... is paved with good intentions. That's what "they" say, right? Well, watch out folks, I'm about to be intentional!
So, I'm a huge fan of resolutions. I've had a list of resolutions every year for the past 6 years, and have managed to accomplish in full, or 95% of each list. They've been very concrete/specific resolutions that I could measure pretty easily. This year, included in my short list of concrete "to do's," is a somewhat heftier resolution to become more intentional in my approach to life and how I am living it.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I tend to rush headlong into every endeavor. I've always tried to make this a positive as in "It shows I'm eager! It shows I'm not afraid of a challenge!" Many times everything works out just fine, once or twice even for good. As such, I’ve had folks say that my rushing in wasn't so bad, why even many Bible heros often made quick decisions! Me? I’m not fighting Philistine’s! I don’t have to approach everything as if I’m “going in like gang-busters!” I make quick decisions on everything, whether something big or small is at stake. That’s not wise. When my snap decisions haven’t worked out, there's usually been a long road to travel before I'm finished dealing with the consequences. I’ve mastered the “art” of I learning the hard way – even when what I’m doing is in and of itself good. This year I want to slow myself down and prayerfully and mindfully consider how I spend my time, my resources, myself. I want to become a humanBEING instead of a humanDOING.
How I’ve operated thus far: I don’t want to turn down anyone’s dinner invitation. I don’t want to turn down anyone who is asking me to dog-sit. I don’t want to turn down any request to help or serve whether it’s at church, work, or at community service. This is not to say I don’t want to do any of these things at all – quite the contrary. Aside from work these are all things I enjoy doing.
What I know and want now: I have a strong desire to serve at church, but I can’t serve any area well when I’m trying to serve too many areas. I want to do a good job at work, but I can’t perform at my best when I don’t say no to any project, when I work 50-60 hours a week and become exhausted, or when I bring work home. I can’t effectively help in any community service endeavor when I am meeting myself coming and going, 24/7, 365 days a year. No matter how much I want too - I can’t be all things to all people in my life, so I must learn to be more comfortable saying "No."
First let me say this, life is pretty darn good when you’ve got so many loving friends that a “problem” is too many dinner invitations. I honestly do not view this as a problem at all. The problem lies in the fact that when I try to accept every dinner invitation I receive, I’m not spending enough time with any friends to truly develop a deeper, stronger relationship. Let me be clear people: Please DO NOT STOP inviting me to dinner! I want to come and eat with you! Food and friends are pretty much my favorite things. Most of you are really gifted cooks. That said, when I have been away from home 6 nights in any given week, and I’m invited to dinner on the 7th, sometimes I need to be honest with myself and with you by admitting that I need to keep my behind at home! (Another option: Maybe we can plan dinners with more friends - I know, that’s technically a party – but who doesn’t love a party?)
I am no longer going to work myself to death at my job. I’m going to do a good job, but I work so many hours in an effort to make more money. Even so the money always runs out, I don’t ever have enough to pay my few bills – necessities, not shopping bills. They way I’ve been working myself is evidence that I am not even close to trusting God to provide – though He promises me he will. When I am spend all my time at work, I don’t leave anytime to do His work. Oh, and ask me if I’m a good example of Christian loving-kindness in my workplace. (That would be an easy “NO”.)
To be totally honest, I’ve worked so much that I have denied myself and my daughter the necessary “time out” from daily life that we all need called “vacation” for years! The last time Rebecca and I took a bonafide vacation, she was seven years old. Rebecca will be 15 in four short weeks. That’s too long folks. This is my official notice that we will be on vacation the 2nd week of October. Why so far away? I’m actually PLANNING the trip (see, that’s me being more intentional right there!). Oh, and funding. A single-mom’s gotta save up, ya feel me? (How I’m planning on saving will be another blog for another day in the near future.)
I am going to continue to serve at church as a Middle School Youth Leader, Small Group Coordinator, take my turn in visitors reception each month – I enjoy each of these, and feel they are where I can be best used at church. I’ll even continue to dismiss the children when I’m asked too! Chances are I’ll say yes to the random need here or there. Someone recently asked me if I was going to take back any of my “Coffee Angel” duties. Nope. No. Nada. Not because it’s a horrible task – it’s not, in fact, it’s a cool task because EVERYONE loves the Coffee Angel! But it’s neat to walk in on Sunday morning and never know who is going to be there making coffee – great to see different people being able to serve our church.
I am going to spend more time in prayer, more time being still, more time being quiet (don’t roll your eyes! I can do it – really I can!). I want to surrender more of myself and my time to God so that I'm a better reflection of what He can accomplish in a person’s life, and a truer reflection of His love to others as I serve His people and my church family. In doing less, I think I’ll serve more – more effectively. He’s a Big God, but when I serve while running on empty, people don’t know it.
THE SHORT LIST:
Run two half-marathons this year.
Write more personal letters and thank-you ‘s.
Clean out the clutter at home , minimizing stuff to maximize peace and comfort.
Get the porch kitty neutered, vaccinated and inside - he’s cold out there!
Finish reading Anna Karenina and maybe, just maybe, tackle some Dostoevsky…