I resolved to improve three areas of my life this year — and try my darndest to stick with it.
So, the doctor tells me that I really need to watch my consumption of all good and tasty food (read: junk food). My bad cholesterol is still really high. But now, I’m dancing around in the pre-diabetes range when it comes to glucose. Yay. But really, more than watching what I eat, I need to exercise more. I simply don’t exercise enough. It’s embarrassing how often I don’t reach my daily goal of 10,000 steps a day. Even more embarrassing is how woefully under 10k I am when I call it a night.
So, I resolve to walk more; run a bit; make use of this gym membership that’s collecting dust; simply, stop being lazy and be active.
24 books for 2015. That’s my goal. It’s not much, really. But 24 seems like a good, even number.
And I’m not limiting it to just church/faith/ministry related books, but books in all genres. Basically I want to spend more time reading books than watching silly television shows (not that I’m giving up on TV completely. I need my stories!)
This post by Jon Acuff and this by Austin Kleon helped me reframe my approach to reading for 2015. First is the permission to stop reading when I’ve lost interest in the book. I often force myself to finish a book, even when I find it utterly boring and don’t pay attention to what I’m reading. I feel guilty leaving a book unfinished. But that’s silly. If it can’t hold my interest, I’m shelving it and moving on to the next book. Secondly, instead of focusing on the ever growing amount of books on my To-Read shelf, I’m going to shift my focus on creating a shelf-space for Finished! books for 2015. I can already add 1: (Whoo!) Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. And it was a great book. I’m more than halfway through The Martian by Andy Weir and not only am I thoroughly enjoying it, but I wonder how this is going to look on the big screen (I think Matt Damon is playing the main character). I’m also midway through The Renegade Gospel by Mike Slaughter, which will be our Lenten study and sermon series. And a friend got me Reading the Bible with the Damned by Bob Ekblad and while I was initially disappointed that this had nothing to do with zombies, I’m looking forward to reading it after I finish Mike Slaughter’s book. Hopefully by giving myself permission to be okay with not finishing a book and focusing more on my growing Finished! list of books from my ever growing to-read list, I hope to read at least 24 books this year.
Before Christmas Eve service, I went to church hours before service was going to start. I sat in the sanctuary getting things prepped and ready for the worship celebration. It was so quiet, I took a few minutes to just sit and observe just how quiet and still everything was. I took a moment to catch my breath and I realized that I hadn’t done that in a while. In that time of just being quiet, I felt my heart grow with wonder. I don’t think we, as clergy, take enough time to ponder the health of our souls. Sure, we go around asking, “how goes your soul?” but I feel that we rarely ask ourselves that question.
One way I will tend my soul is to stay offline until 900am.
The purpose of that is to frame my day correctly. The first thing I do when I wake up is to reach for my phone and check emails, social network updates, and so forth. I’m already in “go” mode, and I’m still lying down in bed! Besides, your entire day can be ruined by reading a stupid email first thing in the morning and nobody needs that. Those emails and updates will be just as ready for me at 900am as they are when I get up at 530am. Just kidding. I can’t get up that early. And no, I don’t resolve to get up early. Instead, as Adam Hamilton suggested, the first thing I’m going to do is to pray, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” Let’s start the day off right, you know? Instead of reading email or Facebook notification first thing in the morning, remind myself that I am God’s and commit myself to be used by God that day and everyday. (and though these posts may go live before 9am — they’re written at least a couple of days, some times weeks before they go live)
I also intend to take time throughout the day to be filled with wonder. I can’t tell you how much Abraham Heschel’s prayer “I did not ask for success; I asked for wonder” impacted my heart and I find myself praying to be filled with awe and wonder rather than being overtly successful. And I’m inclined to think that’s a very good thing.
So here’s to 2015!
May your year be fruitful and filled with wonder!