It’s the last Monday of the year 2020, a year that in many ways shall go down in infamy for the sheer depth & breadth of calamity, change, & chaos it brought with it (all C’s. Didn’t mean to do that. But it works.) As the year draws to a close, I will be taking some time over the next 4 days to REFLECT & RESOLVE. Here’s what I mean.
While I’m not a fan of making New Year’s Resolutions, I am a BIG fan of LIVING:
- Faithfully (in a way that reflects Jesus Christ & His Lordship in my life & my dedication to be the best husband I can be to my Bean)
- On-purpose (vs. haphazardly, randomly, being blown hither & yon)
- A principled life (according to my values & priorities)
- An examined life (aka, a life that is reviewed, evaluated, & reflected upon with the intent of making adjustments to patterns of life to better align with the above goals)
So, how can I make sure I’m staying on target with my life? By embracing reflection & repentance. In a nutshell, for me, reflection offers the opportunity to examine what I’ve been doing & how I’ve been going about it; it assumes a posture of teachability, flexibility, & desire for growth; it reminds me that I’m a work in progress & that there are many areas of life where I desperately need God’s grace, transformation, & healing. So where does repentance come in? I’m glad you asked…
Repentance, to me, is the practice of making changes in how I think, act, & process; guided by the Holy Spirit, repentance allows for subtle (or HUGE!) adjustments to be made to “be moving towards” God’s ways of thinking, acting, & processing. Repentance recognizes that I am not an island unto myself, nor am I the source of my own motivations, goals, & dreams. I have a Maker & I want to line up my life (& all that goes with that) with Him.
POINT OF ORDER: By the way, I don’t view God’s will as some sort of “BULLSEYE” on a target that only the few Mother Teresa-type folks on the planet can even begin to approach hitting. I believe God’s Will is more like a highway. I can choose to drive on just about any highway I can get ol’ Eugene to drive on (Eugene is my vehicle. He’s a 2001 Land Rover Discovery 2 with most of his good days behind him. He still has some of his mojo left, however. But I digress).
If I’m cruising on a highway somewhere & start to drift out of my land & towards the shoulder, what happens? Yes. You made the rumble sound by flapping your lips together. The rumble strips on the side of the highway alert me that I am getting off track & usually it just takes a minor correction to get back in the lane.
That is how I view repentance, the leading of the Holy Spirit, & God’s Will. I believe quite a bit of life is up to our choosing – what do we WANT to do? Is it biblical, ethical, & legal? Yes? Then do it, to the glory of God. When I get off track, the Holy Spirit functions, without fail, like a ‘divine rumble strip’ to alert me that I’ve gotten off track & need to make adjustments. So God’s Will isn’t so much a destination or a point of arrival, its a way-of-life & a process.
With REFLECTION & REPENTANCE comes RESOLVE. (Yes, I know that I said I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I am not going back on that statement. I do believe that I can have – need to have – resolve to make the appropriate adjustments in thoughts, words, actions, etc. to hit the targets I am aiming for. Think about resolve like this: it’s an on-purpose decision, a determination to DO something (or a bunch of somethings). For me, these are usually long-term, life-long decisions that get tweaked, revisited, &/or reaffirmed. The fact that this process just so happens to fall at a time the calendar year is shifting to a New Year is serendipitous & wonderful, as well as a cool way to participate in a natural rhythm of life’s changes.
I don’t know all that will be adjusted at this point (I still have 4 days to dig into this,) but here’s a couple:
I want to:
- write more (in my journal, blogs, articles, opinions, & of course, work on developing – finishing? – some book ideas);
- read more, esp. books on history & baseball;
- play my guitar more often & return to song-writing
- cook more often & master a couple new beef dishes
I want to stop:
- procrastinating on projects at home
- responding to people in frustration & impatience
- being negative & critical of self (& others, but mostly self)
What do you do? In what areas of your life do reflection, repentance, & resolve show up? Any things you’re looking to DO/STOP DOING in 2021?