As I have worked diligently for approval from various circles of people, I have often caught myself with this quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne:
“It is a good lesson–though it may often be a hard one–for a man who has dreamed of literary fame, and of making for himself a rank among the world’s dignitaries by such means, to step aside out of the narrow circle in which his claims are recognized and to find how utterly devoid of significance, beyond that circle, is all that he achieves, and all he aims at.” (The Custom-House Introductory to “The Scarlet Letter”)
Acclaim is a moving target. The pursuit of it is vanity, a chasing after the wind.
I’m all for resolutions. Resolutions represent possibilities. Resolutions sharpen my focus and provide me with a sense of progress. Resolutions can bud like new leaves, and I make them gladly.
Here’s what I’m thinking for this new year…
I resolve to read more. My faith and thinking are more robust when I read. I am less cliche. I am more articulate. I am more nuanced. I am sharper. So my plan is to sneak in more reading with perhaps an audio book or two. I may take the Kindle plunge as well. And of course, I have piles of books around the house half-read and begging for attention that I will avail myself of.Measurable Goal: Two books-a-month and read Calvin’s Institutes.
I resolve to exercise consistently. I rediscovered exercising this year when I started running again. I have had more energy, and I like the feeling. I’ve always enjoyed exercising (formerly known as “playing”), but somehow got out of the habit over the last few years. I don’t want to do that again.Measurable Goal: Run three times-a-week and do some type of strength training three times-a-week.
I resolve to read the Bible more carefully. I’ve done the whole “one-year-bible” thing. I’ve enjoyed it. But I’m busy, and when I read the Bible, I struggle to slow down and really hear the Bible again for the first time. This year I don’t want to simply read the Bible more; I want to read the Bible more carefully.Measurable Goal: Read through the Greek NT.
Of course, my heart holds innumerable hopes for this year, and no list could capture them. The resolutions listed here simply represent the measurable, resolvable goals I will, Lord willing, pursue this year.
That being said, I do hope these resolutions will help me more fully reach my potential and thereby more fully glorify God.
We (my wife and I) recently shared a salvation moment with one our students. I was struck by the beauty and commonplace of the moment.
At that moment, heaven was opening up; angels were rejoicing. God was watching. An eternal soul was transferred from death to life, from the domain of darkness into marvelous light. Amazing.
At that same moment, as we prayed, my daughter asked in a whisper if I would take the wrapper off her popsicle…a very urgent request indeed. My son cooed upstairs. My dog kept licking my hand and nosing my leg for attention.