That’s my New Year’s Resolution: to be more deliberate, to live deliberately.
This past year has been hard. No major tragedies or upheavals (although family members and friends have faced both), but just hard in a “pecked to death by baby ducks” and “if it’s not one thing it’s another” sort of way. There were days (more frequent than I care to admit) where I found myself just white knuckling it to get through, or waking with a sense of apprehension that I wasn’t ready for anything. Basically, I just let my life get out of control.
So, I resolve to be deliberate:
- To be deliberate in my faith and my relationship with God instead of just being dismayed at the lousy state of my spiritual life.
- To be deliberate in my marriage: to encourage and cherish and appreciate the husband God was so kind to provide.
- To deliberately and delightfully parent my children. Parenting is challenging, and parenting my boys is often exhausting. But letting the challenges and the exhaustion steer our family isn’t fair to any of us. The children least of all.
- To be deliberate in my appreciation of the wonderful life I have. Occasionally, I find myself in a moment: cuddling with MTG, reading to the kids, or being chased by pirates and think “Wow, this is really wonderful. I should savor this.” How many moments do I miss because I’m too distracted to recognize the opportunity.
- To be deliberate in my reading, in my thinking, in my blogging, in how I interact with others. Just…deliberate. Thoughtful. Purposeful.
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Which, when it comes down to it, is a rather vague resolution, of the “I’m gonna be a better person” variety. How, exactly? Ah, excellent question. And I’ll let you know when I figure that out. I have a couple of thoughts banging around my noggin, not practical steps, but a jumping off point.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Cor. 9:27 NIV) and C.S. Lewis, quoting St. Francis, called the body “Brother Ass” explaining
“Ass is exquisitely right because no one in his senses can either revere or hate a donkey. It is useful, sturdy, lazy, obstinate, patient, lovable and infuriating beast; deserving now the stick and now a carrot, both pathetically and absurdly beautiful. So the body.” The Four Loves C.S. Lewis
What has this to do with being deliberate? Being deliberate is basically being disciplined. (Other translations use “discipline my body” rather than “beat my body.”) I, like the rest of creation, tend toward entropy. When things are going well, I just let them go along until “suddenly” things aren’t going so well. And in the up and down and round about, I feel all those things “useful, sturdy, lazy, obstinate, patient, lovable and (most of all) infuriating.” To be deliberate is to work against the entropy at every step, to keep a tighter rein on “Brother Ass”, to do and to be with purpose.
And, to quote Paul again, “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Whatever happens this year, whatever challenges I face, I pray that I meet them deliberately, with faith in God and courage to walk whatever path is before me. Deliberately.