Dec 312012
 

01.06.2012-IslandLivingStupidNewYearsResolutionsToForgetAndACoupleGoodOnesToKeepI usually don’t make New Years resolutions…because I never have kept them.

This year, I’m uncomfortable enough to seek change…the old Steve Brown saying applies;

“When pain exceeds payoff, positive change occurs.”

Too much pain and very little payoff have me investing some thought and time into making positive change.

 

So…here’s what I’ll start tomorrow.

1. Dedicated prayer time and a prayer journal. 

If you’ve followed the blog for any length of time you know I find prayer to be the great mystery of Christianity.  It just doesn’t seem to make a difference, but the Bible claims it does. I aim to find out.

2. Intentionally unplugging on a regular basis.

My technology owns me…and it demands all my time and attention. My job this year is to control it and make it my tool and not my taskmaster.

3. Intentionally caring for my physical, spiritual, and emotional health.

The tyranny of the urgent and constant stream of instant news via social media are joy killers…and without joy all health is compromised.

4. Create more time for relationships that matter.

Cyber friends are great…but they’re gone when you turn off the computer. I need to care for and be cared for by the people who are there when it’s off.

That’s my plan…do you have one?

  59 Responses to “New Years Resolutions”

  1. Pretty much the same ast you but the traditional loose 40 lbs will be tossed in and I’ll do good after tomorrow for about two weeks….:(

  2. answered prayer? IMHO and it is a humble one on this … they eventually will add up per Revelation 8
    “When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
    Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
    And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne,
    and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.
    Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, [fn] flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
    Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them……” vv 1-6

  3. Em,

    Perhaps…I’ve always taught that those prayers were all the “thy kingdom come, thy will be done” prayers through the centuries.
    We still have this passage to live with…
    “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.”
    (James 5:13–18 ESV)

  4. yes, i agree with what you say Michael, point taken … but i like to think that every single prayer is adding up toward the culmination of the Day of the Lord … fantasy, perhaps 🙂

  5. i’ve already had eight shots of espresso and few cups of brewed coffee.

    It is hard to have a good perspective in December. Most Decembers are tough, this year more so than most. Just had to tell another person there is no room at the inn.

    I think for the New year I’m going to resolve to start drinking again and perhaps start using tobacco products as well.

    I have felt like I’m in limbo the last few years, yet I have not sensed God’s direction to do anything about it. Seems to be the story of my life. Perhaps this is what Hebrews meant when it spoken about sojourners and seeing the promise from afar. Actually, I am becoming more convinced that is the case as I see so much of what is called “church” and “ministry” to be nothing more than satisfying the internal craving of self affirmation for both pastor and parishoner alike. At times it looks so much like a hedonistic expression. Those who don’t take part have been left behind in wake of irrelevance.

    I have some decisions to make…. and then some plans on how to get there. I’m always wanting to be flexible as I know that I can be off God’s will some and He is faithful to reroute me.

    I’ve seen over and over again that God watches out for fools and children although I wish He would spend more time on the kids and let the damn fools fend for themselves. He does what He wills….

    That being said I’ve come to believe that if you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it…..

  6. Ixtlan,

    There’s about four articles in that comment.
    Praying you come to know how valuable you are to the kingdom.

  7. I wrote really briefly today about my resolutions.

    Listen carefully and write more. That’s it. That encompasses what I need this year…I’d so like to make some progress on my thesis. Not doing anything formal, but trying to make some progress on the reading I need for the foundation.

    I am not going to try to shut off all the internet, but like you I want to be more wise about the time I spend on the internet. Plus more wisdom in what I am feeing my soul will be good.

    Simple resolutions this year!

  8. Michael, keep us posted on how it goes….. All good ideas and reasonably attainable. IMO
    Prayer….’Lord,where else can we go, only You have the words of eternal life”…. I have decided that the vast majority of things I have prayed earnestly for were obviously not in God’s larger providential plan. No matter how often my granddaughter nags me about sitting in the front seat of my car, she’ll still have to wait til she’s 8…. ” I figure a lot of my prayers are kinda like that. I’m not ready.
    Happy New Year!

