Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

I've never made a formal list of resolutions, per se, but I do like to think about where I'd like to be in the next year, and who I hope to become. Laurel Wreath's New Year's Meditations was a perfect place to start (you can link up your own this week by clicking the picture). She asks us to reflect on our hopes, dreams and goals by asking, "What would you like to see God do in your life? How would you like to see Him move in things? What are your goals for next year? When you look back December 2007 where would you like to be?" defines resolution as "the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc." That doesn't sound so bad. In fact, that's exactly what I find works for me in general--to resolve or determine that something is important enough for me to devote effort to it. In fact, Daniel "resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine (Daniel 1:8)," as a way to separate himself from the life of Babylon. The KJV says that he "purposed in his heart," which is a great way to define these meditations. Where do I want my heart to lie? That immediately brought to mind Matthew 6:19-21,
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
There are certain "treasures" that I have in my heart, so I want to think about how I can make them treasures in heaven. Heather also asks in this Monday's Faithbuilders' Meme, "What keeps you from believing that God can restore the parts of your life that feel dead or broken? What is the “something more” that God may be calling you to?"

I do want to change that which has been broken, such as given up the best for good enough in many areas of my life. I want to partake in the something more of God, not just barely getting by. Over the last few years, the Lord has made me aware that I need to be intentional with my time, so it's something that often runs through my head as I'm making choices. I want to be mindful of what I need and want to do and be wary of time-wasting activities that I sometimes get caught up in.

My Walk with God

I want to continue growing with God, by staying in daily Bible study here at home. I hope to strengthen my prayer life, by not being afraid to ask for the hard things. I want to continue serving Him in leading Ladies' Bible study at church and teaching students at BSF. I want to use the gifts that He's given me in this area to my fullest, not just skating by with less-than-adequate preparation, as I am sometimes able to pull off. I want to be open to continue my relationship with Him in a new way, and to be open to His purposes, as Proverbs 19:21 reminded me: Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. I want to continue to cultivate the fruits of the Spirit so that I can look back over 2007 and see a kinder, gentler and more patient and loving Jennifer.

My Family

I want to pray diligently for Amanda, Kyle, and Terry. I want to serve and honor them by putting their needs above my own, specifically by giving them my best each day by not complaining and by taking care of my responsibilities around the house in the best way possible--preparing healthy meals, keeping the house clean (which is especially important to Terry and increasingly important as a model for Amanda), and tackling big organizational projects each month to keep the house running smoothly.

This is definitely an area that God is calling me to "something more." I can give more of my time to making our home a haven for all of them. I can give more effort so that things are great, instead of just satisfactory. This is only accomplished (for me) through specific prayer to be aware of what needs to be done each day and having the resolve to do it. It means telling myself "no" more often (to more computer surfing, to mindless TV, to selfish pursuits which cause me to resent serving my family when duty calls), and saying "yes" more (to my daughter's request to play a game, to my son's request to play trains, to Terry's unspoken requests of having a good, healthy meal prepared most nights and a clean, uncluttered home).


No, I'm not saying that my plan is to sacrifice myself continually for the greater good of my family. I have learned that having my own interests and dreams and hopes and time for myself helps me to more easily devote myself to them as the primary calling for my life. I've said it many times here recently, so I think it's something that God is trying to teach me: Getting my focus off myself is almost always a good thing. But, I did come across another verse, Proverbs 20:5, that sort of gives me a goal: The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out. I'm not exactly sure what this means. I know that my purposes before God in my own personal life are definitely deep waters. I know that it does take understanding (which will only come from God) to draw them out. The drawing implies an effort, and I believe that is so as well. So, I will continue to build on my own gifts and interests and try to reach understanding about the best purposes for my heart.

Specifically, I have so enjoyed rekindling my love of reading, and using it as a means of gathering knowledge and entertainment. I am going to post a specific post regarding books I am planning to read and why in the coming days.

I also want to renew my vigorous pursuit of writing. I first started this blog in order to work on my writing. It worked, and I soon gave in to blogging and other writing at the expense of everything else as that fire was kindled and stoked. That was fine for a time, and I am happier now with the balance that I've achieved, and yet I still want to return to more of the quality writing (whether it's published here on the blog or elsewhere). I want to be mindful of developing the gift that God has given me, and since my time is precious, to figure out a way to carve out that time to put on paper those thoughts that are in my head.

Is there room here for other interests, that are yet to be determined in the coming year, or by committing to my loves of reading and writing am I reminding myself that these hobbies are dear to my heart, and also useful in my mind? I'm not sure.

