For the New Year

Do I need to give a rationale to explain why I think it’s ok to celebrate Advent as New Years, but not have resolutions or goals until  January 1st? Here you go, along with my tentative hopefully-non-legalistic goals.

Rationale

First, there was evening and then there was morning. Advent is like evening in so many ways. Christmas is like an awesomely holy all-nighter that stretches into the wee hours of the morn. Epiphany, then, is when I hope to be wide awake and active again.

A stretch? Maybe. Crazy? I dunno. But approaching work from a place of rest, I would suggest, is a very biblical way to do it. Don’t you think?

Anyway, there’s also the very serious matter of legalism. Live by the Law, die by the Law. Setting up January 1st as some sort of arbitrary deadline—is that really helpful? If you make it a law unto yourself, I’d suggest it isn’t. Deadlines can be good, don’t get me wrong, but life by the law isn’t what we’d often imagine it to be.

On the other hand, we are way too quick to belittle what we can do in the hands of our almighty God. Laziness isn’t right.

What we can seek, then, is a balance between work and rest, between normal and extraordinary work, and WITHIN challenging ourselves live by faith rather than to do lists, goals, resolutions, or any other self-imposed law we pressure ourselves with.

So I like to think that reasonable goals are better than establishing self-imposed laws. They can be a way to focus, which is good and helpful for us; it can make use of both inward and external elements; and, it is a pursuit and appreciation of self-discipline. Self-discipline is certainly encouraged, taught, extolled, and commanded in Scripture.

Last Year

On to a progress report covering the past year.

My personal and family goals for this past year:

  • Good content and flexibility in homeschooling.
  • Better health and appearance for family and me. (Better diet, throwing out stained clothes in storage, etc.)
  • Finish/pursue
    • Grown in God’s Garden
    • Let’s Go to Church
    • The Trinity for Children
    • Toward better health and appearance of family 
  • Read Scripture
  • Read and write

See how these are goals rather than try-as-I-might resolutions?

Add to that my writing goals, from last year’s New Year’s post:

  • Clean up my computer files organization
  • Make a “Top Five” projects that I can open whenever I just feel like working on something.
    • Include articles, essays, random notes
    • Include due dates for the year
    • Exclude grand opuses until you are currently adding stuff to them
    • Maintain the number five even when you’ve moved something out of the folder
  • Make a big goal from the following options
  • Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and space to breath
    • Do NOT have big goals for more than two projects
    • Don’t make writing, or fixations on writing, life or death: the Gospel of Jesus Christ is life
    • DO plan a few ways to relax
      • A cup of something hot
      • A taste of something sweet
      • A walk/run/hammock, etc.

Overall, I think I did better at avoiding law pressure in these non-obligatory things. So that’s great! Regretfully, I am still woefully lacking in self-discipline.

I am pleased with how much Scripture I read, although I didn’t quite manage to read each and every book. Still, I’m in a better position to refocus on God’s Word for the year to come.

(Friendly reminder: You can read Scripture in a year by reading three chapters a day. Also the Minor Prophets are not in chronological placement. I was kind of caught off guard by that.)

My computer files are better organized. Which means, gulp, I should make the jump to figuring out Scrivener! I just haven’t taken the time until this point. (Great purchase with Christmas money, btw!)

Writing-wise, I’m pretty please that I tried to expand the publishers I work with. I also have some things sitting with curriculum developers. That’s good.

I also wrote stuff that I never tried to publish! This one was oddly important to me. lol My emphasis has been better placed on my family. Now maybe I can take January to catch up on proposals. 🙂

I’ve also felt freer to pursue my poetry, even though I can’t seem to get myself to say the volume is finished and send it off to an editor!

Next Year

My biggest realization from these goals may be that only God gives discipline. So, this year, I will pray for it and give thanks to God when I recognize it. (Hopefully. You know how it is.)

This year’s goals:

  • Pray and practice toward better personal discipline, particularly regarding diet & exercise
  • Read Scripture
    • Possibly pursue Job as a focal point for my next collection of poetry
  • Stay on the Getting Things Done system
  • Simplify, minimize, and organize
  • Maintain four-day school week with a day for rest & field trips
  • The family goal is to get the little ones more involved in cleaning and chores.
  • Eek, another family goal is for me to be on the computer less. Mercy! 

Writing-wise, I may:

  • Learn Scrivener
  • Finish/pursue
    • Theological Meditations in Poetic Form, Vol. 1
    • Let’s Go to Church
    • An allegory I have in mind 🙂
    • A pastors’ wife’s novel I have in mind!
    • The Trinity for Children (Pending with a curriculum developer.)
    • Grown in God’s Garden (Pending: I start to rewrite it and now I’m not sure what age group I’m going for.)
  • Continue to only work up proposals only after projects are completed!
  • Try not to give up blogging. 😉
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