  9. Your #1 … Was a life changer for me.

    I gave myself some slack that I had little hope anything would be different; and I didn’t expect fantastical results, either.

    All seemed a bit dead and dry, but I knew I was unwilling to fake anything for anyone’s image. Slowly, over time, I sensed a slight satisfaction, that God was there and wanted to be with me. Of course, this was all very subtle … But that was all I needed to be able to keep going.

    That season did not have obvious answered prayer in the way I had expected. But in retrospect, it was during that time that I began to realize how much a health episode had dulled my senses and emotions. I think God gave me some insight into what to do to get physically better, which is connected to the emotional and the spiritual. By putting one of my dominoes back up, it helped free up the others that had also been affected.

    That season gave way to an intense time of many direct answers to prayer above and beyond what I had even imagined, followed by a less active time that was full of peace and satisfaction. Those who walked through this with us know I’m not overstating my case.

    May God meet you where you are at, Michael.

  10. I love lxtlan’s comment, LOL. Funny and true…

  11. Resolutions:

    Attend a CC in our area and work my way up the corporate ladder and open up my own CC Franchise in a few years. I’ll accomplish this by faking “repentance” for “attacking” CC and claim I had a Road to Damascus experience and that God spoke to me, told me I was specially anointed and was to come along side Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel and win souls for Jesus! And, I’ll get famous, make a lot of money and travel the World with people telling me how “blessed” they are due to me and how much they love me! Woohoo!

    I’ll also be nicer to MLD.

    The above is not true and complete sarcasm.

    What I will do is lose about 10lbs. hit the gym hard, hit the mat hard (brazilian ju jitsu) and get back into fighting shape in a few months. I’ll also eat better for awhile, at least until next holiday season.

    I will have more sex (as long as the wife is willing 😉 but the hitting the gym/mat part usually helps that along…know what I mean Verne? I’ll spend more time with my kids and work even harder at being loving, patient, kind, fun and a good Dad.

    I would love to unplug more. Maybe if we win the lawsuit, publicize the results and the full story…buts CC’s balls one last time…then maybe take a break. It’s not like they’ll change anyway. They’ll still be the same bastards they are and the “good guys” will support the Status Quo and say they’re all 100% independent, which is a big fat lie.

  12. Chile,

    How did you structure your prayer time?
    Did you journal as well?

  13. “I will have more sex”…

    Damn, T… M… I…

    O_o

  14. Hey Michael,
    Yes, take care of the 3D world friends. You have taken care of all of us more than you can imagine and are appreciated for having given us all a forum that has allowed us to grow, risk, explore, interact. What more could a man want, except Kahlua?

    Happy new year to you, Trey and the cyberfamily

  15. Finish my Mid South Wrestling/UWF DVD set, downgrade my living situation by moving out of my townhome and renting a two bedroom apt. Not run a marathon as the last two have been great but I’m ready to chill now. Continue to be available for the Lord to use me in whatever fashion he desires. Keep spending time with my loved ones and not get caught up in “Doing Things”. Go to the Metrodome next year as the Vikings will be playing their last season there.

  16. Michael, I was not structured. I just made sure I took some time every day to read a chapter-ish of Scripture and spent some time praying (thanking, acknowledging He’s God, saying nothing and telling Him my issues/situations/perceived needs/throwing up my heart…. It sounded one way one day and different on another. Times varied. No intensity, either.

    In my younger years I had more of a structured approach which helped me a lot in another season 30+ years ago. I used the Prayer Wheel to walk me through a daily hour of prayer 5 minutes at a time. I’ll see if I can find the link if this interests anyone.

    I was not interested in structure this last time. I had more of a “git-er-dun” attitude without frills. I needed to put out minimal effort and not feel bound to a time-frame.

    As for journaling, I couldn’t do it without it distracting me. For me, I would think of my “audience” so I needed to put down the pen. I didn’t want to see concrete answers, I wanted to have a change in my perspective that only God could give. I, personally, did not want a list of answers I could point to, I wanted God, Himself. I got both in the end.

