I've identified 10 changes I want to see in my life in 2009. Call them resolutions if you like. I have much more I could say about them, but I wanted them to be somewhat brief here. The first 3 are general and pervasive through the next 7, and are things I've been working on for years (ordering not important). The last 7 are more specific (and in order). I know that it's really God who works change, and that everything below should say "Lord-willing" after it, but just accept that up front if you would.
10. A year of clearer boundaries. I'm thinking of several areas here including the areas of hospitality (more at #6), personal organization, what I do in my different workplaces, time with my wife (more at #2), what we let our kids do and not do, etc. This isn't about "tighter" boundaries necessarily (well, maybe in a few areas). But muddy boundaries make for a muddy life. Clarity is, well, clarifying.
9. A year of fewer excuses. I'm sick of my mind running to look for better excuses for why things aren't different, better, possible. I've been working on this area for some time because it's a tough one for me. I'm going to work at dropping excuses, admit when I'm wrong, and press on. "Do or do not. There is no 'try.'"
8. A year of greater risk. Comfort is an easy default mode for me. Risk is a sexy word to me, and a sexy idea. But all too often it's a word and idea and not much else. This year when I catch myself being too protective or fearful (also see #7) I'm going to try and let go and go for it. I'm still going to count the cost, I'm just going to try and not selfishly count the cost.
7. A year of saying what needs to be said. I'm a prophet-type guy. I used to be the guy who would say things and then find out later that I was actually very bold and courageous and truthful and transformational, though at the time it didn't feel at all courageous. I've been tamed a bit, and I'm sick of it. This year I'm going to speak when I feel led to instead of feeling later on that I should have said something. This will result in things from more direct evangelism, to more regular meetings with church folks who are slacking, to a louder public voice in my city, to many other things.
6. A year of expanding our "public" space. I'm thinking mostly hospitality and relational discipleship here. Some things have led us to restrict levels of private space and too rarely invite people in. Most of those things are stupid and selfish. We are going to try to open our home more, enjoy the company of friends and strangers more, etc. We used to influence people more through things like letting them be around parenting situations. This worked especially well with university students. We don't do that enough anymore. We have been really changed over the years by hanging around older Christians,
pastors, and others and watching their life, asking questions, and
just sitting and soaking in the relationship. We need to be more intentional about being there for others.
5. A year of scheduling mission. This has always been something I've done, but it's waned and I want to get serious about it again. Unscheduled mission is always easier for me (ALWAYS!) when scheduled mission is happening. So really this will help scheduled and unscheduled mission. I've already added some significant chunks into my winter schedule. I'm going to vary the locations, means, and approach. Along with this I have some ideas from last year that we shelved until some core changes happen at our church, which are coming very soon (see #4).
4. A year of church transformation. Starting in a few weeks the changes I've been working for at my church for more than 4 1/2 years are finally going to start happening. We are working on reconstituting, restarting, and renaming our church. That's just the beginning. Last year we made some important decisions and went through some real pain to make what's happening in 2009 a reality. Should be a busy, fruitful, exciting, and risky year. I'll try to keep you posted here.
3. A year of discipling our children better. Last year discipleship was just ok. We are still not close to what I want for my kids. I have a picture of what I want to see in their lives, of how I want them to experience the gospel, truth, faith, ministry, and compassion. Now we will day-by-day begin, one stroke at a time, to paint that picture.
2. A year of rediscovering my wife. The end of 2008 was really difficult for my marriage. We never grew apart or stopped loving or liking each other or anything like that. But most of my readers know how really tough these last few months have been. When you spend all the time thinking about how your car isn't working right you never get to experience the joy of being on the road. You get too focused on the problems. Same with our relationship. We need to get out and feel the wind in our hair and hug a few turns on the country roads again, even if Molly's issues mean it will be at a slower speed. This means things like getting date nights back in order, finding more time in the evenings to just hang and talk about something other than what's wrong with Molly, and me stopping being such a jerk. :)
1. A year of responding better to the Holy Spirit's promptings. I've noticed, especially over the last half of the year, some things in my life that just aren't in order. They get better, and then worse again. I going to spend more time preaching the gospel to myself. I'm going to refresh the disciplines while also simplifying things a bit. I'm going to be more protective of times of silence and solitude. I'm looking forward to a growing intimacy with the Lord over 2009.