Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year Resolutions

I don’t recall ever making a New Year’s Resolution. I’ve never needed to lose weight or quit smoking or get out of debt. I like to think that I make growth and improvement a daily commitment. An entire year is a long time to commit myself to a single goal. And how can I possibly pick just one thing to improve upon? Furthermore, I fear not meeting my goal. If I am going to dedicate an entire year to meeting a goal, it better be big and it better be good. This whole New Year’s Resolution thing is just too much for me! Either it seems too shallow, or too narrow, or too broad and scary.

But this year, I’m going to give it a try.

First, I must acknowledge God in all things. He has blessed my husband and I so very richly. I am daily faced by those without homes or jobs or any kind of stability and reminded that we are blessed. We have a warm home, plenty of food and clothing, financial peace, and the knowledge of Christ’s love and life-giving sacrifice. We have far more than enough. We are growing in Christ by his Word, his provision, his love, and his grace.

Listen to Paul’s prayer for the church in Colossae:
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience” - Colossians 1:9b-11

God’s people are not stagnant. We are called to grow and learn and “be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind[s].” Therefore, I pray for God’s blessings as I focus on social and spiritual growth, and physical and mental training during this year, 2013.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
My goal for mental well-being is to keep learning. During my college years, I started learning to speak Italian and play guitar. I enjoyed them both so much, but let other interests fill my time. This year, I want to pick up the guitar and start studying Italian again. I can only trust that God will find a way for me to use a second language and a new musical skill for His glory. I think it’s also a good idea to do puzzles like crosswords or Sudoku, both as a way to relax and keep my mind sharp.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ – Romans 15: 5-6

My goal for both spiritual and social well-being is to strengthen the bonds of friendship with my Christian friends. For the past year and a half, one of my very top priorities has been to strengthen my husband’s and my relationship. As we continue to grow together in Christ, I think it is also time to give some attention to Christian friends that God has placed in our lives. I miss my college roommates like crazy, and we’ve made some great new friends at church. I want to make coffee dates and weekend visits a much more regular occurance this year. I am giving knitting lessons to one of my new friends here in Chicago and can't wait to have a friend to knit with! Surrounding myself with other Christians strengthens my faith by allowing me to discuss Scripture and work through everyday struggles with the help of a second, Christian perspective. It reminds me of the call to be pure and holy and I learn so much by seeing other living out their faith. God blesses Christian fellowship! After a few months in role as the Fellowship Coordinator at church, it's about time for me to make fellowship a more personal priority. 
Oh how I miss these girls!!
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Doesn’t everyone want to be healthier in the New Year? I started a really great exercise regimen at the end of 2012, but I’ve taken about a three-week vacation from it. I am so glad that I can actually feel the difference! My body felt pretty normal during that first week with minimal exercise, but by the second week I was feeling quite achy. By the third week I was craving exercise! I'm thankful to be getting back into my routines and feeling better again! Thus, my goals for 2013 are to continue with this regimen and drink more water. In this way, I hope to praise God with my body.
My Exercise Regimen
Please keep me in your prayers as I dedicate this year to the Lord in these ways.