  17. I want to add that I read Scripture as an overview and it was not for study. I’d spent so much time looking at it through a microscope that I had to back up just to brush the surface for a grand perspective. I flew through the OT. Never thought a shallow view (with minimal effort from me) would be so enlightening. Some days it was a quick chapter and some days I was finished a book before I realized I’d been reading that long. It’s like relaxing reading your kid’s book … I approached it as light reading. I did not try to figure things out as I went; instead broad themes rose to the surface and I saw God in a new light.

  18. This year summed up was me,
    spread way too thin.
    Literally, to the point of seeing a decline in my health.

    My resolve is to be disciplined enough to wait on the Lord for vision, and redirect my energies into those things.
    This may sound callous, but i will be shedding some weight, and by weight i mean people who are sucking the life out of me.
    I do a lot of really good things but obviously have difficulty with boundaries.
    Adjusting to being a single mom while being nothing of the sort has not been easy for me.
    One thing i know, somethings gotta give. If it keeps on raining the levee’s gonna break.
    I’ve never been real big on resolutions but this year i feel primed for this one.

  19. “This may sound callous, but i will be shedding some weight, and by weight i mean people who are sucking the life out of me.”

    You’ll feel a lot better, I did this in 2012, addition by subtraction

  20. Chile,

    There is a world of wisdom in your words today…thank you.

  21. Thank you SR… This is very counter intuitive for me. I suffer from spiritual pride, and find it hard to come to the conclusion that i can’t be all things to all people.

  22. Nomans,

    I’ll chase them off if you give me a list. 🙂

  23. Michael don’t tempt me!

  24. It’s not them… It’s me. I continually draw the same kind of people. Need to figure out what my problem is.

  25. Nomans,

    In my case one of my freinds is actually a very fun person to be around be he started to get very controlling and that’s where I had to cut ties. I miss him a lot but there are boundries

  26. nomans, are they the kind of people who bend your ear, but their mind goes elsewhere when you respond? 🙂 my oldest daughter drew those self absorbed, mostly unhappy, folk like a magnet and was past 50 before she got her boundaries laid down …

    you and so many here have been seriously tested of late … but i think there’s a lot of wisdom gained as i read this thread … however, xtian’s resolve might no be too health lol

  27. For me, people tend to want to make me their savior with skin on, needing more from me than i have to give. This leaves me continually feeling like i am failing…. Letting people down.(my worst place)
    Some simple practical changes will help, but also some real soul searching and identifying the causes/triggers.

  28. I have also become convinced that many people in my life are there because of how i make them feel about themselves… Not because they genuinely care for me. Not sure I’m making sense….
    Usually I’m completely edited before i write 😉

  29. for some reason September always feels like the start of another year to me … it’s kind of interesting to be at the realization that, statistically, this may be my last year … doesn’t bother me … too many in my family lived into their 90s … there are days where you could prop me against a tree and go off and leave me … i used to think that Native Americans were cruel to do that … but i think that when they reached that point in life, they really didn’t mind a bit, “quit yelling at me to keep up; i’ll just sit here against this tree” 🙂

    sounds a bit morose, i guess, but i’m not depressed – just today’s ponder – never ever made a resolution that i can recall …

  30. noman’s i hear lots of sense coming out of your words

  31. (that feeling of affirmation when the wise one on the blog totally gets you)
    =)

  32. Well I was glad to see that one of Alex’s goals wasn’t to start posting more shirtless pictures of himself as in past years.

  33. nomans said, “It’s not them… It’s me. I continually draw the same kind of people. Need to figure out what my problem is.”

    Try being an a-hole more often. It works very well 🙂

  34. Well knock my socks off on the last day of the year – a Calvary Chapel that lists the Apostles’ Creed first on their statement of Beliefs.

    http://www.calvaryaurora.org/about-us/statement-of-faith/

    Well done CC Aurora. 🙂

    Anyone know Ed Taylor? If you do, give him a thumbs up for me!

