2013 will be a year of change (once again) for the family.
As 2012 drew to a close, I had many issues tugging at me that I felt needed to be prioritized. From all areas of my life: spiritual, familial, relational, physical and work (can't think of an "-al" word to continue that pattern!).
First of all, I have been very convicted about my devotional time. As this new year begins, I am going to continue a reading plan that I started last Fall, with the intent of going through the Bible in chronological order by the end of this year. I would also like to make the time to read some commentaries on scripture and do a little more digging into some practical areas of God's Word.
I have become more aware of the amount of spiritually devoid things I have been putting into myself, and have been making a consicous decision to replace those things with God-pleasing things. Music is one area of example: I am finding that music that I used to enjoy just stirs up feelings within me that, while they may not be wrong in and of themselves, should not be taking the place of God-honoring music. Some songs that we hear on the radio today are just outright profane, and I have used the filter in my mind to say, "if this is not something I would want playing while my kids were around to hear it, then there is no reason I should be listening to it even when they are not around." The same goes for television (not that I get to watch much of that) and other forms of media. The world is full of "fluff", I'm going to make an effort to pursue substance!
Some of the areas mentioned above overlap. Family and work, specifically. As 2012 drew to a close, I made arrangements to leave the carpentry work behind. It was enjoyable (for the most part), but there was not enough work to keep a full-time income stream. And there was too much work to carry on any other type of work. I tried last fall to go full-time with my dad, doing carpentry on the side, but enough work was coming in with odd jobs that I was distracted from putting the hours in with dad. In December, I cancelled the business insurance and hung up the tools. Starting this January, I am going full time with my dad, no distractions (except this blog, at the moment!). Having a singular focus will, I hope, provide more effective use of my time, and will allow me to be around the house with more quality family time on a more regular basis. The kids are growing up fast. I don't want to be just "that guy that keeps the bills paid" to the kids. This is prime memory-making time!
Also with the new year, I am looking forward to some new relationships. I have committed to join a group of men from our church that will be meeting every week for the next two years, seeking out God's design for the leadership of Godly men at home, church, work and community based on principles found through Biblical study. There are 14 of us that will be going through this Christian Leadership Concepts study. I am so looking forward to digging deeper and, in the processs, getting to know some men that are seeking after God's heart, on a more substantial level than the usual "hey, how's it going?" kind of relationships that many men have.
Recreationally, in this coming year, I would like to make some time for things that I enjoy. I've been too busy to even think about some of these things for the last few years (almost a decade). I have a trumpet that I have started to play some scales on again, working my embouchure up to playing wherever I may have opportunity. The whole family has working bikes now, I'd like to see us get out and enjoy some of the many trails around the area. I have a Jeep (see jeepxj.net) that has been untouched (except for 4 moves in the last 10 years), part-way through an engine swap.... I'd like to get at least some progress made toward getting that operational again, while the kids are still young enough to think it's fun to go on "bumpy rides"!
And finally, I have found that my sweet tooth is being overpowered by my desire for healthy living. I've got a few pounds that I'd like to lose, and I think that the best way to achieve that and maintain a healthy lifestyle should start with being careful about the food we eat as well as making a point to get out and stay active.
Ambitious? Probably. Will I falter? No doubt. Can I get back up and keep on trying? By the Grace of God, I want to live a life that is pleasing to Him in all aspects.
I am so thankful that we don't need a new year to make a new start. While it is a great time for reflection on where we've come from and setting our sights on where we want to go, it is comforting to know that God's mercies are new every morning, and Great is His Faithfulness!