I've been posting about resolutions for several days now and I plan on finishing up my mini-series on Jonathan Edwards tomorrow. But, today I want to share with you some resolutions I've made for 2010 and beyond.
1. Resolved, to read the Bible in 90 days cover to cover. And to be constantly in Bible study.
I was challenged by Kimberly at Raising Olives, but Mom's Toolbox is actually hosting the challenge and is where you can sign up to be a part of the fun. I'm so grateful my husband has agreed to do this with me so we can hold each other accountable. I've never attempted this before and I'm excited, yet nervous about it. I'm hoping to gain a better familiarity with Scripture and a more firm Bible chronology at my fingertips. During this time I will continue with my kids on our one year Bible reading plan (we do this aloud together).
I have often heard women tell me that they don't have time for Bible study at this point in their lives. God gives each of us 24 hrs in a day. How little of that time do we normally spend getting to know the One who made us, sustains us, loves us more than anyone else does, cares for our struggles, redeems us, and is preparing a place for us in heaven? Isn't it convicting when you stop to think about it? Our priority each day should be our time in the Word of God. His Word never goes forth in vain. It is sharper than a two-edged sword and pierces us. Is it possible to be sanctified, to grow more like Christ, to sin less, without spending time in the Bible? No, it's not. So, what are we waiting for? Let's just do it.
2. Resolved, to make time in our schedule for us to minister to others as a family.
If you have kids you know that just keeping up with their school work and activities is quite demanding. One of the main reasons I wanted to homeschool our kids is so we could more easily take advantage of ministry opportunities. Well, I've dropped the ball on that. I once read a quote regarding money that said something like, "what I spent is gone, what I saved I lost, but what I gave away is mine forever." I love that quote and think it applies to our time, as well. I've been so convicted and challenged by Jonathan Edwards' disciplined use of time. No, I'm not going to set aside a certain number of hours for this, but I am going to determine to review my resolutions each week like he did and keep them always before me. This will serve as a reminder of my priorities. Jesus came as the humble servant. If I'm a slave to Christ, if the Lord is my Master, then it follows that I will be serving Him. Keep me accountable in this, because I need it.
3. Resolved, to live each day as if I had a terminal disease, which all of us do!
I love that Edwards' determined to live as he thought he would wish to have as an old man looking back over his life. A life without regrets is what I want to have. I want to appreciate my family now. I want to study my Bible now. I want to be a woman of prayer now. I want to grow spiritually now. I want to be obedient now. I want to be a friend now. I don't want to wait until I'm left with memories full of regrets.
4. Resolved, to eat and exercise to the extent that I think the Lord would be pleased with should His return be imminent.
I know this is somewhat subjective, but what I have in mind here is moderation. I've struggled over control in this seemingly insignificant area in my life and I want to pay less and more attention to it. Let me explain. I want to NOT focus on whether or not I look how I would like to. (Let's face it, that's never going to happen, anyway.) I want to focus more on whether I'm eating more than I need. Edwards really inspired me in this area. He thought in terms of energy and effectiveness. I want to see my life as God does. I'm sure He couldn't care less what I look like, but my character, how much idle time I allow myself, how much time I'm devoting to exercise, how much excess I allow myself to indulge in, these He cares a geat deal about.
When I was young and single I would deny myself food and exercise to excess. Now that I'm way too busy to think about my appearance for more than 30 seconds a day I don't struggle with those issues. I've begun having the opposite problem of just not caring about exercise or diet, as long as I can fit in my clothes. I've focused on the wrong thing. The end result is neither here nor there. The point of Scripture prohibiting gluttony has nothing to do with the end result of weight or appearance, but everything to do with the godly character traits of self-control, industry, and contentment. We know that bodily discipline is of some value, but spiritual discipline of much more value. So, I can spend some time exercising, but probably not as much time as I would like. And I can eat sweets and praise God for them. And I can drink fraps and mochas, too. The key is to avoid excess. And this is where it gets tricky. Richard Baxter, another Puritan, wrote a lot about this. I think the key is to think like Edwards did about meeting the Lord and reviewing my life with Him. What will He think of the amount of time, money, and energy I've devoting to food and exercise? I think it's that eternal perspective that helps us live each day now for the glory of God.
5. Resolved, to make studying the Bible, memorizing Scripture, and praying the priority of our homeschool.
I recently read several books written by bloggers that really helped me "get" this. The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach by Robin Sampson encourages Christian families to follow the Hebrew method of centering education around teaching God's Word to our children (Deuteronomy 6). Lynnette Kraft encourages the same thing, but comes at it from a heart-wrenching testimony of loss. In her book, In Faithfulness, He Afflicted Me, Lynnette shares about the sudden death of her 6 year old daughter who had suffered from heart problems. She was able to reflect back on her daughter's great love for the Lord and command of Scripture. She is so grateful that she didn't make math and spelling the priorities in their homeschool each day. She is comforted and encouraged by the knowledge that her precious daughter is in heaven with the Lord. What else really matters?
I know that's only 5. What can I say? I'm a minimalist. But, if I actually live by these 5 resolutions, think how different my life will be.
What are your resolutions for 2010 and beyond? Will you keep me accountable? Perhaps I should blog about my resolutions from time to time. Successes, failures, thrills, and discouragement. Edwards' personal diary shows how very consumed he was with living life according to his 70 resolutions. He reviewed them each week and wrote about the degree to which he was living out each one. My goal is to also read over my resolutions once a week and reflect on my progress at that time.