  35. Nomansapologist, it makes perfect sense.

    I made some resolutions a couple of months ago while on a personal retreat. Less time blogging and Facebooking is part of that. That is difficult for me, obviously, since I’m here! I’ll using the time to take some seminary classes.

  36. MLD, there’s one here in AZ that has the Apostles’ Creed in their statement as well. I forget which one, but I just noticed it yesterday. Small world.

  37. I know all about Ed Taylor…and my thumb is not the digit I would raise to greet him with.

  38. If you watch the Rose Parade tomorrow look for the Lutheran float. It will be #33 in line. Here is a drawing of the float

    http://media.roseparade.net/images/photoTemplate_participants.asp?image=Lutheran-Hour-2013.jpg

    And a description of what it is about;

    Jesus… The Way to Heaven

    This year’s parade theme invites us to imagine the places we can go. The 2013 LHM Float, “Jesus… The Way To Heaven” , reminds us that heaven is the ultimate place to go for all who call on the name of Jesus Christ to be saved.

    In John 14:3-4, Jesus reminds us that “if I (Jesus) go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” That place is heaven, and the only way for there is through belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.

    The elements of “Jesus… The Way to Heaven” depict God’s promises in His Word: the path we travel to heaven (Matthew 7:14), God’s Word guiding us on our journey (Ps. 119:105), and Jesus welcoming us with open arms at the gates of heaven showing us He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn. 14:6). It is our prayer that this year’s float would be a reminder that everyone can spend eternity in heaven through faith in Jesus Christ.

  39. Just visited my Korean acupuncturist. I ask him about New Year’s plan and traditions. He said New Year is a bigger thing that Christmas…… On Dec 30, they clean the house,ala out with the old, start the new all clean. On the 1st, dress in best clothes… children ‘bow to’ their parents, who will give them a ‘blessing’ in the form of money. The day is spent visiting other elders, both of the church and parents’ friends, bowing to them all, then receiving a ‘blessing’ from all. Doc said his dad would have a pile of new ‘dollar’ bills, uncirculated money which he would give to his kids (my doc) and the children of their church where he was an elder….. Then, there would be a traditional Rice Cake Soup meal, and interestingly, each person would finally celebrate their birthday, getting a year older (rather than on the actual birth date). Lots of praise and thanksgiving to God for the new year. Cool

  40. Michael – too many links, get me out of moderation before I melt.

  41. Paige,

    I like that…a lot.

  42. every now and then i wonder … how did MLD come across that factoid in the first place?

  43. MLD,

    Gotcha…I hope you’re intact. 🙂

  44. Nomans…praying for wisdom for you as you move into this year.

    There are a lot of things we want to do differently as a family…not really resolutions, just a different approach (yes, I know it could be called resolutions…but I fight against that). One of the things is to open our home more often. This is tough because we have commitments on Monday, Weds, Fri nights and will add another night when Sammy’s soccer starts back up in Feb. That means limited times at home as a family….but we are going to have people over at least once a month.

    We know some pretty great people and want to expose our kids to more people who are living their faith out in great ways. Sometimes that just means really great families, but we also have a few missionaries we support and we try to catch them when they are home. So…that is a big one for us…people in our home. (we also have a single mom across the street with a 15 year old daughter, and we are hoping to have them over at least once a month as well. Beyond just the interactions in the front yard 😉

    The other thing for me is tied a bit to the need to deepen in prayer. Michael…I tend to write my prayers a lot. It helps me focus. I have begun a journal for each of my kids. I guess it is partly the process of watching my mother deteriorate and realizing I wish I knew more of what she was thinking as she was raising us. So, I’ve got four journals to write in…which will keep me busy, but also a prayer journal.

    Writing…I think there is going to be a lot of that this year!

  45. MLD said, “Well I was glad to see that one of Alex’s goals wasn’t to start posting more shirtless pictures of himself as in past years.”

