I’m just going to say right off the bat, I reserve the right to update and/or completely discard this New Year’s Resolution at any point in the current year.
I suppose it isn’t really a “resolution” if it has an exit clause, is it. I feel a bit like I’m signing a prenuptial agreement—Honey, I promise to stay with you forever and ever…but just in case I DON’T, here’s how it will go down.
Every year, God has been faithful to give me a scripture or a theme on which to focus. Sometimes, He even gives me a list of things He wants me to work on—I like when God speaks to me in lists. It’s like my very own little Mount Sinai moment. But this Fall, while praying and thinking about 2012, I was having trouble visualizing one single theme that would carry me through the entire year. My year, as far as I have it scheduled thus far, looks like four distinct seasons.
Jan-March: I am working on a major fitness goal (which I will tell you all about on Friday). Plus, I am preparing for an upcoming women’s retreat where I will be speaking in four sessions. And yes, it really does take me that long to prepare for four sessions.
April-May : I will be preparing for a class I will be teaching for several weeks at my church on adoption.
June-July: I will be teaching the adoption class, and also be vacationing and recreating with my family during summer break.
August and beyond: I begin a new season of life where I will have all of my children in school during the day. For me, this is entirely weird and scary and sad and exciting all at the same time. I have been a stay-at-home mom of small children since October 1997 (and, for any Cooper children who may be reading this post, I HAVE LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT AND WOULD NOT CHANGE A THING). Prior to that, I worked outside the home full time. And prior to that, I was skinny and tan, and ate pizza at 2 am and slept until noon (also known as a college student). And prior to that, I was a child.
So, I have never, ever been home during the day without little children or without an outside job. Well, except the brief period in 2007 when we were waiting for our travel date to adopt Elliana from Guatemala (which coincidentally was exactly 4 years ago TODAY!). Remember when I wrote about my season of solitude? Fall 2012 seemed so far away. And look, we’re almost here.
Anyway, I am anticipating that August will be the launching of a new era where I can finally focus on my writing full time, guilt free—both through blogging and pursuing book publication. I have tons of ideas I’ve been accumulating and putting on the back burner until Elliana starts kindergarten. I’ve tried many times through the years to thrust ahead with my ideas, only to be gently reminded by God to walk at the children’s pace. I sense the day is finally coming where I can sprint. I very well may combust if God tells me to wait again. And yes, I do realize He may ask that of me.
Of course, in the midst of each of these seasons, I will still be running a household of five, which consists of but is not limited to
trying to be a decent wife (which is WAY harder than it looks),
cooking healthy meals,
keeping up on the laundry and four dirty bathrooms,
remembering which kid needs to be where and when,
and fulfilling my various volunteering obligations at church and at school.
Oh, and I would also like to have the occasional dinner or lunch with my girlfriends, so I don’t go completely bonkers. (now you understand why it takes me three months to prepare four speaking sessions!)
So, anyway, for the last few months, whenever I prayed for direction on New Year’s Resolutions, I kept taking this list and holding it up to God and asking, “What do you want me to accomplish this year that isn’t already scheduled for me? What do you want me to become, and how can I improve? What will help me be the most effective person I can be for Your Kingdom this year—what is one thing that will carry me through each of these unique seasons?
And the word that kept coming to me was “Time.”
Okay. Um. “Time” is not a verb. Why can’t I have a verb, God? Verbs are easier to implement. Like “surrender” or “give” or “pursue.” Those words make more sense and translate nicely into lists.
(Well, I suppose, technically, “time” could be a verb. As in, “Can you time Sandy to see how many hours it takes her to explain her New Year’s Resolutions?”)
But I’m fairly certain I’m not hearing “Time the Verb.”
I’m hearing “Time the Noun.”
Cherish the Time
Time is Short
When I pray, all of those statements (and more) flood my mind. But what does it all mean?
A few weeks ago, I still wasn’t quite sure. So, I looked up every Bible verse with the word “time” in it. And then I wrote most of them out. I was seeking clarity and insight. But, honestly, I still felt a bit lost and confused. None of the verses gave me that “aha” moment I was hoping for.
I mean, I understand what “time” means, but if I’m going to select a goal for the entire year, I really want to make sure it’s God leading me there. Otherwise, I’m just running into walls, know what I mean? And though I had a word from God (maybe), I didn’t really know how it translated into a goal. Especially when my focus will shift so drastically from month to month.
In fact, while I was looking up all those verses, the scripture that continued to come to my mind didn’t have the word “time” in it at all.
Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away…Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:10, 12
So, I took all my scriptures (with and without the word “time”) along with what I already had scheduled for 2012. Then I factored in all the unknown things that will happen (good and bad) that are not yet scheduled and will completely take me by surprise and undoubtedly throw me into a tizzy…
And I concluded that in order for me do and be all that God created me to do and be in 2012, (sound the trumpets) I need a major Time Overhaul.
I’m suspecting my very first item of Time Overhaul Business will be to eliminate Time Wasters. And I also suspect I will be revisiting my To Don’t List, and maybe even adding a few additional items that I will prayerfully neglect for the sake of balance. And I also suspect I will be blogging about in real time. (get it? Real TIME?)
And, truth be told, all of this will all go so much more smoothly if I could translate this vague noun-resolution to tangible goals. Which I haven’t really done yet, because I haven’t really had the time.
That wasn’t funny. I sincerely apologize.
Hopefully, as I move through each mini-season of 2012, swinging from one major undertaking to the next, God will direct me in new ways on how to manage, save and cherish the time—ways that will be unique to each season.
Of course, this may just be something on which I need to focus right now, until I get things under control, and then He will give me a totally different focus for the Spring.
Which is why I reserve the right to update and/or discard this Resolution at any point in the future.
Now it’s your turn. Have you written a post about New Year’s Resolutions? Maybe you’ve written a post saying you are NOT making any resolutions this year. That’s cool. I get that. No matter what you think and feel about annual goals or New Year’s Resolutions, I would love to read about it. Add your link below so we can all come visit you.
If you do link up, please remember to link to your specific post and not your blog’s URL. Also, please be courteous and link back to this post so your readers know where they can find us!
If you don’t have a blog or didn’t write a resolutions-type post, leave a comment telling me about your goals for 2012.