wool-gathering

Well here I am on a Thursday night, sitting in a house full of quiet. The husband is out with a friend and the baby is fast alseep. The dishes are all done . . . well most of them, and I am alone with my musings.

Another year is about to become history, a memory, something called “the past.” This change from one year to the next has always caused a small ache in my heart as I’m reminded very poignantly that life is ever so short. For example, all the moments I looked so forward to and thought would never come this past year have come and gone with such a rapidity that leaves me in awe. I guess the small ache can be attributed to the passing of the familiar more than anything. Not being the most adventurous of people, I have always been quite content with the familiar things in life. Entering a new year is like entering a vast unknown, and taking that small step in time from 11:59pm on the 31st of December to 12:00am on the 1st of January causes me some slight trepidation.

I realize how silly this all sounds. Why each new minute brings about things previously unknown to me. But there is something symbolic, something awe inspiring about a new year for me. Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to things yet to come, the changing of seasons, the life to be lived. It’s the wishing farewell to the dear things of 2011 that gets me choked up sometimes. Though I look forward to things yet to be, I, at the same time, hold on tightly to my current experiences. Yet, my hand is only strong enough to grasp one at a time. So the current becomes past and the future current, each exchange bearing good as the Father works out His perfect plan.

It’s the not the memories and experiences I sit and reminisce about tonight however. It’s the tireless marching of time that’s put me to wool-gathering. For instance, how many new years has this little house I’m sheltered in seen in its time? How many families have gathered here and about what did they talk? I wonder what joys and sorrows were experienced here before me. How many mothers nursed their young ones; how many children scampered across the wood flooring in playful joy? I suppose it’s not very productive to sit and ponder such things, but for me, it conjures up a renewed sense of determination and motivation to live life well. Those who once enjoyed this home’s warmth have gone now, and it is not they who live but I. Time has past and is passing. Plan to make the most of what is to come. I want to encourage myself to not waste time looking backwards; because all the mistakes and accomplishments and sorrows and joys of 2011 are now jotted down in life’s great journal and cannot be added to or altered. There’s no use in looking backward now, unless it is for education or encouraging reflection. Fretting over what has been is of no use. Planning for what will be is of great value.

I recently read an article stressing the importance of planning, and I really appreciated the emphasis the author put on planning for spiritual enrichment just as we would plan for physical fitness or some other common New Year’s resolution. Encouraged by their admonition, I have begun to plan for 2012. I’m not one for making resolutions (because they vaguely remind me of unkept camp decisions, if you know what I mean), but I feel compelled to map out things that I feel the Spirit is leading me to put an emphasis on in this coming year. So I guess I’m making resolutions this year!

I’ll write them down here in case you’re curious. Also, I’ve heard writing out your resolutions serves to bolster your determination to actually stick with it. I figured a little accountability from you fine folks wouldn’t hurt either.

1. Plan to plan

Go ahead and laugh, but I’m starting with the basics. I figure, if I’m gonna get anywhere with this whole resolution thing, I’m gonna have to plan on planning. By this I mean, I need to be serious about using my days effectively by consciously deciding that I am going to make plans each day. However, I also want to keep in mind that plans are simply that, just plans. They aren’t realities or guarantees. They’re just imaginations that I must commit to prayer and trust the Lord to bring about if it is in His good plan.

2. Plan biblical studies for each month

I have this bad habit of haphazardly studying a book of the Bible without any clear direction of how I’m going to go about gaining a deeper understanding of the text. I want to deliberately (and probably roughly) map out what and how I’m going to study a particular portion of Scripture, all the while being sensitive the Spirit’s leading and not being locked in my own agenda.

3. Plan for meals

Deciding what to make for dinner is a daily scourge! I’m notoriously bad at planning a meal schedule. I’m not sure why it’s so hard for me, but it is. Currently, I’m working on a system that I think is going to make this whole process much smoother and more enjoyable. I will hopefully be sharing it with you in the not-so-distant future.

4. Plan for physical activity

If you haven’t heard yet, I was given a car this past month by some very generous friends! Meaning, I can go to the park with Ali and run!!! Well, it means a great deal more than that, but I think that might be what I’m most excited about. I’m looking for a jogging stroller so if anyone has one that I can borrow please let me know. I’d really like to work on building up my endurance, so if anybody has any helpful suggestions, please comment!

5. Plan on what books I’m going to read

I love reading. There are so many books I want to read however, that I kinda get stuck deciding on which ones to start with. So I’m going to start with what’s on our bookshelves and move forward. I think I’m going to shoot for one book/month. The winner for January is: Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest by Edward Welch (a book I’ve started twice but have never finished :).

If you’ve read this whole post, I’m astonished. It’s quite a rambling and carrying on about nonsensical ponderings. It’s something I had to get sorted out though, and I appreciate you lending me your ears . . . or . . .  err, eyes that is. I would really enjoy being inspired by your resolutions for this coming year so feel free to share those in your comments! Happy New Year friends!

Christmas day: Aletheia has already started on her book list for the new year 😉
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