building and balancing
"New Year's Resolutions" only seem to last as long as it takes me to replace one short-term memory item with the next "really important thing to remember" or as long as it takes to fill a page full of neatly-scripted, carefully-worded, detailed-and-decided-upon strategies-for-change-and-success in a beautifully bound journal and then close the journal and set it on a shelf and forget which journal I wrote those goals and strategies in.
For me, resolutions are (of necessity) to be shared. I need accountability.
Daily, meaningful, quiet time in prayer and Bible study is something I desperately feel the need for. But "prone to wander--Lord, I feel it! [I'm so] prone to leave the God I [really do] love. Here's my heart! O take and seal it--Seal it for Thy courts above" (from "Come, Thou Fount"). And as frustrating as it is to admit when I have wandered from the discipline and have lost the desire, when I honestly want to grow, I will make myself thankful for the faithful friend who will ask me how I'm doing.
Diet & exercise, as a way of life, not just a whim of woe when we stand on the scale, or walk past the scale because we just don't want to know. I've recently started going to the fitness center during my lunch hour. The ladies that I have met have been "iron" for me. As we run on the indoor track or elliptical machines, lift weights, or teach each other a new Pilates stretch, we encourage each with the over-arching purpose behind the pain we're inflicting on ourselves: ultimately, increased effectiveness for the glory and praise of God, increased energy for our families, and increased efficiencies in our labors of love within and outside of our homes. Now, I will say that I count it an awesome privilege to work on the campus of a uniquely Christian institution where there is that sharpening edge of fellowship on a regular basis, but I really believe this is possible whether you're a stay-at-home mom or work in the secular work force. Finding another person that can challenge you to continue on, someone to exercise with on a regular basis. At times, I've set up different people to exercise with on different days of the week ("Amy" on Mondays and Wednesday mornings at a local university, "Rachel" on Tuesday afternoons at the park, "Lori" on Fridays, and so forth). It's not a bad idea to have a group of three or four of you that can trade off two watching each others' kids for an hour while the other two go work out. For me, exercising has been such an excellent time to build relationships.
There are obviously other areas in life that accountability is helpful for. Just meeting once in a while for tea while the kids play in the backyard or emailing if getting together isn't possible that week. A phone-call once a month to catch up and exchange prayer requests, a short hand-written "I'm praying for you today. Thought of you a lot recently and just wandered how you've been"--it doesn't have to take long, but the people that we network ourselves with are some of the special gifts the Lord has given to keep us balanced.
God called His Church, a Body. He intended for us to be "tightly joined together."
"Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him Who is the Head, into Christ, from Whom the whole Body, joined and held together by every joint with which It is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the Body grow so that It builds Itself up in love" (Ephesians 4:15,16). And obviously the flip-side of "speaking the truth in love" is being willing to listen to the truth being spoken in love.
Special thanks to each of you who have held me accountable and who are holding me accountable... With love, michelle