As 2022 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on the year behind and set goals for the year ahead. My word for last year was “covenant faithfulness,” which I wrote about in this blog post. The Lord had much to teach me about this topic through my study of Hosea and personal goals for growth. I was grateful for the daily reminder of my covenant vows I wrote out and put on my fridge, and I hope to always be living those out for the rest of my life.
But now it’s time to pick my new word for 2023. This is now my sixth year of this practice, and I’ve discovered I love this idea more than making New Year’s resolutions. A word for the year gives me a focus and a direction for my goals and activities.
However, this year, I couldn’t settle on just one word, so I had to pick three. Three words that encompass my overall goal for the year, which is stewarding my mind for the glory of God.
And those words are depth, discipline, and delight.
I’ve been thinking lately about the mind and what a gift it is—and how easily I waste that gift on lazy or selfish pursuits. But I’m often challenged by great thinkers, writers, and artists of the past who used their minds to its greater potential—and I have to ask myself, “Is it worth it to be frittering my mind away on shallow or hollow pursuits when I could be doing so much more with it?”
Thus, my first word of focus for 2023 is depth. I want to challenge myself to go deeper with my reading, thinking, studying, and writing. I’ve challenged my Honors English students this year to “wrestle with the text” and not shy away from something just because it’s hard. They’ve risen to the challenge, but I need to be willing to do the same in my own life. I need to embrace more of the classic literature I’m asking them to read; I need to dive in to older thinkers and deeper theology—not because it makes me feel smarter, but because richer, more complex thinking leads to a deeper and fuller appreciation of life.
This means I have to be willing to spend less time on trivial pursuits such as social media and watching TV shows. Neither of those things are bad, and I’m not choosing to cut them out entirely, but I need to steward my time well so that social media and TV shows are not my primary pursuits.
In order to cultivate more depth in my life, I must also focus on discipline. I need to be disciplined in my reading habits for sure, but I want to zero my discipline in specifically on my writing. As I mentioned earlier in the fall, I had felt in the middle of a drought when it comes to writing. But over Christmas break, the floods of inspiration began pouring over the barren desert of my writing soul, and excitement crept in for new goals. I want to make weekly, monthly, and even yearly goals for my writing, and set accountability so that I can steward well the thoughts God brings to my mind.
Finally, my last word for 2023 is delight. I want to learn to delight in God and his character, seeing him for the treasure that he is, and giving him the glory for the gifts he’s given me. I don’t want to get lost in my own goals of discipline and stretching myself without appreciating the gift of life I have. Above all else, I want my relationship with Christ to deepen so that through delighting in him, I can share the joy with others. This means stewarding my mind so that it continuously looks for delight in God instead of the negativity in the world.
I pray for humble submission to God and his Word as I begin the new year. Proverbs says that a man plans his steps, but the Lord directs his ways, and I don’t want to arrogantly think I know where this year is going to go. I have a couple other hopes for this year that I may share about another time, but for now, they are hiding away in prayer as I weigh the next steps in life. I get excited about fresh starts and new goals, so I’m eager to grow in these areas, starting in a couple days. But I also know (from this past year’s experiences) that God brings unexpected things into our lives and teaches us things we never dreamed about. I pray that I would stay ready for those possibilities and stay faithful in each daily task that I’m called to do.
And I’ll start with depth, discipline, and delight.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Photo by Anita Austvika on Unsplash.