I realize that some of these might not sound too specific, but I think that they accurately reflect where my heart is. I am glad I had the opportunity to put them in writing and do hope that I will read them over when I'm feeling that my purpose is lacking.


Laurel Wreath said...

I love when you said "given up the best for good enough in many areas of my life". This is true for me, I tend to settle, and I need to stop that!

I enjoyed reading your mediations. I wish you much success in your writings and I look forward to reading your reading list.

Happy New Year friend. I am glad the Lord brought you into my life this last year.

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

Jennifer, my friend, are you 60 years old???? :) You are so wise, so wise. Everytime I read your blog I glean something new.

And your writing blesses I wish you much success as you focus on writing in 2007. You have a gift.

Happy new Year!!!

Especially Heather said...

Wonderful Wonderful post Jennifer!

I am so glad you are part of Faithlifts- you bless so many through your writings there!

Heather (my url has changed, btw)

jenny said...

I looked in on your blog because I am Jennifer, too. Your section on Family spoke to me---I don't always do for them the way I ought to! I am resolving to do better in this area---but my post won't be up until tomorrow, I think!

Thanks for an encouraging post!

e-Mom said...

A nice piece of introspection! My goals for the coming year are more "outer world" oriented... I'd like to offer more Christian hospitality, and renew my fitness program. Congratulations on your win over at CWO. Happy New Year! :~)

Erna said...

I have to say that there are times I too need to say "yes," more to my children and their needs. I've been trying to slow down and to do just that recently.

God bless you as you set out to follow Him and achieve the goals set out by you in this post.

Happy New Year!

Cyndi said...

Your commitment to the needs of your family touched me. That is an area that God has been talking to me about, lately. Thank you for your words! I have lapsed into mediocrity in certain areas during the past couple of years. We serve a God of excellence... a God who enables excellence, for His glory. I have prayed for you today, for your ministry to your family, to those who read your words and those you teach. May God bless you richly with all spiritual blessings in 2007!

Jane said...

Happy New Year! I just wanted to mention that your household goals are also a gift to your son. My dh is a really neat and organized person. I have never been able to achieve this on my own. With his help I am learning to live the organized life I always wanted. Also, as my job has gotten more stressful he has taken on more at home. I am in debt to my mother in law for teaching him this at an early age.

janiswrites said...

I, too, need to more intentional about my time with God. I spend too much time on worthless pursuits, instead of what I should be concentrating on.

I really enjoyed your sharing of your dreams for the year. I hope that 2007 brings you closer to God than you have ever been!

Kelly said...

I enjoyed your meditations on the coming year. You are a gifted writer--glad to hear it is something you are focusing on.

I read that you are involved with BSF-such an amazing organization. I did the study on Israel & the Minor Prophets and learned so much! We no longer live in an area that has BSF-so sad.

MiPa said...

I resonate with you in having "given up the best for good enough". That is the root of some of my goals as well. Blessings to you! I look forward to reading what you are going to be reading in 2007--it may help fill out my list as well, lol.

eph2810 said...

You said at the end that your meditations on your goal might not be specific, but I beg to differ.
I think you have wonderful, detailed thoughts of where you want to be at the end of 2007. And I think you have your priorities right. You list that you want to grow first with God, in your duties as mom and wife...and where you want to be yourself at the end of the year.
I pray that God will give you the strength and energy to realize all your goals.
I hope that you will find a great balance between all of them. That is always the tricky part. I still search for the balance...
Happy New Year, Jennifer.

Katrina said...

Great thoughts, Jennifer. I share many of your desires - especially in regards to family. And I enjoyed reading your thought process as you arrived at your goals/hopes in each category.

Chris said...

This was my first time here.

I enjoyed your post and desire this statement for my life as well,
"I want to partake in the something more of God, not just barely getting by."

Blessings in 2007!

Heather Ivester said...

Your thoughts are so refreshing! I wish you the best as you pursue your call to write this year. We all enjoy reading your words of wisdom!

Happy New Year!

Laurel Wreath said...

Be sure to check my blog out this today

Mariah said...

Hello! I'm a bit late on the uptake here, but I'm reading everyone's meditations/resolutions as I can. I love what you said about settling vs. the best in your life. I believe God has called us to excellence in serving Him, but not in a proud or arrogant way. God gave His best for me, the very least I can do for Him is my best, as He enables me to do so. Your post is very inspiring to me. Happy New Year!