…an alternative kind of resolution this year…

It is almost January.  You know what that means?  Resolution time.  That’s right.  People everywhere are thinking about what their New Year’s resolutions are going to be this year.  Lose 15 pounds.  Spend time gardening.  Read 50 books this year.  Volunteer more often.

There is a wide variety of things that people will resolve to do in the New Year.  You know what?  There will also be a wide variety of things that people will give up on this year.  I think it is interesting how serious we can be about something in January and how bored with it we can be by the time March comes.  I think one of the reasons that we do this is because every year we try to add something to our life.  For real – how many of us need one more thing in our life?

If we want to lose weight that means we now have to add working out to our to-do list.  If we want to spend more time gardening, then on Saturdays we have to start this that to our weekend schedule.  Reading more books means finding ones you want to read and then actually doing it.  And volunteering at different places means putting in the effort and time to do this.  All things that are normal resolutions, and all things that we have to add to our lives.

Here is a revolutionary idea for ya.  Why not resolve to subtract something for your life?  Why not make a resolution to take something out of your life.  It is just so crazy and off the wall, it just might work.

“This year I’m going to resolve to not go to every movie that comes out in the theatre.”  “I’m not going to worry about money.  I’ve made it this far with God providing, I know He’ll provide again this year.”  “I’m going to unplug the computer after dinner is done at night.  Then I’ll be able to have time for focus on my family more, and not be distracted by Facebook.”

Does this make any sense?  Get rid of something.  I bet if you get rid of something you don’t actually like doing or don’t need to do anymore, by the time March hits you won’t be giving up on it, but relishing the fact that you are loving not being bothered by it anymore.

So this January, don’t commit to doing one more thing; commit to doing one less.

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…life in a small town…

This past week I spent my time in Grinnell and Newton, IA with my family for Thanksgiving – two little towns in central Iowa. It felt somewhat like home since I grew up in small town northeast Iowa called Hudson, which is right outside of Waterloo.  But I digress…

I realized this week that there are a lot of things about a small town that I really have taken for granted.  As I spent my time in a context that I haven’t found myself for a few years now I was blown away by a few things.

First off, I couldn’t believe how people behaved at a restaurant called Pizza Ranch, which for some reason has the very, very, very best chicken I have ever eaten in my whole life!  No kidding.  It is a buffet style restaurant with salad bar, pizza, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy.  A few times when I went up for food I turned the corner of a line and was met with someone else trying to do the same thing from the other direction.  This happened to me a few times and the strangest thing happened.  The person that I met smiled at me, looked me in the eye and said “Excuse me.” or “Sorry.”  That totally caught me off guard.  I don’t know if after living in Kansas City and Tulsa for over 6 years I have gotten used to the way big cities operate at buffets, or if I just don’t run into the apologizers, or if these people in small town Iowa just have good manners.  It made me stop and think to myself “Why in the world don’t I apologize when I almost run someone over?”

Secondly, when I went to church on Sunday the pastor, the worship leader, and a former youth worker all told me that they have been praying for me and will continue to pray for me.  I have been going through a rather rough spot here at my church with some drama that has happened over the last 6 months.  And I have talked to my sister about it, who must have passed it on, and these 3 men who I don’t really know that well have all been praying for me, and will continue to do so.  Amazing.  Stopped me in my tracks.  Totally humbled by that.

And lastly, the thing that caught me off guard about people from small towns/Iowa.  They drive super fast on Interstate 80.  Not kidding.  I’m a guy who like to go 78 in a 75, 72 in a 70, and 67 in a 65; so not terribly fast – but come on we are already going 75 miles an hour, why go any faster?  But these guys were doing what seemed like 80 in a 65.  I can’t tell you how many times I got passed while on I-80.  They might smile and pray, but they drive like its Black Friday all the time.

So…what are you?  Are you a pray-er?  Are you an apologizer?  Are you a speeder?

…greatest girl i know…

credit: Lisa HesselToday is a special day for me.  It is a more special day for my wife.  Today she turns 25!  Yep, that is right – she is a quarter of a century old.  Where has the time gone?  When I first met her she was a young buck at the age of 18.  Now she is 25.

I wanted to take time today and honor my wife.  I want to do this because I think she deserves it.  First off I believe that she is the prettiest girl I know.  She rarely doesn’t look good.  When she is tired – she is cute.  When she is angry – she is hot.  When she first wakes up – she is glowing.  When she smiles – I melt.  She is always attractive and beautiful in my eyes.

She also has a faith in God that has shaped and changed/matured my faith.  I’m a guy who likes to worry and be anxious about a lot.  But she will roll with the punches and lives pretty carefree because she knows God is in control and that He will provide.  I used to worry about seminary classes, money, my car, decisions, bills, paying for the wedding, etc.  And she would sit there and just say “God will take care of it.”  And she wasn’t just being trite – she meant it.  She knew that God would provide.  Today I still worry but not nearly as much.  Wanna know why?  I decided to listen to my wife, trust God with my problems, and watched Him provide for us in ways I had never imagined.  Her faith in God has matured my own faith in God to be much, much stronger.

I used to pray for a wife who would challenge me and encourage me in every area of my life.  I no longer pray for that because I got it.  Our 5 years together have been a lot of fun and I know that we have 65 or so years to go before we are done.  I love her and couldn’t imagine myself with anyone else.  Well, I guess I could imagine it, but I know I wouldn’t be happy because anyone else isn’t Tiffany.

I love you tiger.  Happy Birthday!