Last year, 2019, I wanted my focus to be on faithfulness. I wanted to especially grow in my faithfulness to the callings that I’ve been given in this season – specifically my writing, my walk with God, and my hospitality/relationships.
Unfortunately, there were a few things that got in the way of that pursuit – some of them beyond my control, such as breaking my wrist in February and getting in a little car accident in October.
But some of them were in my control, and yet I chose to settle for them – distractions that kept me from growing in my callings. Distractions with names like Netflix, social media, and being overly committed to things. Being overly committed to things meant I ended up more tired, which meant it was easier to fill the exhausted gaps with entertainment and mindless scrolling instead of more challenging pursuits.
Some of those commitments were good, and in a sense, different kinds of callings – specifically in the world of theater. Directing and being in shows are still things of beauty that I adore and that bring glory to God. I feel a great love for theater and the people in that world. But I also know the huge time commitment that it is and how it can keep me from other callings that I need to pursue – and how some years I need to take a step back from it to focus on those other callings.
Apart from theater, I had a host of other little commitments here and there throughout the year that piled up the exhaustion from an already stressful year. I need to learn to take a careful look at the commitments I say yes to – because while they might all be good things, they will together become bad things if they are straining my mental and emotional well-being.
So technically, I still want to grow in faithfulness in the upcoming year, but I’m taking it one step further in the “how” of faithfulness – and that’s to focus on being undistracted – with the goal of going deeper. Deeper in my craft, deeper in my faith, deeper in my thinking, and deeper in my relationships. I want to shake the talons of shallowness that reach out to grip me by the throat and train my mind to delight in the depths of beauty waiting to be mined.
How will I do this? With a plan. A plan for removing and replacing. And a plan that starts with small steps per month and week, not for the whole year.
- January: One month completely off Netflix.
- January: Over-commitment. Mid-week Bible study is the only thing I’m committing to outside of work (at my two jobs – both of which will require more from me this month).
- Once a month: One week off of social media.
- Once a month: One day (or at least four hours) for a Writer’s Retreat.
- January: Read a classic author/book and study their craft.
- Six out of seven nights a week: nightly yoga to calm the mind & strengthen the body.
- Three times weekly: at least 20 minutes of writing.
- Regular rest: work towards a consistent 7.5-8 hours of sleep a night.
- Once daily: practice single-tasking for at least an hour.
- Twice daily: intentionally grow in prayer times.
These habits – which are a “work towards” not a “conquer at once” – are things which I believe will help my mind reset, refocus, and reignite so that I can go deeper in both my writing and my walk with Christ.
However, I also want to cultivate habits of creativity and artistry, both in my personal life and in my community to deepen my relationships.
I want there to be more
- Game nights
- Dinner nights
- Walks in the neighborhood
- Exploring the city
- Notes of encouragement
- Money saved & given away
I want there to be less
- Hurry and rush
- Spending money on unnecessary things
- Mindless vegging
- Comparison and pride
I want it to be a year of intention. Where the little goals are steadily working toward the big goals. Where I don’t wallow in self-pity because I’m immersed in purpose. Where I find joy in every small task because I know that this is where the real living takes place. Where I don’t miss out on the real jewels because I’m blurring past them to the next thing on the list. Where I make time for people, not just productivity.
Weeknights will be for focused, undistracted creativity. Weekends will be for soul connections and re-energizing, life-giving time together.
So, come over for a game of Settlers of Catan or Scrabble or Dutch Blitz, I’ll put the kettle on – we’ll have some soup and cornbread – and we’ll share life together instead of staring at pictures of each other on screens.
There will always be interruptions to the perfectly planned days and weeks. There will be unexpected turns of events that will pull me away. There will be life events that will take precedence for awhile. But overall, my intention is to lessen the distractions throughout the year by deepening the habits of focus and intention with my time.
Maybe one or two of these ideas appeal to you, too, and you’d like to practice them along with me. If so, I’d love to hear about it – and I’d love for you to help keep me accountable!
May this be a year of discovering new riches in serving Christ by being faithful and obedient with our time.
Soli Deo Gloria.