13 Things I Need to Get Better At in 2013
I’ve never been a huge fan of resolutions, though I have long been a fan of sanctification. Somehow moving from recognizing a weakness to formalizing a commitment to fight it seems mildly artificial. Not so artificial, however, that I am not about to get dangerously close to making resolutions in the following. These are areas I know I need to improve on. Perhaps they might match some of your own.
13. I need to get back to reading before going to sleep. I love my iPhone. I love the music, the games, the connection to the interwebs. It should not, however, be the last thing I look at or hold before I go to sleep each night. Books are better.
12. I need to cultivate a deeper humility. Which, of course, is another way of saying that my need is for grace, for God gives grace to the humble. I am persuaded that sanctification is less about sinning less, more about owning our sin more.
11. I need to sing with less shame. Singing is not a strength of mine. My voice is at best plain, at worst annoying. But it is not selfishness to note that when we sing the praises of God two things separate what we are doing from a performance for our neighbors. First, of course, is that God is our audience. He is able to sanctify my voice. Second, however, is that singing changes me. The more I give myself to the music of the ages the more I am overcome with the glory of God.
10. I need to straighten up my virtual desktop. I write, a lot. And most of it just goes into one massive documents folder. Which makes stuff rather hard to find. I suspect those who didn’t file well before the digital age, like me, don’t do much better now.
9. I need to eat more fruits and veggies.
8. I need to embarrass and bore my children by constantly reminding them that I love them. If there were ever an ever-present truth that ought not to go unspoken, this is it.
7. I need to be more friendly. I have always been profoundly shy. My wife quietly, unobtrusively kept this weakness in me somewhat at bay. Without her my days are a constant battle against constant retreat. I need to exercise and thus build up my social stamina before I end up elected the head of Hermits R Us.
6. I need to express my appreciation for my friends, clearly and specifically. When I receive praise, “Liked your article” I am surprised and grateful. When, however, I receive praise like this, “I especially liked the way you…” I start singing and dancing like I’m on Broadway. I suspect my friends are much the same.
5. I need to get over being bald. I know there’s nothing I can do. I try to shrug it off. But I still spend far too much time (which is any time at all) wishing I had my hair back.
4. I need to remember to bend down when speaking to my, and other’s littles. Such a little thing reaps such a harvest. It communicates genuine interest, acknowledging the personhood of the one speaking. And the rewards are amazing- everything from smiles to hugs.
3. I need to pray more often. We all tend to measure our praying powers based on duration, regularity and intensity. Was I able to pray for an hour each morning? Was I focused and not gathering wool? It may well be more important and more effective if we pray constantly. Brief thank-yous for “ordinary” blessings, quick supplications when others come to mind, regular acknowledgments of our sin, urgent exclamations of praise.
2. I need better to practice a judgment of charity. We are going to end up disagreeing with one another. What is far worse, however, is that we will often determine that the person on the other side of our debate takes his position because he is wobbly, worldly, wanton or wicked. When maybe he’s just wrong. Or maybe I am.
1. I need to be grateful. The maker of heaven and earth, through the agony of the cross, has not only forgiven me, but adopted me. I have the pearl of great price. I am a son to God. I am being remade into the image of the Son. And everything that is brought my way is brought for my good and His glory. My Lord has already overcome the world. I must be of good cheer.
And as a bonus—I need to become more quick to repent. For it is rather likely that in 365 days I will, after searching long and hard through my files, repeat this piece.