I started today, contemplating Isaiah as I took up the task of completing my list of goals for the new year. Isaiah 42:8-10 reads: "I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you." Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them.
This is what I am basing my goals for this year on; eliminating distractive "idols" from my life, and "singing new praises" to God. That seems easy enough, right?
The distractions in my life are everywhere. Being a naturally-distracted person, I have troubles completing tasks that take more than an hour or so. I have begun straightening one room, to bring something into another room, to be distracted by the floor that needs vacuuming there, to finding a dirty dish on my way to the vacuum cleaner, to finding a book that needs putting away on the kitchen counter, to deciding to straighten the bookshelves, to finding a ball of yarn on the shelf... yep, it's really no wonder that my bedroom is in a constant state of disaster. But that's only half the battle. Choosing the idols to eliminate is the hard part.
What are my idols? Those things that rob me of the time I SHOULD be spending on God or my family or... those things that I use as excuses for why I haven't enough time to exercise? Being honest with myself, there's really ONE huge culprit. The computer. That's a tricky one too, because I *need* the computer for so many parts of my life! I use it for comparison & discount shopping. I hunt for new recipes & healthy-living ideas. I brainstorm decorating & renovation ideas & hunt up instructions for things like fixing the dishwasher. I use it for teaching the kids. I connect with my friends. Oh, the excuses and the LEGITIMATE uses I can list are endless! But... do I NEED to be playing online games? MUST I check in with facebook nearly as often? SHOULD I get sidetracked into searching Youtube for funny videos of talking dogs or laughing babies? Yeah, I think that's my biggest idol and YES it's a distraction - not only to God, but also to my family. So goal number one for 2011 is to limit my "free time" use of the computer.
So to work on eliminating my distractive-idol, I plan to:
* limit mindless youtube-meanderings & online gaming to weekend-only passtimes, AFTER the daily housework AND school planning has been finished
* not begin using the computer until I've finished my morning exercises, gotten the kids started on school AND finished my morning chores
* limit myself to checking Facebook AND my other usual online "haunts" to twice daily; once at lunchtime & once in the evening.
* and the computer WILL be turned off each night by 9pm.
One goal down, one to go.
When I think of singing new praises, I think of beginning something new; something that I haven't done before OR haven't done in quite some time. I could say that I'll read the Bible through in a year, but I KNOW I would get bogged-down in numbers & fail. (been there, done that) I COULD say any number of things, but what comes to mind first is my daily quiet time. It needs more structure and FOCUS! (there's that easily-distracted personality again!)
To begin with, I have been thinking about reading through my books by Hannah Hurnard again. They have "resonated" more with me than any other devotion-style books I've read, so that's where I will begin. And rather than squeezing my devotions into the morning when I need to be three places at once I will NOT be beginning my days with God as so many people have suggested... I will END my day with Him - as for me, that's my time of clearest thinking!
So the "new praise" I intend to "sing" is:
* to go through a chapter of one of Hanna's books, complete with prayer, meditation AND journaling time (as this helps me focus my attention) IN MY BED rather than in the living room each evening at 10pm... beginning with Hinds Feet on High Places & continuing through each of her books.
These are not my usual annual goals, but these are the goals I feel are most important. Sure I'll continue to work on losing weight, and yes I still want to work on finishing more crafts this year. Somehow I get the feeling however that if I can keep up these four goals I WILL accomplish that as well.
Happy New Year! I'm ready now... are you?