I'm getting ready to load up the car (hopefully there will be enough room to bring home both of the boys) and head home in a couple of hours but I've spent the last 2-3 days thinking through what adjustments I need to make in my life/schedule/routine in 2009.
What's been helpful in planning for this year is that I have a clear goal in mind. I'm not looking to be more effective or efficient - not that there's anything wrong with that but it doesn't take me all the way down to the bottom. I'd still be asking why effectiveness and efficiency matter. So while I want to be more effective and efficient, the reason is because my great desire would be to spend this year knowing God in such a way that it leads to greater trust in Him as I take my place in his mission.
As I've been working through some material we're going to be using to help people walk away from addiction, I was struck by two ridiculously basic ideas: the goal of life is to know God...and knowing God matters because all of life is a battle to believe that God is good, true and all-satisfying. Failure to trust (or live by faith) is the reason I sin - banking my life on lots of good things and a few not-so-good things as God-replacements.
So my life has to be shaped in such a way that I'm moving slowly away from doubt and unbelief to trust and faith. This is pretty basic but I'm rather slow on the draw so I have to be intentional in putting myself in situations and getting around things that will move me towards faith and trust rather than wandering in the opposite direction. Because my life is never hovering in neutral - I'm always moving towards God or away from him. I'm either growing more satisfied with life in his kingdom or I'm straining to build my own little magic kingdom, even as I know that whatever I promise myself will disappoint and eventually destroy me.
So here are a few things that I've been thinking through for 2009:
- Daily renewal in the gospel through reading the Scriptures and reflection in meditation (prayer and writing). I'll be reading through the ESV Study Bible this year as well as doing some advance work in the books we're teaching through during our 2009 worship gatherings.
- More structure in my schedule. While I enjoy the flexibility that my job allows, I work best when I get into a rhythm. So Lindsey and I are talking through what this looks like at home and then I'll put this in front of our elders and staff. The purpose of my schedule is to help me best serve my family, our leadership at the church, our members, other churches and the surrounding community. I can get by without a schedule but I am far more selfish and far less effective with my time when I just wing it.
- One book a week. I've gotten into the habit of reading many books at once and finishing almost none of them because I can't figure out which one I want to pick up for the five minutes I have while I'm waiting to get my haircut or the thirty seconds my eyes will stay open after I crawl in bed. So I'm going to read one book from cover to cover until I finish or determine that it's not worth reading anymore. I'm pretty sure I'll end up reading more than one book a week but no reason to frustrate myself on the front end.
- Eating and exercise. I'm 33 and I'm planning for 40. That means I can't recover quite as quickly from the heavy weightlifting I've been doing for the past fifteen years and because my already glacieresque metabolism is slowing down even more, I have to continually reassess what I eat (except apparently around the holidays...good grief!). So I'm running four days a week - pushing myself to increase time and distance - and lifting three days a week - alternating reps, amount of weight, time between sets, etc. I take Sundays off so right now, Thursday I'm running and lifting on the same day. That should be fun!
- Long-distance sermon planning. As of right now, we're planning on teaching through Exodus, Philiippians and the Song of Songs this year, with shorter series related to the cross and addiction, worship, community and our advent series through Matthew 1-2. I'm just about finished with a planning schedule that will keep my reading and preparation far enough in advance to write study guides and community group material.