Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Key to New Years Resolutions and a BOLD Lifestyle Change

The day before New Years Eve, my husband and I sat down and wrote/talked out our priorities and goals for 2012. I used the guidelines that Crystal over at Money Saving Mom posted here. The process was very thorough and allowed for us to talk about all facets of our lives, which my husband of course loved.

I plan to publish these goals in their own page and then update you periodically on my/our progress, much like I attempted to do with my 101 Goals in 1001 Days list that disappeared into cyber space a few months in. {{sob}}

I think it's pretty clear that the attraction to starting new goals, resolutions, (lifestyle changes, setting new priorities, or whatever you want to call them) on January first is because the new year is a blank slate. It's refreshing to wake up and know that there are 365 days left, that it's the beginning. A breath of fresh air, a chance to start anew, forget the pain and failures of the year before and focus on what is to come. Your hopes, dreams, and motivations aren't yet polluted by frustrations, closed doors, broken hearts, or failures. 

Source: via Teresa on Pinterest

The underlying motivation behind each of our goals this year is to be more intentional. Intentional about reading, praying, seeking the Lords council, and ditching lazy bad habits (ie fast food inhalation and couch potato-itis).

Reflecting on 2011 we both felt like there was a lack of growth on our parts, spiritually, emotionally, and physically (growth/loss same difference). I believe we both grew, but not as much as we would have hoped, as we think the Lord would have had us grow. There are still some parental achievements, financial goals, and personal accomplishments we'd like to conquer. During our brainstorming session we talked about where we would like to be, we prayed for strength, renewal and motivation. We prayed for what is to come, the future choices we make and our desires to be better.

However, in my bible reading this morning (yeah, one of my goals!) I found this verse:

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.  - Acts 3:19

Isn't that the perfect New Years verse? I realize it is referring to ultimate salvation, that first decision we have all made to put down our worldly desires and follow Christ, but doesn't this stand to be revisited on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis?

The world is all around us. Temptations are everywhere. Food we shouldn't eat in excess, couches we shouldn't wear holes in, things we shouldn't envy, social networks we shouldn't abuse, tv we shouldn't idolize, vices we shouldn't utilize, are practically unavoidable.

When I read this verse, I felt a jolt through my heart. An instant realization that while we spent a lot of time talking about what we want to achieve and why, we wont succeed, we wont feel the refreshing from the Lord, if we do not confess to the things that have kept us from accomplishing these goals this far. Repentance is the key to keeping our resolutions, the key to success. If we don't repent and turn away from the things that have unnecessary holds on us, it's only a matter of time before we fail. Miserably. Again.

I don't kneel in prayer often, I love that I can pray anywhere eyes open or shut, but this morning I did. I humbled myself before the Lord and bowed before my King in confession for being useless (essentially). During my confession, I felt a strong pull, a clear conviction, to cut out watching television on week nights.

Woah where did that come from? It certainly wasn't from me. This is something that I've thought about before, but not in a serious manner. Oh if only I didn't watch this junk or I can't believe I spent 8 hours watching tv this week and not doing x, y or z, but never really thinking I'd give it up.

In November, I started actively striving to achieve a personal goal, a passion of mine, and realized the only way I can do this is to wake up before the world, at 5:30 AM to be precise. Then I have solitude, and my mind is pure, unaffected by the stresses of life or influences of the world. But to get up at 5:30, I need to be in bed no later than 10:00, but my favorite shows, the ones I like the most-most-most, end at 11:00. This made me think more seriously about cutting out TV during the week, but it's easier to watch TV than get up at 5:30 so I tried doing both and only made it about 3 weeks before hitting a wall.

But here we are, in the beginning of January, in the wee hours of 2012, staring at that refreshing blank slate that gives artists something to draw on and dreamers time to dream. I'm recommitting to focus on my goal, not for me, but for the Lord, because I believe He wants to see me bring it to completion, that He has been waiting on me for some time now. I don't want to keep Him waiting.

I'm sharing this with you, not to say "look at what I am doing" but to tell you openly and honestly where I struggle. Television in and of itself can be okay, but most of the shows on it are trash. Lets be honest, the main story lines that I spend my time watching (unwittingly investing in) involve meaningless relationships, murder, revenge, and the quest for great financial gain or fame. I wouldn't call myself a television junky or addict by any means but it's an easy form of entertainment, it's mindless and I've been turning to it increasingly more lately for relaxation.

Our pastors message on Sunday was timely and eye opening. He referenced 1 Corinthians 10:31 "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." Is it God honoring for me to waste so much time watching things that coherently challenge and go against each and every moral value that I hold dear and strive to live for? Not as regularly as I do, not when I know I should be going to bed early and rising before the sun to spend time with my Lord and working on a project He has given me the talents to complete.

I'm not sharing this for any recognition from others, or to convince or convict anyone else, but to share about how the Lord is working on me, and to admit that I'm going to finally make a change. I'm going to try and be faithful to Him in obedience. I will be cutting out all television beginning at 6:00 PM on Sunday's until 6:00 PM on Friday's. 

I've not yet worked through how long of a commitment this needs to be, definitely until my project is completed, most certainly not less than 3 months, but perhaps less than 6? I guess I will let the Lord work on me, steer me and lead me in where He wants to take me in this. In an effort to share full disclosure, we have a DVR and so I do plan to tape a few of my favorite shows to watch on Friday or Saturday evenings. However, it is my thought, and hope, that while I'll be taping them, over time, their pull on me will in fact decrease. As has my desire to watch NCIS this season (we tape that so Brian and I can watch Tim Allen's show together, but I haven't followed up and watched a single missed episode of NCIS, so there you have it).

I owe much of this ambition to Heather from A Mom Without Facebook, while the goal in and of itself is different, the meaning, and intentions behind the goals are the same. I'm encouraged by her will power and strength to go a year without Facebook and all that she has learned about herself along the way. It is my prayer that I can be so strong, in my goal to be less of a time waster and more of a doer for Christ.

To help hold myself accountable I will be blogging on this semi regularly, to let you know how I am doing on my goal and share what I'm learning about myself along the way. I will also create a button for my home page to remind me of my commitment, please feel free to grab it and show me your support, or use it to help you make a commitment of your own.

If your visiting from Money Saving Mom I want to thank you for stopping by, I hope you'll leave a comment and join me on this journey by following my blog!

God Bless.

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