Well, another year has reached its end. Tonight, I, along with everyone else in the world, will tip my hat to the year of 2015 and welcome in the new year of 2016. It’s been a big year in a lot of ways for us here at Tanner Manor. We have laughed, cried, stood in disbelief, and sighed in relief. We made new friends and said goodbye to some old ones too. We watched travesties and tragedies unfold in the news, but we saw people rise to stand for what is right in the middle of those tragedies as well.
We are at that time of year when I feel an urge to start over. The year feels like a shirt I have been wearing just a little too long and I am ready for something fresh. So, it’s time to look at what I am doing, what I want to do, and how do I get there! While I say I’m a simple man (please don’t read that as simpleton), I have many different aspects of life to think about when it comes time for change. Trust me, you aren’t any different. Our categories may not all be the same, but you have at least as many as I do.
So, here are a few things that I want to work on this year. I’ve pretty much been an open book on this blog over the last three years, so if you want to be a voyeur, this is your chance!
Me As a Believer – This year has been a good year for growth for me. I’ve had challenges, faced them, had some good and bad outcomes, but I’ve learned something from all of them. I have spent more time in God’s Word this year than I ever have, but when I add that up, I honestly have not been as close to Him as I would have liked. Reading my Bible, journaling, and praying are drawing me closer to Him, but in the last few weeks I have come face to face with the fact that I still try to do too much on my own. I need to be fiercely dependent on Him in all aspects of my life. God’s will and direction need to be my first thought in anything I do or say. Big goal. A Relentless goal.
Me As a Husband – This year Tammi and I have had some really good conversations about fears, plans, situations, and how to endure. We are approaching some major life change this next year as our daughter will be leaving the house for college in the fall. We are bracing for that, and while there is an aspect of my life that can simply address that as a parent, I need to be ready to address it as a husband as well. My wife will need me in new ways. I will need to be listening to her and listening for new things and how I can meet her needs as a husband. I will continue to love her, support her, and grow closer to her, especially as our lives are changing and in a blink we will be just the two of us again.
Me As a Father – Like I said, Jessica will be leaving soon, and Zach is hot on her heels. I only have a short time left with my kids in my home, and just like every day for the last almost 19 years, I don’t know what I need to know for the next thing until it happens. God has blessed me with two great kids, and I pray that as they continue grow they will understand just how seriously I took the job of being a Dad. I might not have gotten everything right, but I’m not done trying either! This final stage of “parenting in the home” is confusing for all of us as we try to give freedom to them while protecting them from trouble and guiding them to do the right thing. Prayer time for my kids and their future is growing and becoming a greater comfort. What better thing can I do than to ask God to carry them?
Me As a Friend – This year I have been working harder at being a friend. It takes work for a guy like me, but the dividends are priceless. I’ve had chances to weep with friends, laugh with friends, see my friends pour into my family, and times to just be together. God never intended for us to live our lives as individuals. Our first and greatest relationship is with Him, and He has given us His Son as our example, our brother, and our friend. We should be taking that example and identifying people in our lives that we can grow with. My goal this year is to deepen and strengthen the friendships I have and to continue to look for other men I can call friend as well.
Me As … Well, Me! – This year I have been much more aware of my health – and the lack of it. Knee problems have plagued me for most of my adult life, and this year they have become harder to ignore. It is requiring some changes in my lifestyle. I’m not going to sit here and list out my goals for losing weight or eating healthy. Let’s face it, nobody wants to read those because everyone knows that those goals are usually shot by March. My goal this year is to be more conscious of my opportunities to make a better choice for my health (after tonight’s party – lots of good food tonight). I want to take the opportunity to take the stairs, walk down the block, or skip the second helping. That is the goal. If more happens than that, then fantastic! I just want a healthier me when I sit down to write at the end of 2016.
Me As a Writer – Like I said, this is the completion of my third year of writing this blog. I’ve also had opportunities to do some writing for our church. I love writing, but I don’t take the time to do it as often as I would like. The goal for this past year was a post per week. I fell a little short of that, but I had some of the highest numbers of readers/views this year as well. I have been humbled by the number of people that have read my “stuff”. Some of them even come back! This year, the goal will be to blog at least once each week, but additionally, to write for 15 minutes at least 5 days per week. I want to focus on developing this skill and figuring out how to best use it for God.
Me As an Employee – It’s been an interesting year at work. I have been encouraged in how so many long-term projects have turned out, how relationships and trust are growing, and how lessons are being learned. This next year has some larger projects ahead that will require a lot of preparation and thought. My prayer and goal for work is that I will be more focused while there. The focus cannot be singular. The organization is complex, and so are the challenges. I need to have a focus that is broad, but can be sharpened when necessary to deal with things. I wan too work this year on developing some other staff as well. Their development is necessary in order for me to be able to let some things go in order to do my job better. This is going to be fun!
It doesn’t really make a difference if you want to look at a new year as new opportunities. Those opportunities are coming whether you want them or not! Relentless Living is living in a way that prepares for what it can, plans for what may happen, and adjusts to what comes, all while clinging to God for His insight, direction, and leadership. He knows what every tomorrow will bring, and through His grace I can face 2016 with my head up and my shoulders back, because together, We’ve got this!
Have a Relentless New Year!