It’s 2011! A brand new year! I realize I still haven't posted about Christmas (which was awesome by the way). I feel like life has been a whirlwind ever since! But I will be getting to a Christmas post! :) But for now, my thoughts on the new year....
So New Year's. What's it all about anyway? A time for a fresh start and a new beginning right? It’s the time of year you start seeing billboards and commercials for things like self-improvement gimmicks and sale prices on gym memberships and workout programs. People start reflecting on what they want to change in their lives such as quit smoking/drinking, get organized, get out of a doubt, and enjoy life more. Then they resolve to make those changes stick. But most of us know that New Year’s resolutions are usually short-lived, most of them not making it past the end of January. I personally don’t ever make black and white New Year’s resolutions because I am too much of a perfectionist and don’t like handling the fact that I didn’t keep my resolution for all 365 days of the year. It messes with my mind. This year, I am committing to a different kind of resolution, one I would employ you to consider as well. My new year’s resolution is to live purposefully.
Often times, it is so easy to coast through life, stuck on auto-pilot, going about our day to day business without ever realizing the kinds of moments we have let go by. Living purposefully. That means living with intent, being direct and specific with how we go about our days and our relationships with our children, our spouses, and friendships.
How can we live purposefully in our roles as moms, dads, spouses, and friends
- Do we find time each day to play with our children? I know Dad is at work all day, there are bills to be paid, and a house to manage. Mom, there are dishes to be done, errands to run, managing a home, maybe an outside job to commute to, and a million other things we can do. But being purposeful with our children means spending quality, uninterrupted time with them. If the children are young, sit on the floor and play what they love to play, engage in their imaginations and their world. If the children are older, find time to be purposeful with them in something they enjoy doing. If you don’t know what that is, pay attention and simply ask!
- Do we spend our children’s waking hours distracted by facebook, texting, television, and internet browsing? Are we living purposefully, with intent, when our children run aimlessly through the house with no direction, as they’ve said our name about 100 times already? Do we find ourselves snapping at them to settle down or be quiet so we can finish “our stuff.” What do we think our children would say to us if we asked them if we spend too much time on our computer (or other area of interest we have?)
- Have we resorted to simply managing our children’s behavior to get them to do what we want on the outside, instead of being purposeful with them by instructing and engaging their heart? Does this take time? Absolutely. Anything with purpose takes intentional time. Purposeful instruction is talking about the underlying character issues behind their outward behavior and bringing attention to things like selfishness, pride, and discontentment, not just yelling out "Give that back to your sister! You need to share!"
- Do we skip date night again because we’re too busy, too tired, or just didn’t get it put on the calendar? Cultivating a healthy marriage means spending quality time together, away from the children and responsibilities of life.
- Do we allow our own grumpiness or bad attitudes to get in the way of a purposeful interaction with our spouse when they walk in the door? They say the first 3 minutes of the daily "reunion" set the tone for the entire rest of the day/evening.
- Are we purposeful in meeting our spouse’s love language needs? Do we take care each week to be specific in meeting them? Do we even know what they are for our spouse? Different season's of life can change one's love language. Have you asked your spouse lately how they best interpret and receive love?
- Are we purposeful in our friendships? Do we make an effort to stay connected to long-distance friends, are we making time to really know what is happening in our friends’ lives, do we remember birthdays and anniversaries (even if it’s just with a card?)
- Are we purposeful with our hospitality? Are we too worried about a clean house and the right menu to invite others into our home to share in our lives?
This year, in 2011, I want to have purposeful living in the forefront of my mind. Each week, I want to be able to look back and say, “I was purposeful this week in this area by doing ____.” What a blessing purposeful living will be to those around us, and in turn, what a blessing it will also be even to ourselves.