Sunday, January 4, 2009
Mulligans and Resolutions
New Year's resolutions are like cats, you either like them or you don't.
I, for one, always look forward to opportunities to start anew. Whether it's the first day of school, a Monday morning or a new year. It's like God is saying, "Okay, all that before today? That's your mulligan. Now we're playing for keeps."
I used to make long lists of resolutions for the New Year. Sometimes on paper, sometimes just in my head. They were usually the same things: grow my nails, lose weight, be nice, keep up with the laundry. Then, last year, my friend Becky inspired me to find a word or a phrase for the year. Little did I know that I would rely on that phrase as much as I did, and I'm happy to say that I grew from it. My phrase was "God is faithful." It took me through a year of selling our house and moving, my brother being on the other side of the world in a war zone, my oldest son striking out on his own, and a few minor personal trials thrown in besides. None of it was easy, but putting my faith where it belongs taught me a few things.
This year, as I struggle with trying to get my act together in a few areas of my life, the word that comes to mind is purposeful. I want to be more purposeful in the way I live my life. In the words I choose and how I spend my time
I am heartened by this passage in John 15:
I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.
I know that there are lots of areas in my life that need pruning back. There are branches that have gotten out of control, that are no longer productive or bearing fruit. I want to be more intentional and focused, not just on tasks and activities, but on my relationships, too. I'm so blessed to have a life filled with family and friends. And, I easily become the go-to person in a lot of situations, admittedly because I set myself up for it. This year I'll pray for discernment as to how I spend my time. I'll try to be more deliberate in my tasks, focusing on what's in front of me -- even if it's something as mundane as making the bed or making sack lunches -- instead of using the time to think about what else is on my list. And take time to breathe, so that I'm giving the best part of me to the person I'm with.
And to remember that I can't do it alone. . .
You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.