. I don’t have any overarching goals here (like becoming the next Sargent…. yeah, I know that’s not going to happen), but I do want to make an impact. I want to be able to use the talents God has given me to affect others, proclaim the Gospel and make a difference. That message probably comes across too subtly in my efforts thus far so, as part of living a more “orderly” life, I’d like to continue to pursue my artistic goals and improve my skills in order to achieve greater impact.
4. Give time to others
To some extent, all three of the above resolutions are self-centered — I’m a pretty selfish person, I’ll admit. I’ve spent the better part of my marriage and early-twenties focusing on myself (even focusing on my husband is self-serving in a way). I had a conversation with a girlfriend recently about how we covet “me time” and make it such a priority in a world that needs more than anything else the sacrifice of time. In a culture of instant gratification, we are far more concerned with our own daily agenda, wants and needs. Our own time becomes an idol in itself. But that’s not the way it should be. I want to pursue an attitude of servitude and sacrifice for others: in my home, in the workplace and in my community in general. Not because it will offer some sense of personal satisfaction — but because there is no better way to “seek first the kingdom of heaven”.
The are pretty big goals — at least they look that way from where I stand today. They are more than just goals for 2013, they are life-long goals. I will not accomplish any of them in the span of a year, or even a lifetime. But I think it’s important to [re]establish where I’m headed.
I posted a New Year’s “card” on Facebook recently, in lieu of a Christmas card (you see, the whole orderly thing didn’t really include being organized enough to send out physical cards in 2012). I’ll re-post it here to remind myself of the verses that I/we claimed for 2013.
Isaiah 61 is subtitled “The Year of the Lord’s Favor” — the whole chapter is an inspiration to me, but I’ll give you a single verse to end this post of resolutions for the new year:
“And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.”