Well, 2013 is in its final, waning hours. The year that for many of my friends was truly an “unlucky” 13th is poised to bid us a not-so-fond farewell. We stand on the threshold of a shiny new year, a clean slate of 365 days that stretches before us with promises of new beginnings, renewed efforts, and untold opportunities. Life just waiting to be lived. Moments just waiting to be shared. Time…unfilled, unplanned, unscripted…that beckons us to linger, pause, and breathe. The anticipation of who we can become, what we can achieve, and how we can and will change our lives, our circumstances, and even our world for the better. So much to look forward to…but first, a look back.
That was my word for 2013. Commitment – spiritually, physically, professionally, and personally – was my mantra, my guiding force, that essential principle that would help me navigate both the clear, sparkling, peaceful, tranquil waters as well as the murky, muddy, rushing floods that inevitably ebb and flow through those white calendar squares. And I began strong. Well-intentioned. Purposeful. Determined.
But somewhere along the way, as life crowded its way in, I lost my way. Whether due to a legitimate physical condition, emotional overload, or simply laziness, I forgot God’s promise. My commitment waned. My vision clouded. And instead of committing, I began merely existing. Surviving.
Thankfully, through the glory of modern medicine and little “hugs” from my Heavenly Father, I’m working my way out of that place, back into a life of renewed commitment and focus. But before I can begin to contemplate my next steps, it’s important to take a moment to evaluate the steps that have led me through the past 365…an honest look at the successes and failures of 2013. Here are my goals, excerpted from my January 1 post, along with a summary statement of my progress.
Commit your [spiritual] activities to the LORD, and your plans will be achieved.
This year, with God’s help, I commit to reading through the Bible (again)….
- Started…but only managed to get through Ruth. Not even 50% completed. Yikes.
to being part of a Bible study community…
- Led women’s Bible studies in both the spring and fall semesters, in very different Bible study communities.
- Regularly attended Sunday morning services, in the “attend one, serve one” model of Christ Fellowship.
to being active in a life group where we can learn and grow and serve as a family…
- Made the difficult decision to join a new life group in September. God has answered prayer in many ways regarding our new “family”, and we look forward to doing life together in the year ahead.
and to downloading and reading the weekly sermon study guides.
- Downloading? Absolutely, 100% committed. Reading? Not-so-much. Guess there’s still some room for growth.
I also commit to helping my children establish regular quiet times…
- Helping? Yes. Definitely. Establish? Not yet. Looks like my knees need a few more callouses as I seek direction and guidance on this one.
and exploring how we as a family can incorporate prayer and Bible study into our busy and varied schedules.
- Breakfast with Oswald, Saturday morning study guide discussions, Sunday brunch sermon review…exploration continues as we seek that perfect balance, that quintessential rhythm that keeps us steady.
And of course, I reaffirm my commitment to leading Moms in Prayer…
- Thursday mornings and now Friday afternoons, though not as consistent as I’d like, keep my children covered in a blanket of God’s protection and care, and shine the light of God’s love into the dark places of their schools.
strengthening the ministry of Promiseland through my role as Worship Director…
- Expanding my ministry wasn’t exactly *my* idea…but God thought it would be a good one, and I’m learning to embrace the challenges and rejoice in the successes.
and supporting the mission of Village of Hope, CASA, and other outreach efforts in the community.
- “Support” was mostly financial, though we did enjoy the opportunity to get our hands and feet dirty at CASA during “Go and Be” weekend in May.
Commit your [physical] activities to the LORD, and your plans will be achieved.
In 2013, I reaffirm my commitment to overall health and physical fitness, through developing a workable exercise plan that balances cardio, flexibility and strength training in both group and individual settings…
- A for Effort. Attempts to work boot camp class into my schedule, early morning solo and group runs, total body workouts and weights with my 13-year-old “gym buddy” before school…the commitment was there. Results are still pending. *sigh*
This year, with God’s help, I will work to finally achieve my goal of running a sub-30? 5K, a sub-60? 10K and a half marathon in 2:20 or less.
- Again, A for effort. Though I did not achieve these goals, I did PR on a 5K and placed 3rd in my age division, and completed two half-marathons.
Through a commitment to healthy eating, I will reach my goal weight and help my children make healthier food choices.
- A trip back to South Beach during the summer brought results that were *close* but still fell short. However, purchasing my first size 10 jeans and shorts since high school was a huge moral victory.
Commit your [professional] activities to the LORD, and your plans will be achieved.
This year, I commit to honoring His leading and direction by working to improve not only my studio, but also myself as a teacher and pianist. The first step will be to join a local piano teachers’ association and become an active member in their meetings and activities.
- I downloaded the application and have a commitment for a letter of recommendation. Partial success. Now for the follow-through.
In addition, I commit to studying and interacting with other professionals online…
- Three online list groups, two facebook groups, and a partridge in a pear tree. Check.
organizing my studio…
- Have you *seen* my closet and my new shelves? Trust me, it’s spectacular. Portfolio folders for my students to maintain records and materials. Online spreadsheets to track payments/income/expenses. Check.
and creating games and activities to strengthen my students’ technique and theory.
- Yes, yes, and yes. Not only have I created the games, I’ve actually used them. To rave reviews from students and parents alike. And they are all neatly organized, tagged by objective, and stored on my fantastic new shelves in my super-organized studio.
Commit your [personal] activities to the LORD, and your plans will be achieved.
This year, I commit to producing a manuscript for publication. Not on my blog, but on real paper. Not self-published, but produced through an actual publishing house. And to anyone who is still reading this blog, I promise a free, autographed first-edition copy.
- The proposal is in the works…submission to a publishing house by the end of January. Though it wasn’t the project *I* had envisioned, it’s the one God chose for me. Let the Wild Goose Chase begin!
So there it is. Commitments fulfilled. Commitments forgotten. Commitments achieved. Commitments strived for. And though there’s no glory in failure, there’s also no shame either. May 2014 bring renewed efforts for growth, for focus, and success. And through it all, may the God who is faithful be the One who grants success.