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=434194923294276&set=pb.100001113176950.-2207520000.1357004803&type=3&theater

  46. MLD, if you stare at my shirtless pic longer than 3 seconds, it means you’re gay. But, that’s OK, the ELCA will have you 😉

  47. Sarah,

    I am trying to put together what will work from all the ideas here and elsewhere.
    Part of the challenge for me is to be consistent and disciplined…as well as the time constraints.
    I like the idea of writing one for the kids…a lot.

  48. 🙂 i just made my first New Year’s resolution … i won’t say what it is, but if i keep it, it will manifest itself on the PhxP blog site 😆

  49. Michael…I know some people feel really uncomfortable writing down prayers, so that doesn’t work for everyone. Praying while I walk is something else that helps.

    Em… I hope it is that you will be posting even more!

  50. Alex is so easy.All you need to say is “I hope Alex doesn’t…” and Alex delivers.:-) .

  51. LOL, true dat.

    Have a Happy New Year MLD and PhxPeeps.

    I’m really not as big a jerk in real life.

    OK, maybe so, but, but 🙂

  52. @34

    Well, that shows what you know…….

  53. Happy New Year dear friends!! God is VAST and totally awesome…..this life has it’s ups and downs, very dark downs, but God is always with us. Eternity is the goal….and our Faithful Saviour will get us there, even through many dangers, toils and snares (and I will add LOSSES–seems to be an important element in our training). Love and hugs to you and much praise to God!

  54. Greetings to the West Coast from the year 2013 🙂

    Happy New Year everyone!

  55. I would like to grow closer to God this coming year.

    God bless you Michael.

  56. I hope to be more honest about my depression, it runs deep in my family, the dark echo of fading hope which is actually not really there. It is the light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is a train heading right for you. You know with all honesty all the gloom I spew out here, one minute among my students this all just melts away, and I see such light. I see that among so many people, I see those glow in the dark people and catch a ember and it just fires me up. This seems to happen daily to me though I try desperately to rebuke it because it is rank emotionalism and should be repudiated. But I cant and I cling to these memories.

    My news year resolution, no my covenant with the people here, I will no longer be a turd pooping on the work of God. I give everyone free license to kick me in the back side, no more with the doom and gloom. It is hard to pull back from a comfortable rhetoric, but I am tired of me. I want to grow in Him. As angry and nasty as I might be, on a second by second basis I am reminded of Christ and His hope in those I have been given the privilege of serving. God forgive me for my rhetoric, Yes God it hurt when people did what they did, but I was given a thousand times back with each second I helped those I have been blessed to work with. I repent in sack cloth and ashes though I do not have a sack cloth or ashes but I repent. God forgive me. My new years resolution is to be faithful and full of joy. I give each of you permission to kick me in the back side on this one. I am sick of living in the pits. I wont give up there is hope, each day each second there is hope. Happy and blessed new year to all.

  57. Happy New Year brian! You’re a good guy, very interesting mind. I see the hope and love even in your doom and gloom. You always hope. I see your rhetoric more as a means to let out some pain and disappointment in the reality that this existence is fallen and full of pain, hurts, wrongs, evil etc.

    …however, this existence is also full of love, joy, light, fun, romance, creativity, art, sport, goodness, good overcoming evil, hope and much to enjoy.

    We live in a Paradox. A conundrum wrapped in a riddle immersed in a contradiction. This life is so bizarre, so cruel, yet so beautiful.

    May we remember to embrace the Beauty…as we are watchful and cognizant of the Beast.

    No matter how bad things are, how bad they look…always hope, always battle the darkness, never give in. Hope is “the” secret weapon and the key to this existence.

    …a good sense of humor helps too! 🙂

  58. “brian! You’re a good guy,”

    I disagree on this point, because it is not and never had been true that I was / am a good person.I would never even approach , but I truly appreciate this point. I hope for our nation.

  59. Ed Taylor gets no thumbs up. Years of experience behind that statement. I look forward to the day that he is finished.

    Which brings me to my new years resolution.

    I watched three people get ruined by the church in 2012. It will happen again in 2013. My goal is to love people who have been ruined. If only one.

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