Happy New Year!
I have done a lot of reflecting in the last few weeks about the year behind and the year ahead. For me, 2013 was about breadth and expansion. I enjoyed new relationships, new ministry, new work opportunities, and involvement in the boys’ new activities. I read voraciously, devouring 67 books including the entire Bible. For our family, it was a year of travel, exploration of our new city, and of seeing friends and family from around the country.
For 2014, I feel God calling me to the opposite: to a year of going deep. A focus on quality over quantity. On roots over fruit. On input rather than measurable output. Here is how I expect this focus on depth to look in various areas of my life in the new year:
- Spiritual: I will focus on prayer, meditation, devotional reading, and deeper Bible study on a few books and topics, including wisdom literature, specifically Proverbs and Ecclesiastes at the start of the year. I want my year to be directed by God’s whispers instead of my own bold proclamations.
- Marriage: Dave and I have committed to intentionally making our marriage even stronger in 2014, using some shared reading and discussion resources to go deeper with each other.
- Parenting: I will continue to nurture deep relational roots with each of my boys, prioritizing time to connect, instruct, and really listen.
- Reading: My Amazon Wish List contains only five books at the moment. I don’t know how many books I will read in 2014. I don’t feel the need to set a specific goal in this area this year. I may just keep reflecting on all that I read last year!
- Writing: I may blog less, as I desire to spend concentrated time and energy on a few other writing projects. I am not sure yet what my writing will look like in 2014.
- Ministry: I will limit new commitments and stick with my existing ones: playing guitar on the worship team, leading a small group, and directing our church’s annual family camp.
- Work: This is the one area where I will be developing a list of specific goals for the new year. There will be some expansion but also a lot of time spent improving and strengthening existing courses and programs. And my focus will be my full-time job with Capital Seminary, instead of multiple projects with multiple institutions.
- Relationships: I know I will always make new connections and relationships, but in 2014 my focus will be on investing deeply in a few relationships, really walking with these dear friends in the year ahead.
- Financial: I will continue to pay ahead on my student loans. Our goal is to be completely debt-free (including mortgage) in another nine years. We will also add to our long-term savings and retirement funds to build a stronger foundation for the future.
- Health: I will focus on mindful habits in the areas of diet, exercise, and rest. I want to lose ten pounds and get stronger, leaner, and more flexible through sustainable practices, not quick fixes.
- Leisure: The focus in this season of life is on family time and activities. We have several great family trips already on the calendar for 2014. I will enjoy supporting the boys in their friendships and activities. We have renewed our diligence to protect family meal time, our weekly family meeting, and other connection times. I also have a specific goal to create a cookbook of our family standbys and favorites.
From “Citius, Altius, Fortius” in 2013 to “Cultivatus” in 2014: I look forward to a year of strengthening and nourishing the roots that are essential to a lifetime of rich, effective and fulfilling relationships, work and ministry.