My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding;
furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding,
if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He stores up success for the upright;
He is a shield for those who live with integrity
so that He may guard the paths of justice and protect the way of His loyal followers.
Then you will understand righteousness, justice, and integrity—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your mind, and knowledge will delight your heart.
Discretion will watch over you, and understanding will guard you.”
— Proverbs 2:1–11 (HCSB)
Over the past few years the trend in New Years Resolutions has become to, rather than setting specific expectations, choose a theme word for the year.
If you know me well or have followed this blog for any period of time, you know that I don’t believe God has blueprints for our lives. I believe He is more concerned with our character than our careers; He desires us to BE and not just DO. We glorify Him most with our hearts, not our lists of accomplishments.
As such, it’s a bit surprising that I’m so late arriving at this “one word” party. I like my lists too much. I spend lots of time creating those color-coded charts and calendars of deadlines toward achieving each goal. But then January comes and … well, my lists and charts are never fully finished. I grow despondent, overcome by my many failures. Therein lies my misunderstanding, my inconsistency in theological application.
If I truly believe that God doesn’t have a blueprint and that He’s more concerned with my character than my accomplishments, then why am I so focused on MY goals and MY plans and MY ideas of how to fulfill His purposes for me? Why am I so afraid to deviate when He provides the opportunities? What’s worse: why do I consider myself a failure for getting “distracted” by divine interruptions instead of staying focused on those shiny first-of-the-year resolutions?
And I want to get it right this year. I want to correct that inconsistency. I want to live what I truly believe. Even if that means putting down my spreadsheets and setting aside my sharpest wants.
Choosing a word for the year (instead of bulleting tasks and charting deadlines) grants the liberty to chase those divine interruptions without guilt. It puts control back where it should be — in God’s hands — and the focus and dependence back where it should be — on Him and His plans rather than me and my self-reliance or abilities.
My Word for 2014: WISDOM
This year I want to relentlessly pursue wisdom. I crave wisdom in my relationships, in my communications, in my time management.
Now, I just made this thorough argument for broad thinking and over-arching sanctification, but goals set without action steps are little more than wishes. If you really want to pursue something — even if it is character — you need to have a plan to do that. It doesn’t need deadlines or spreadsheets, but it does need some steps in the right direction.
So, here are a few steps I am taking toward pursuing wisdom.
- Reading Proverbs. There are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs. That makes it easy to match chapters with the calendar. Simply read the chapter that matches that day. (Today is January 8th, so I read Proverbs 8.) I’m not making a checklist; if I miss a day, I miss a day, but this is one of the steps I’m trying to consistently take.
- Learning from Others. I’m not the first to walk this path. I want to learn from those who have traversed this way before. So, I plan to read a lot. Check out my 52 Books post for a beginning to-be-read list. Look in the bottom right sidebar to see what I’m reading now. Expect some conversation here on the blog as I finish particularly helpful tomes.
- Living Priorities. If pursuing wisdom is a priority and if I believe God is the Source of wisdom, then spending time with Him must come before other, less important things … like work. When my kids come home from school, the office door needs to close … with me on the outside of it. If I say something is important, I want to live like it is. I want to be conscious that my everyday choices add up to the sum value of all my days on earth.
- Setting Boundaries. Time management is always a struggle for me; it almost always comes back to technology or work. So, I’ve set up some loose boundaries there. No more checking email or facebook first thing in the morning. Depend more on scheduling rather than up-to-the-minute interaction. Be okay not being in the loop on everything knowing that I’ve often more important interactions waiting right in my living room.
There you have it: my very late, perfectly imperfect New Years Resolution post.
TALK TO ME: Do you have a word for 2014? If not, will you join me on a pursuit of wisdom? Do you have any ideas to keep us stepping in the right direction?