Starting Fresh

Christmas is always a high for me.  It’s a time of getting the family together, hearing from far-away friends, feasting.  Then come the quiet days of putting away decorations, CDs, movies, cards, nativities and lights.  Jesus continues to be celebrated in our house. But a new year is a day away.

I’ve written before about my Possibilities lists. It’s time to start planning new ones. Interesting how simply writing things down can help bring things to fruition.  Once the lists are made, I put away the spiral notebook for another year.  Then, on the next New Year’s Eve, I go back and check to see if I did any of the things I hoped to do.  If so, what was the result?  Is there anything I didn’t do that is worth keeping on this year’s “possibilities” list?

A friend said, “Small changes over time make a big difference.” Looking back over my life, I see how that’s true. Pastor Jim Swaney said this morning: “Bad habits you let in are the bad habits that set in.”  That’s true, too.  So – what bad habits do I need to eliminate?  What good habits do I want to cultivate? 

Rick and I will be making a list together this year.  We’re entering our 49th year together and we want more time together, so we’ll be setting one day a week just for the two of us.  Maybe we’ll go to a local college campus planetarium or walk in a botanical garden. We might spend time at a driving range or go bowling.  (I’m pretty sure Rick wants to do that since he ordered me a pair of bowling shoes!)  We can drive to the coast and walk on Doran’s Beach, have a bowl of clam chowder at The Tides.  Or go to a movie! We might even get on the bikes we bought a year ago and ride around the neighborhood!

I need a plan, or I tend to wander aimlessly, always busy doing something, but not necessarily anything that makes a difference in my life or anyone else. A list gives me a sense of purpose.  It’s a way for me to try to grow in the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical realms of who I am – and ask – or plead — for gradual transformation. 

Spiritual: I want to sense His Presence and hear His voice daily. What helps me do that?  Mental: I want to study scripture so that I can know right from wrong in a world that calls wrong right. What courses should I take? What books of the Bible should I study? Emotional: I want to lean into my Lord when my emotions are like currents and eddies.  When worries plague me, how quick am I to turn to prayer?  What scriptures can I memorize so I can ponder God’s Word in the darkness before dawn?  Physical: I want to grow old gracefully. I want my smile grooves and laughter lines, a road map of a joyful life.  I want to be an encourager.  Am I spending one-on-one time with women of grace and wisdom?  Am I cultivating friendships with people who aren’t in my generation?  Who can I mentor? 

This temporal life is short and precious.  I want to use the hours and days God has given me wisely.  That’s not always easy in our world of business and distractions.  It takes a plan.