I gave up having a New Year’s resolution a few years ago. Instead of repeatedly beating myself up for not seeing them through, I know choose to focus on one word that will propel me into the new year. Only having one word makes it much easier to remember and I only have one thing to get angry about not doing, instead of a list of impossibilities.
Last year, my word was intentional. I tried to make every action, thought and word as intentional as possible. Let’s just say that my success was somewhat less than I had hoped for, but I did learn to stop and think before acting, at least most of the time. This year I have added diligence to my practice of intentional living. So far I am having less success than last year.
Diligence is defined as careful and persistent work or effort; or sense evolved from “love” through “attentiveness” to “carefulness” to “steady effort”. I love that second definition: Careful, attentive, love that works with a steady effort. I’ve been trying to think of grand things I can do for my family to show them my love and my dedication in a pleasing and seemingly effortless way and that’s where I get snagged.
Once again, I have become too focused on the what that I have lost focus of the why. If I do great things, but am too busy to love in the middle of them, how have I accomplished my goal? This seems to be a reoccurring issue for me in my life. I try to do as much as possible for as many as possible, but I get lost in the process.
My bible study group dealt with the issue of servanthood yesterday. We discussed how we are all called to serve, but we must establish boundaries in our work and our homes. When we work to a frazzle and overschedule every moment, our effort wavers, our careful planning becomes more haphazard, our attentiveness wanes, and our love tank empties. When that happens, I usually slunk into a corner and have a little pity party. And the lies that I believed for so long whisper in my ear: “you’re not good enough”, “you don’t measure up”, and “you just never seem to get it right”.
When that occurred a little earlier this week, I tried a new tactic based on my word. I diligently repeated 2 Cor. 10:5 over and over in my head. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every though and make it obedient to Christ.” Taking those negative thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ requires diligence and discipline on my part.
I have also figured out that saying “No” occasionally isn’t such a bad thing (my husband would probably say I already have a lot of practice with that one)! It’s not enough to be diligent in regards to my work with others and my family, I must be diligent with my time with God. I can’t overlook bible study, prayer, and time spent in the presence of my savior to satisfy my compulsive need to be a second mom, big sister, or Ms. Fixit to those around me. If I haven’t received an inpouring of the Holy Spirit in the morning, I have nothing to give to those around me. I also need to give myself the time to fully digest what it is that God is trying to show in his word each morning.
So as 2017 gets underway, I try to remember that diligence isn’t just a something that applies to the people around me in my interactions with them, but is an important act I must practice every day for myself as well. I can’t give what I do not have, earnestly seeking God gives me more so I can give more. Saying “No” to many good things, enables me to say “Yes” to a few great things. Diligently seeking God must be the first thing, or nothing else matters!
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a part-time basket case who wants to be a full time writer.