Monday, January 2, 2012

Wise Counsel

I don't make New Year's resolutions, as a rule. I know myself far too well. I start strong, but I don't always finish well, depending on what it is. I need to take ownership of something in order to be motivated to see it through to completion, and a calendar date doesn't normally serve as a catalyst.

I can decide that it's time to eat better, work out harder, clean more, get organized, revamp our school schedule, be nicer to my children, remember to iron Craig's shirts before he needs them, catch up on emails... the list goes on; 
but God's Word tells us to number our days, to make the most of every opportunity, to take up our cross and daily follow Jesus.
None of those former things matter much apart from the latter, and January 1st doesn't have to be the day that spurs me to frantically start checking things off, just to find in a couple of months that I don't have enough steam left to accomplish my lofty ambitions.

Still, while cleaning up Christmas and New Year's messes, putting away decorations, and gearing up for the rest of the school year, it's a good time for reflection and planning.

2011 was an exciting year for us, full of change, blessing, and challenge.
I can't make any particular declaration about what I expect to see happen in 2012, but these things I do know:

~ God is faithful. (2 Timothy 2:13)

~ His mercy is new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

~ He longs to be gracious to His people. (Isaiah 30:18)

~ He has promised in His Word to bring to completion the good work that He has begun in us. (Philippians 1:6)

Tomorrow, we have the wonderful opportunity to take a day trip and visit some special friends. I'm looking forward to this time of fellowship and refreshment before resuming our daily routine here at home.
After that, I plan to spend the rest of the week doing some spiritual "assessment" with the children and seeking God's will and direction for the rest of our school year.

A friend shared this blog post from a faithful brother in Christ, which I find especially useful and inspiring. Craig and I read it and have decided to put Mr. Phillips's counsel into practice.
I'm sure that our lists will differ from the Phillips Family's lists, but several of Doug's suggestions are worth copying, such as his advice to personally thank those who've blessed and influenced us, and encourage our children to do the same.

I'm excited about taking time with the children to recall God's specific blessings and provision for our family over the past year, and looking ahead to what He has in store for us next.

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