A New Year, complete with resolutions

I've never been one to make resolutions, really at all, mainly because throughout most of my life I have had little confidence in my ability to see things through - particularly difficult things. I've a long history of being a quitter. That is a trait I've seen change markedly since becoming a Christian at the age of 40. I've seen how I really can "do all things in Him who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13). I do not mean by this, nor does the context of that Scripture reference imply, that I can run a marathon, or compose a symphony; make a million dollars this year, get on MTV, or become a faith healer. What it does mean is that I can keep doing whatever it is God has given me to do even when it gets difficult and unpleasant. I've learned that it is God who is at work in me both to will and to work according to His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). I've learned that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it at the day of Jesus Christ. ( Phil. 1:6) In short, I've learned that if I've resolved to do something that accords with God's purpose in my life, God gives me grace to see it through. Sometimes it doesn't feel like I'll be able to pull it off, especially when it seems I've lost even the desire to pull it off. Sometimes I come very close to giving up, and when that happens there's this word from God to uphold me - and uphold me it has, over and over: "And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart".

And on a more basic,common-sense level, there's something else I've learned: without any goals I tend to squander my time, to move about aimlessly. It's tremendously easy as a Christian to spiritualize this stagnation as waiting for the final end goal - the ultimate consummation of my salvation - the return of the Savior. It is helpful to remember, however, that Christians for millenia have lived and died in that hope. I am called to occupy until He comes, to invest my talents, trim my lamp (Mt. 25), and be found caring for those of His household (Mt. 24:45-46) when He comes. I've also learned of that startling possiblity that a (so-called) Christian can deceive himself into inactivity, using the very sovereignty of God as an excuse for laziness - thinking that God's going to do what He's going to do regardless of his choices, so it's okay to do nothing. This is the person God refers to in the end as a "wicked and slothful servant," and "worthless". This one will in the end be shown to have been no true Christian at all as God commands this "worthless" one to be cast "into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." (Mt. 25:26,30)

So, I've learned it is better to make many goals and reach a few, than to make no goals and accomplish nothing. It should also be obvious that my goals should be to the glory of God, as best I can understand, and in line with my own "talents". It would make no sense for me to take on goals God has clearly not gifted me for. (ie. I will not purpose to become a pastor, since I'm a woman; or a mother of 5, since I'm nearly 45; to get a job on an off-shore oil rig, or teach a course in algebra or physics....)

So, in the spirit of what I've learned, I've decided to make some resolutions this New Year:

1. Teach the class on John Owen's, Mortification of Sin, which I've already committed to begin this spring (and nearly backed out of twice!)

2. Mortify the sin of harboring dislike toward folks who don't like me (I could also call it learning to genuinely love my enemies and love my brothers and sisters in Christ from the heart).

3. Memorize the book of Romans.

4. Read Milton's, Paradise Lost.

5. Read Dostoevsky's, The Brothers Karamazov.

6. Finish painting my kitchen, and finish the floors in the spare room.

7. Invest several more hours per week in building the book business, with the ultimate goal that it replace my housecleaning business someday.

8. Begin an on-line reading group with one of my blogger friends (N - that's you).

9. Paint my first canvas in acrylic (or call that, become an artist again).

10. and last, but least likely: to get half-way through my refresher course in New Testament Greek.

Comments

Andy C said…
An ambitious but very list! Let your 2009 be full of accomplishments. I like the tie in to what God's involvement is. Too often these lists are about us, not Him.

It is funny we both talked about resolutions today, but I am moving in a different direction.

I see you changed templates, I like the look but wish blogger has a 3 column format.
David Porter said…
Laurie,

First of all, I like the new look of your blog. It looks like you have put a fresh coat of paint on your blog as well.

Secondly, a wonderful list of future accomplishments. These things will certainly help you to bring glory to God.

I am especially impressed with memorizing Romans.

Go for it!
barrywallace said…
Excellent post, Laurie. Along with David, I'm impressed with your goal of memorizing Romans. I can't think of a better resolution.

I've also been thinking about the value of making resolutions, especially in light of Jonathan Edwards' resolutions.
Debbie said…
Laurie,

I love the new look for your blog. It's easy to read and visually pleasing. Your list is very ambitious and He will give you the strength and wisdom to complete all that He has planned for you. But we must cooperate. Have you heard of Ken Boa? Chuck Colson wrote about his book club that includes many of the Christian classics. You get a CD that discusses the book and a way to interact. It might be worth checking out. I think his website is kenboa.org. Actually, I found a link on Breakpoint at http://www.breakpoint.org/generic.asp?ID=6783. It's called the great books CD series. Anyway, just wanted to let you know about that after reading your great post on resolutions.
ke4juh said…
Laurie,
Very well presented. That is quite a list but if it is God’s will, you will do all of that and more.
God bless
-jim
jeri said…
Laurie, I like your new look! I agree, it's like a fresh coat of paint on your blog. These are good resolves, and just to keep moving consistently toward their fulfillment is a victory that glorifies God. Blessings to you and your family in 2009, my sister!
Betsy Markman said…
OH...MY...WORD!

Girl, I have to give you kudos for guts. I can't imagine even imagining a list like that...

But I believe in your God (because He's my God, too) and I know He can enable you to do whatever He wants you to do. I look forward to your updates!
Laurie M. said…
Thanks for all the encouraging words! I thought my blog needed some sprucing up, as do I. And don't be too impressed. I haven't actually done any of those things yet (well, except constantly striving to mortify that particular sin). Romans, well, I chose it because I'm already so familiar with it that it seems almost wrong that I haven't gone the last leg and committed it to memory.

A blessed New Year to you all and your families - and many thanks to God for your friendship.
Laurie,

I love the new look! I also love your post. You have a beautiful way of expressing your heart for the Lord. You are honest about the struggles, and give glory to the One who enables and strengthens us according to His will! Thanks!

I am going to look for the Owens book. I am quite certain that I have more than one mortifying sin that the Lord and I could confront this year.

Thanks for sharing your faith walk and encouraging the rest of us in the process. May your year be blessed in, by, and through Jesus.
Chris Barnette said…
Laurie,

I'll be lucky to find the book of Romans. I think you have a good set of goals listed and I think if you seek the Lord first you will be able to acomplish all these and more. Good post :-)...Chris
Laurie M. said…
Chris,
Thanks for stopping by. I dropped by your blog and will visit again. Blessings to you and your family, and Happy New Year. BTW, your resolution for the year pretty much sums it all up.
Prisy said…
Is 'N' someone I know?

It's a really impressive list and a bit humbling as I haven't aimed for anything spiritual in my New Year's Resolutions.

God's grace be with you this year.
Laurie M. said…
Yes, Prisy, "N" is your mother. I haven't heard from her in a bit and the holidays have kept my head spinning with activities, but we had talked about starting a group and were building a list of books to choose from, though we haven't gotten very far. So you can tell her I haven't forgotten her - or you for that matter. It's great to hear from you.

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