1. Exercise – I’m bummed that I’m starting the new year with a couple of injuries that are making my exercise routine more challenging. I remember reading the biography of an Italian climber once who, when interviewed at the age of 87 said, “I still try to do something challenging for my body every day.” That’s my mantra at the beginning of 2010 as well: challenge the body daily somehow.
2. Socialize – The deadline for my next book is May 1st, and I’m aware of my tendency to sort of jump into the ocean of ideas and hide in the safety of my own head rather than be involved in relationships. I’m intent on doing a better job of developing and maintaining relationships with friends, neighbors, and co-workers, during writing season.
3. Encouragement – I was privileged in 2009 to re-connect with some friends from architecture school who were, and still are, gifted encouragers. They reminded my how important this gift is, and I’m intent on developing some little habits in order to more be encouraging.
4. Service – Our church is doing this Rule of Life thing (if you’ve read my book, you know about it), and this year one of our focal points will be service. This is a big and challenging deal for me. When I was in Austria recently, a man ten years older than me got up at 3:30 in the morning to drive someone to airport and then spent the day teaching ski instructors on the slopes while I… slept in, read, did e-mails, took a nap, and tried to write. I was convicted by his action, and the actions of many others, that serving has increasingly become a blind spot in my world, and that if I’d listen more closely to the Holy Spirit, I’d do the dishes more often.
5. Generosity – Stewarding the wealth of health, family, home, and material abundance is a tremendous privilege and responsibility. I’m mindful that I could share more freely and am praying for Jesus to show me the way.
6. Simplicity – I’m tossing stuff I haven’t used, and have it as a goal this year to go through my files (after me) which have become clogged with needles papers, articles, ideas… there will be a fire in the mountains this spring.
7. Mission – As our church moves towards the establishment of new services, campuses, and satellites, it’s on my heart that we also begin to find a way to focus, with greater intentionality, on our own backyard – serving in the North Seattle area creatively and building platforms for relationships there.
8. Teaching – I’ve a men’s retreat this spring and two family conferences this summer. I’m praying that God will use me in these venues, and that I’ll ‘devote myself to these things’ as Paul exhorted Timothy to do. I fear becoming stagnant, redundant, meaningless, as I grow older, and am praying for the capacity to still be used by God, knowing that ‘being used’ is simply the byproduct of my own relationship with Jesus.
9. Beauty – Whether it’s the beauty of creation, poetry, good coffee, architecture, photography, intimacy or…anything else, I pray that I’ll both appreciate beauty and contribute to the beauty of my little part of the world, for it is in beauty and suffering, as Simone Weill wrote, that we see God most clearly. On a practical level, I think this means we need to address the front yard.
10. Contentment – The pursuit of “more” is bothersome to me these days, and I nearly didn’t write this entry because of the risk that it implies a sense of ambition and drivenness that, in reality, simply isn’t in me. Instead, I’m a fan of Ecclesiastes 5:18 – it might even be my ‘verse of the year’, if I were ambitious enough to have one:
Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that it is good to eat, drink, and enjoy work under the sun during the short life God has given us, and to accept your lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life – this is indeed a gift from God.
All right then – welcome to 2010