10 for 10

Resolutions, hopes, musings, prayers?  I really don’t know what these are.  But there are ten of them for the new year, offered in no particular order:

1. Exercise – I’m bummed that I’m starting the new year with a couple of injuries that are making my exercise routine more challenging.  I remember reading the biography of an Italian climber once who, when interviewed at the age of 87 said, “I still try to do something challenging for my body every day.”  That’s my mantra at the beginning of 2010 as well: challenge the body daily somehow.

2. Socialize – The deadline for my next book is May 1st, and I’m aware of my tendency to sort of jump into the ocean of ideas and hide in the safety of my own head rather than be involved in relationships.  I’m intent on doing a better job of developing and maintaining relationships with friends, neighbors, and co-workers, during writing season.

3. Encouragement – I was privileged in 2009 to re-connect with some friends from architecture school who were, and still are, gifted encouragers.  They reminded my how important this gift is, and I’m intent on developing some little habits in order to more be encouraging.

4. Service – Our church is doing this Rule of Life thing (if you’ve read my book, you know about it), and this year one of our focal points will be service.  This is a big and challenging deal for me.  When I was in Austria recently, a man ten years older than me got up at 3:30 in the morning to drive someone to airport and then spent the day teaching ski instructors on the slopes while I… slept in, read, did e-mails, took a nap, and tried to write.  I was convicted by his action, and the actions of many others, that serving has increasingly become a blind spot in my world, and that if I’d listen more closely to the Holy Spirit, I’d do the dishes more often.

5. Generosity – Stewarding the wealth of health, family, home, and material abundance is a tremendous privilege and responsibility.  I’m mindful that I could share more freely and am praying for Jesus to show me the way.

6. Simplicity – I’m tossing stuff I haven’t used, and have it as a goal this year to go through my files (after me) which have become clogged with needles papers, articles, ideas… there will be a fire in the mountains this spring.

7. Mission – As our church moves towards the establishment of new services, campuses, and satellites, it’s on my heart that we also begin to find a way to focus, with greater intentionality, on our own backyard – serving in the North Seattle area creatively and building platforms for relationships there.

8. Teaching – I’ve a men’s retreat this spring and two family conferences this summer.  I’m praying that God will use me in these venues, and that I’ll ‘devote myself to these things’ as Paul exhorted Timothy to do.  I fear becoming stagnant, redundant, meaningless, as I grow older, and am praying for the capacity to still be used by God, knowing that ‘being used’ is simply the byproduct of my own relationship with Jesus.

9. Beauty – Whether it’s the beauty of creation, poetry, good coffee, architecture, photography, intimacy or…anything else, I pray that I’ll both appreciate beauty and contribute to the beauty of my little part of the world, for it is in beauty and suffering, as Simone Weill wrote, that we see God most clearly.  On a practical level, I think this means we need to address the front yard.

10. Contentment – The pursuit of “more” is bothersome to me these days, and I nearly didn’t write this entry because of the risk that it implies a sense of ambition and drivenness that, in reality, simply isn’t in me.  Instead, I’m a fan of Ecclesiastes 5:18 – it might even be my ‘verse of the year’, if I were ambitious enough to have one:

Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that it is good to eat, drink, and enjoy work under the sun during the short life God has given us, and to accept your lot in life.  And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it.  To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life – this is indeed a gift from God.

All right then – welcome to 2010

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  • Great post! Contentment is something one of my friends and I have been talking a lot about…realizing it might just be one of the most important things to strive for in our Christian life. It is also the greatest witness that I believe we can have to the world…a unique thing to come upon someone who is peaceful and not striving for more but enjoying today…this day…because this day is our life.

  • Richard, I love your post and I am going to adopt it as mine. I especially love the verse and the part, “accept your lot in life”. I had a brain tumor last year and have lost some function and it has been hard for me to accept this. But God has been showing me that He is in control, that I can trust Him in all things and I must accept my lot in life, although that does not mean giving up hope that He may still heal me. I have been guilty of my love of things especially because I love to create and design which means always looking for new things. God has been convicting me and restricting me because of my situation and it is a relief. You are a great encouragement.

  • Thanks for this post! This New Year, I’ve been weary of resolutions and goals, because they end up being arbitrarily defeating and sometimes even dangerous, depending on how performance-driven you are.

    However, your list of TEN was encouraging. It is a list you will likely actually revisit year-round and find motivation from – in all the good ways. New Year’s is a good time to remember what we strive to be about all year long, not just who we fantasize about becoming when prodded by the calendar.

  • Sharon

    Where are the MEN reading this post? Come on guys- we NEED your thoughts & insights!!

    As to resolutions & my own 10 year old Rule of Life…good stuff..GREAT stuff in years past. As to NOW- I find myself living & resonating w/ the Homeless & the addict: “One Day At a Time, Sweet Jesus. That’s all I’m asking of You…help me to pray, help me to stay – One Day at a Time.” Very different- very humbling, very freeing, and very essential to thriving right now.
    May sound defeatist, even escapist in this culture of ours, but our Lavish God knows it is my all that I can offer, & to attempt to project beyond or above it is a lie I will NOT live !!
    Blessings on your resolutions & hopes, all!! I simply find myself rafting Can we have coffee & talk re: “Desire” one night soon?  What’s yr schedule?a different current in the Streams
    of Life…one I have been prepared for & WILL flourish in….

  • Sharon

    That’s a NEW one! The post injected a recent text I sent! the WONDERS of technology!!! Aaargh!! I am NOT asking any of YOU to join me for coffee & a book review…hope you can still tweeze out my comment…

  • Okay, so here’s one guy…

    Richard, you continue to inspire me. Thank you for this post. Applying many of the things you touch on in your O2 book, and revisit/model here agin in this post were God-sent resources as I made a big decision this fall to discontinue Seminary at George Fox and instead dive into a Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy (still at Fox).

    In daring to spend intentional, focused time with God regularly and then to respond in action and not just toss around ideas and discussed philosophies, I have found a renewed sense of calling on my life that is focused, passionate and ever-dependent on the power and leading of the Holy Spirit in a way that my Seminary-track had not had for some time.

    Most recently I spent time in Laurie Beth Jones’s Book “The Path” drafting a mission statement as a structured practice to discern God’s work in me, for my sake spiritually as well as service to others. The end result was something of a “mission statement”, similar to your 10 for 10 list, for my life.

    I highly recommend this practice of drafting tangible goals/missions for one’s life. It’s more than a “command and conquer” thing, but can be a great way of seeing where God directs you through each season of life, and holds you accountable. In the end you’ll see how God bore fruit or redirected your time and energy for building his kingdom. I expect to re-create mine this spring, only because I know I’ll be deeper into my counseling preparation and that brings significant changes to how I’ll spend my time.

    This is challenging for me, a naturally “free-form” INFP personality, but this sort of discipline is just what is needed for ongoing growth. Hard? yes. Worth it? Even more so!


  • Casey B.

    Ha ha.. I’m replying for Sharon’s sake. As a man. 🙂
    I went back and re-read Eccl. Very great reminder for me.