New Year’s Resolutions

20130104_161652

Proverbs 22:29 “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.”

New years: a time for resolutions, weight-loss, and new beginnings…

I saw a set of pictures the other day that depicted it perfectly. The first was labeled ‘December 31st’ and was of an empty gym. The second was of the same gym packed full of people, labeled ‘January 1st’.

The start of a new year gives us the feeling of newness. But by February or March the gym will be empty again, the goals set on the shelf, and diets abandoned. And we will wait eleven months to try and start again.

My challenge this new year is to set goals that are both measurable and attainable. Along with that, I am making daily steps toward those goals. For example: say I want to improve my skill on the piano and keep my house cleaner. That is an example of a “New Year’s Resolution”, but they are not measurable so how will I know when I attain them?

My next step will be to make them measurable. Piano: I want to be able to sit down and sight-read any mid-level piece without having heard it before. This is a more measurable goal. Now, to make daily steps to meet this goal; I am making a plan to practice 3-4 times a week and to practice sight-reading specifically. Maybe I will go and purchase a new mid-level music book. I am slowly working toward the goal that I set.

The other resolution was to keep my house cleaner. How do I measure when my house is ‘cleaner’? cleaner than what? So, I start simple. This was a hard one to set a goal to, so I made daily goals. Every day I make two tasks for myself to complete before I go to bed. Depending on my work schedule, they will be easier or more difficult. This last week one day I set for myself to wash my sheets and put away all the clean laundry, another day was to complete two loads of laundry and deep clean my tile floors. This way I can look back over the last week and see what I have accomplished.

On a side note, when you set goals and tasks to work toward them, it can be very effective to have a partner in them. My husband keeps me accountable for the things that I have said that I want to improve in. It can be a spouse, a friend, a sibling, a parent, coworker… anyone that you are close to. Tell them what you are doing and ask them to help you hit your goals.

Back to the verse at the beginning of this post; I was challenged to excel in what I do. There aren’t many things that I am really good at. It is easy to get to a point and get comfortable knowing what little I do. But I want to be excellent in what I do. I want to stand before kings. I don’t want to be like the rest of America that will abandon their New Year’s Resolutions in a month or two.

Let me challenge you to stick to it. It is worth the work. Set those goals, make them measurable and attainable. Check back in May and see how far you’ve come.

Advertisements

Has He Forgotten Me?

Do you ever think that God has forgotten about you? He must be busy because your gifts aren’t being used. “God, I’ve been in this place for so long!” You fill in the blank. I’ve been in school. I’ve been in this season. I’ve been… for so long.

David is one of the most famous men in the Bible. The mighty conquering king of Israel, there are many stories of him and his mighty men. But where did this ‘mighty man’ start? Tending sheep.

It would be so easy for him to think that there was nothing too special about his life. He was the youngest of eight boys. Think about that alone. The stereotype of the youngest of eight boys; he must’ve been pretty scrappy. He had to have been able to hold his own, but he probably took the brunt of his brothers.

From the description in the Bible, he most likely had red hair. The Bible doesn’t say anything about how tall he was, only that his oldest brother had very promising looks. He spent his days in the pastures tending sheep. His days were very lonely.

What did he do with those days alone? He became the best at what he did. He used his quiet times in the pasture to become an excellent marksman and musician. He was probably the best shepherd that Jesse ever had. He was willing to take a lamb out of the mouth of a lion and a bear.

Then one day, his life changed… or did it?

1Samuel 16:11-13 “And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are all the young men here?’ Then he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.’ And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.’ So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the LORD said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.”

He was anointed king, but he wouldn’t become king for several years. The Holy Spirit was on him from that day forward. But he spent time in the palace playing for the king who was crazy.

What? But God, he was ready!! His days of preparation were over, right? He spent all that time taking the back seat to his older brothers. It was his time to shine. But God sees what we cannot.

David was a man forged through the fire. He went through trials that most of us would not have the courage to face. How did he stay on course? How did he stay focused and not throw in the towel?

David was a man who knew his God. He knew that God was faithful and that His Word doesn’t fall to the ground. In his lowest times, he turned to God.

God picked David, the least likely of his family because God knew that in times of fire he would respond. God knew that in David was the heart of a champion, not because he was tall and good looking, not because he was strong. But God knew that when he was most needed, David would respond to Him.

David didn’t waste his time. He was a young man of excellence. It was the character that he chose in the pasture that made him the man that he was in the wilderness. And it was the character that he chose in the wilderness that made him the man that he was in the palace.

What is the character that you are building? Don’t take the pasture seasons for granted. God knows your name. He’s got your number. He knows when He will need you. But are you becoming the person that He can count on when He needs you?

Don’t waste the time that God has given you. Each season is preparation for the next. This lifetime is merely preparation for all eternity. How you treat today affects your tomorrow. Don’t take it for granted.

Psalms 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”