More than resolutions

This post has been a long time in coming…

In fact, I started it on my birthday, four months ago.

But. Now it’s 2017. So I guess I can call it my new year’s resolution post.

I previously wrote about my two solo hours on my birthday, my birthday treat from me to me. As well as reflecting on why time alone is so worthwhile, I thought about what sorts of things I’m aspiring to in the coming year and beyond. And I wrote a big list, an eclectic list, a long list of things to do, things to learn, places to go.

But honestly, on reflection, the whole new year’s resolution thing, it isn’t those things. It boils down to something very simple. Know God, know His love, and share it.

So simple.

What does such a simple desire look like in the flesh?

It looks like a person who knows that God breathed out the Bible and that the words found in there are God’s Word. A person who reads it.

It looks like a person who knows that God sent Jesus into the world because He couldn’t stop loving us and there was no way we were going to be able to put things right ourselves. It looks like a person who rests deeply and with abandon in this certain hope. A person who sees things as tools and sees God as truth.

It looks like a person who gives freely and knows that the greatest gift she can give to any other person is to point them to Christ.

A person who loves the Word and cares nothing for wealth, worries, or the ways of the world.

Could I maybe be more like that person this year?

That’s my prayer.

The list I made – it’s a good list. But this person who knows God, knows his love and shares it, she knows that these things are pale in comparison with the beauty of Christ. That she doesn’t need to do or achieve any of these things to be considered a success. That deep, deep joy is not to be found in experiencing things but in knowing Him.

That’s it.

When I looked back at my big list of ideas written all those weeks ago, I still wanted to do most of those things. Then I realised, this list, it’s not a goal list… it’s a wish list. And the thing about wishes, is that they’re not what we really need.

The real-life resolutions are to do with knowing Him, knowing His love, and sharing it. They are soul changes that will happen through perseverance and discipline. Through time spent in His Word. Through the sharpening and honing of the Spirit and through on-the-knees prayer.

So now I have two lists. The wish list – which tells me what my eyes see and desire. And the real life list – which points me to what my soul needs.

There is an overarching idea. That God is ‘over all and in all and through all’ (The Bible, Ephesians 4:6) and that every part of life is lived in His presence, His joy, His love, His grace. And that we are to do everything in love.

‘Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.’ (The Bible, 1 Corinthians 16:13, 14)

Do everything in love.

The Real Life List

  • Embrace… simplicity – read more, have less, sleep early
  • Engage… people (not screens)
  • Be… loved
  • Believe… in saving grace
  • Break… free
  • Daily… give thanks
  • Do… less; pray more
  • Let go… of perfectionism
  • Learn… something new
  • Live… with less
  • Give… the gift of words
  • Grow… in His grace

(My list of cues came from Ann Voskamp’s blog. They’re for the whole year, but because change is gradual, each month has its focus.)

The Wish List

Things that I really want to do this year…

  • Teach Sophie to read.
  • Make a prayer photo album.
  • Start (and continue) the habit of regular family devotions and prayer.
  • Buy a new table and chairs.
  • Have seasonal photos up in the house.
  • Get into making sourdough.
  • Bake bread regularly.
  • Attend a Bible overview day.
  • Start (and continue) weekly ‘dates’ with my husband.
  • Start (and continue) scrapbooks for Sophie and Matthew.
  • Make a photo book of 2016.
  • Keep on running – run a 10K race.
  • Do Parkrun with Sophie.

Things that would be nice to do…

  • Start (and continue) studying Maths A-level.
  • Teach Sophie to knit.
  • Learn a new piano piece.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Do a jigsaw puzzle.
  • Make ice cream.
  • Enter a baking competition.
  • Make creme brulee.
  • Finish knitting my jumper.
  • Read 10 books (at least!).
  • Bake a cake for someone when they don’t expect it.
  • Make cinnamon rolls.
  • Read a book with Nick.
  • Go on a family bike ride.

Things that need a little planning…

  • Go for a walk in the Brecon Beacons.
  • Go camping.
  • Read a book all morning long (fire and cosy socks recommended but optional).
  • Swim in the sea.
  • Have a picnic at the beach.
  • Go out for breakfast.
  • Go vegetarian for a month.

Things that need a little dedication…

  • Have an internet detox – no social media, online news etc for a month.
  • Unplug for a whole weekend – no smartphone, no emails, no internet.
  • Make a list of places I’d like to visit.
  • Make a list of 100 things I’m thankful for.
  • Do a no-spend month – no spending on anything other than food and bills.
  • Post 30 recipes on the blog.

Things that need a little money…

  • Go on a weekend trip with Nick.
  • Soak in a natural hot spring.
  • Have a spa day.