Happy New Year! I now believe that Courtney has out-bloggeed me. Tears of sorrow and joy run down my face! Who would’ve thought she’d find as much time to blog as she has. (Well, I guess that is a relative term as we are still pretty infrequent). 2011 brought us, amongst others, Asher Benjamin, born June 30th. As I write this he is playing like crazy in his bouncer while his brother looks on. They’re both a joy.
The holiday season this year was one of those once-every-seven-or-so where Christmas Day and New Year’s Day were both on Sunday, leading to church services both times; but it also leads to some weird holiday rhythms where we have to play musical days off with the schedule. Since it is hard to head out of town when holidays fall on one of the most valuable days of the week for a pastor, I’ve had some time at home to mess with the blog layout. (Courtney, I’m still working on the logo at the top. I know it looks lame to just have “The Googers” written.) It brought me back to a blog post I wrote a year ago with my goals for 2011. What would a blog be without a review of things such as that?
I had four big goals for 2011. So here they are:
- Scripture: Read the entire Bible in a year and memorize the Book of Ephesians by June 2011. This goal went 50% met. I went through a chronological reading plan last year and enjoyed it. I put the feed into my RSS reader on my computer and often listened to the text being read while also reading along. However, I did not memorize Ephesians. I used to be very good at this but have gotten far too sluggish. It wasn’t a matter of biting off more than I could chew but was more a matter of simply being a bit (read: very) undisciplined in my preparations.
- Reading: Read three books a month. I am not not a reader, but I have not been a consistent reader. Three books a month was a high bar for me. I did not read 36 books. I read 17 that I can remember (and parts of about three others). However, reading has become a more common part of my life and for that, I am incredibly grateful.
- Family: Be home four nights a week. Honestly, I’m not sure how I did here. I did not mark the days. What I can say is that the majority of the time I was with the family. This got better as the year went on. I even went on vacation without my phone or computer, and now often go out with Courtney and the family and leave the phone at home. Small things for many, but huge for a guy like me.
- Diet: No soft drinks for 2011. I actually expanded this to include all carbonated beverages, sweet tea (sweetened with sugar), and lemonade. Much to my surprise, this one stuck. The whole year. After a few weeks it became much easier. Let me just say this: I had a lot of water, milk, and unsweetened tea this year. Did I lose any weight? None at all. But it wasn’t about that; it was about contentment.
Still, no goal is a worthy goal if it isn’t led, encouraged, and enabled by the Spirit–all resulting in a life that is more centered on Christ. I can gladly say that God has allowed our entire family to grow in grace this year together. We’ve added new habits, eliminated some bad habits, and have more of a desire to live for and honor him. We are looking forward to 2012!
Now, with a new year before us, we do have a few more goals as a family. Some are the same; some have changed.
- Scripture: I am again going to plan to read the Bible in a year (and a little more), Lord willing. Courtney is going to join. We are going to do the M’Cheyne Bible Read Plan. This will carry us through the OT once, NT twice, and Psalms twice. I’m also hoping it gives Courtney and me something to discuss together. As far as Scripture memory, I haven’t set a goal yet, but this will definitely be a part of what we do.
- Writing: I want to journal. I’ve done it (in)consistently forever. My goal is something every day (hopefully a page in my journal). This may start small, but I pray it grows.
- Family: Increasing attention to family devotions and worship. I went to last year’s Desiring God Conference for Pastors and was greatly challenged to pray more with my family–which we have done. However, Joel Beeke’s message on leading family worship never sunk into what we have done. The M’Cheyne plan gives you passages to read with your family, and I want to prepare better as a father on how to lead my family in these things.
- Diet: This one is the craziest one. Courtney and I are still junk food-aholics and need to delight less in food and more in Christ. So we are doing something that I’ve given a lame name to called “Sailing the Seven Dietary C’s.” What are they? you ask. Courtney and I are praying that for 2012 we may abstain from:
- Cake: All cakes (in which I will begrudgingly include pancakes), muffins, cupcakes, and other batter-and-oil-like things are on pause until 2013.
- Cookies: I feel like every night I come home Courtney is baking oatmeal raisin cookies. This isn’t true, but it almost is. I can also put down about 100 cookies without even thinking about it. So cookies are out.
- Candy: It’s everywhere. EVERYWHERE. (Especially the office.) So candy is gone. We just threw out our last bag of Lemonheads last night.
- Carbonated Beverages: Yes, another year. However, sweet tea and lemonade are back in. See you in 2013, Cherry Coke from the fountain. You and I have a date.
- Chips: I love salt and vinegar chips. Heck, anything you make out of corn or a potato, fry, and season is delicious. That is why I am also going European on this one and including French fries under “chips.”
- Coffee: When I stopped drinking soft drinks, I started drinking coffee. I think it was just a matter of drinking something, not the caffeine (but I could be wrong on this). I also realized that I put a ton of creamer in my coffee, which these guys demonstrated may make me blow up.
- Cheating: “It’s a wedding. I have to eat cake.” “It’s a birthday.” “It’s the Super Bowl.” “It’s Tuesday.” Once I make concessions, I inevitably devolve. So let’s see how it goes without allowing any.
Do these things make me love Jesus more? Absolutely not. But Courtney and I are trying to avail ourselves more to Jesus and less to what we simply want (we have a knack for selfishness). So we’ll go into 2012 needing lots of prayer.
Are we crazy? Probably. Happy 2012!