Every year, when New Year's Day rolls around, I sit down for a few moments of quiet and reflect on the past years accomplishments and failures. It's a time for evaluating where my life is and where I want it to be. And then I think about and plan some things I'd like to see happen in the next year of my life. It's not so much making resolutions, because resolutions are usually left by the wayside within the first week. But it is more of a time to get back my focus.
This year, God has impressed on me a great desire for change. He has put it in my heart and spirit in a way that is unmistakable. The year 2010, for me, is going to be all about change.
The first change I needed to make is in my health. For the last 9 1/2 years, I have poured all my time and energy into my 4 children, and am reaping great rewards from that effort. But it has left me little time or energy for myself. But during my time of reflecting on the year(s) past, it finally sunk in that, if I am not physically in good shape, I am not going to physically be able to take care of my kids in the way that God would have me. I realized that I needed to MAKE time for myself to exercise. So I bought a very nice used treadmill, and started going. For the last 2 weeks, I have been running and power walking in an effort to strengthen my heart and lose my last 15lbs. of weight. If you were to see me, you'd probably tell me that I don't need to lose any weight, because, in truth, I'm not terribly overweight. But for my height, I feel the best and can breathe the best when I am about 15lbs. lighter. So my first change of the year - start running, get a stronger heart, and lose 15lbs.
Once I began running, I turned my attention to the foods I was feeding to myself and my family. Again, if you were to see what we eat, you'd probably say something like, "WOW! You guys eat WAY better than we do!" In truth, I have always limited sweets and cooked at home. We choose fruit with our lunch instead of chips. I serve water instead of sodas. So, by all appearances, we eat pretty well. But if I really wanted to make a change, I needed to really take a HARD look at the different foods I was cooking. I fry my veggies, we eat white bread, I cook with white flour, we eat white rice, and I drink WAY too much coffee. How was I going to make a change in my heart and weight if I was still putting all that junk IN my body?? I took a hard look at everything, and decided on some changes. The next change of this year - cook with whole grains and serve them at each meal, add more fresh fruits and fresh or steamed veggies, and eat more seeds, nuts, and beans. Meat will only be served at one meal each day - probably supper since my sweet hubby man eats that meal at home with us. And if a meal can be made without the use of meat, then I will opt for the meatless version.
As far as my coffee goes, there had to be a change there as well. Anyone who knows much at all about me knows that I LOVE my coffee and I drink it in the form of espresso at least twice a day. But God has been working on me where my coffee drinking is concerned. My day could not begin well if I didn't have a good, strong cup of coffee. And if I didn't get my afternoon coffee, the evening would not go well. And for the rest of the day, I would crave another cup just because. One thing I teach my children is that, if something is so important to you that it is ALL you think about ALL the time, it is TOO important to you and is becoming an idol. If there is anything that consumes your thoughts, you need to get rid of it! I tell my son that very thing where his video gaming is concerned. The television becomes just as much of a problem. So when it gets to a point that he can't think of anything else, we turn it off. Back to my coffee. God speaks very clearly about NOT making idols of anything! And when I thought about it, I realized that idols come in many forms - even in the form of an espresso maker. I don't want anything - especially a simple cup of coffee - to be placed before my God as an idol. Next change for the year - get rid of any idols and addictions in my life. Coffee, or espresso, is not a bad thing - in moderation. And one day, perhaps I'll drink it again. But for now, as long as it is the most important thing to me, it has to go!!
In an effort to make changes in my own life, I began to think about changes that I could make on a greater scale. I started to reflect on the impact that my way of life is having on my planet. It is the only one we'll ever have, after all, and I want to do my part to take care of that which God has entrusted us. I thought of all the processed foods that we consume. It takes energy to run the factories that manufacture these products, trees are cut to make the packaging, and when they are thrown away, the plastic sits in a landfill. So the best, most logical, thought is to buy items with less or no packaging - such as fruits and veggies. But there is a problem with those as well. Most of what we purchase at the grocery store is shipped in from other states and even other countries. It takes an enormous amount of fuel to bring all of these foods to my local grocery store. And while these trucks are driving, they are putting off a great amount of carbon dioxide that we are, in turn, breathing. So I decided on yet another change that I needed to make. Last change of the new year - purchase as many food items as possible from local farmers or my local farmers market. By eating foods in season, I should be able to buy most anything I need from one of those 2 places. Of course, I will still have my own home garden, but I simply do not have room to grow everything! There will be many times, I am sure, when I will still go to the grocery store for foods that can't be bought at a farmers market, such as milk, cheese, and flour. But when possible, I will be spending my money locally to help support a neighbor and get the freshest foods possible.
All of these things are nothing more than the changes I feel I need to make in MY life. But who knows. Maybe you, too, have been looking for ways to better your health or leave a lighter footprint on the earth. Maybe some of the changes I've made will give you some ideas of changes you need to make.
Change is the theme of this new year. I am excited that God has put this desire in me, and I am also anxious to see what it is that He is actually preparing me for. What "change" does He have in store for my family? I really feel that these small changes in me are just building me up for the big change to come. Change. Change.