January is here, and with January comes a multitude of decisions, plans, resolutions, promises, and general feelings of intention. Unfortunately, as early as this week, and as late as mid-February, many of those things have been left at the wayside. It happens so often that a lot of people joke about it. As a matter of fact, some people say that the best resolution they have ever made is to not make resolutions! I’m not immune to this tendency to look at the New Year as a blank slate, nor am I one of those that can say that they accomplished what they set out to do with a resolution. Let’s face it, 365 days is a long time!
Over the last few years, I have been looking at life change that does not necessarily coincide with an annual agenda. A yearlong goal just doesn’t speak to me. I need to break things down a little more. In doing this I have seen a better success rate, and that is encouraging to me. Obviously, it is fun to accomplish something, so it just makes sense to set a goal that you can actually reach! Work for it, but make it attainable!
This year I have set some goals for myself that are shorter in term. My hope is that in doing that; I will experience a greater success rate. Who know? It might just work! Set shorter time limits – goals that require work, but not a complete change of life. Do things in a way that I need to do better and work harder, but make it more gradual so it is not such a shock to the system. I guess it is time for an example? I thought you might ask!
Chronological Bible Reading – I have mentioned this in several of my posts lately, but this is a big challenge that I am not going to tie to a calendar. I am keeping track of my start date and look forward to seeing how long it takes to get through it, but I am not tied to a timetable. The important thing in this personal challenge is that every day I read, I will take the time to journal about what God is telling me in His Word.
The whole purpose of this method of study is just for me to see the flow of the Bible and see where the prophetic pieces fit in better and thereby get a deeper insight into why they say some of the things they say. Knowing how the Bible flows will probably give me a better grasp on God’s story of redemption and that is a story that I have developed a real love for over the last few years.
10-Day Do-Over Challenge by John Acuff – I stumbled across this one on Facebook, and decided that I would give it a try. 10 days! How hard can that be? It asks you to devote 10 minutes a day to a personal challenge of your own choosing, whether something that you messed up in the past and you want to do over (there would be the origin of the catchy title of the challenge), or something that you have always wanted to do. You get to decide what you want to do with it based on some questions and challenges that are fairly generic, but will produce a good result if you go all in.
I am looking at this challenge as the catalyst for something I have wanted to do for the last year or so. I want to write a book. I have some ideas floating around in my head for topics, but nothing is concrete yet. This challenge has already got my mind going in several different directions, and I am excited about how it is staying very important to me. I am already talking to some people that will be mentors and encouragement for me on this journey, and my prayer is that it will happen in the next couple of years. No solid date, as I have a lot to learn, and I like a plan before I get rollin’!
The Art of Manliness 30-Day Challenge – Okay, let’s throw out a disclaimer first off. I do not agree with everything you will find at the Art of Manliness website. However, I believe that there is some fantastic stuff there, and I see it as a very relevant source of information on some of the things that are missing in men we see around us today. They talk about honor, humility, discipline, relationships, marriage, courage, DIY topics, exercise, and politics, as well as lighter fare like personal grooming, fashion, and the art of tie-tying and choice of hats.
When I saw this challenge, I thought, “Why not?” I might learn a thing or two. Six days in, and I have been impressed. Again, not a biblical challenge, but some good stuff there all the same. One of the very first things they did in this challenge was to challenge me to come up with a personal list of core values. The fundamental things that we treasure above all else. Your values are the laws of your life, and through them you will make all your important decisions about anything and everything. This is not light thinking! I was challenged deeply by this simple act, and next week’s blog will talk about what I came up with as a result of that particular day’s challenge.
As I start this year, I am probably spending more time thinking about my life, my impact on others, and my plan for growth than I ever have before. The neat thing is that I am not feeling a great pressure of a year hanging over my head. I’ve committed myself to a life of change and growth. That is vague, and not very effective for goal setting, but when you set a goal like that, the rest is up to you in how you do it. It has given me freedom to look at things a little differently. There is a huge goal, but I am able to meet it in small steps.
A 10-day challenge has already turned into something that I might be working on for the next couple of years, but it starts with accomplishing simple 10 day goal. A 30-day challenge has already made me look at how I view the most important things in my life, and it did it on the first day. A study of the Bible is something that you can never really finish, but what an amazing change it has made in my life.
It’s a new year. I want to finish it a better man than I started it. I’m not sure what that will look like, but I know that I am committed to a Relentless Growth in Christ. These challenges are tools that I have chosen to help me in that goal. They are my tools, and the results I see will be because of what I put into them. Your tools may be different, and your results will be different too, but if you are Relentless in your pursuit of growth in Christ and as a person, I guarantee you will see a result.
I’d love to hear what you are doing this year to grow. I don’t have all the answers, and once my initial challenges are over, I will be ready for another one! Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below, or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!
In HIS Grip,