In January, I called out 2017 and challenged it to be on its toes. I’d keep an eye on it, hold it accountable, and make sure it squeezed out every last ounce of blood-sweat-and-tears it had in productivity.
It seems 2017 had a good laugh at me.
Every year, I do the Word-For-The-Year resolution, and every year I assess how I held to it.
Note the confused frog above.
Discipline. That was the word I chose for 2017. I told myself I would be more disciplined in my faith, in time with my family, in my writing, and in my responsibilities.
I’m not really sure where 2017 went let alone what happened to my discipline.
But, let’s assess, shall we? Oh man, this might be ugly.
Discipline in my Faith:
To say that my faith was challenged and stretched this year would be an understatement. But, 2017 can’t claim responsibility there. It has been an on-going process for some time. But, politics and natural disasters and personal journeys and…politics…my understanding of Scripture and the nature of God has grown. My awareness of my fellow man has taken on a new dynamic. I’ve always been big on the intrinsic value given to all by God, but it doesn’t stop there. I cannot simply say that I value someone, I need to make more of an effort to ensure they feel valued. Not everyone does (feel valued or value others). A new challenge for the new year?
Discipline in my Family:
I think I dropped the ball on this one. I’ve felt myself tense a lot this year, short-tempered, and not all that valuing of others. I know most parents will say the same. Most married couples, too. The thing is, we can all do better. I can do better. I need to do better. My family deserves better. Not just with my time, but with being more present. With the ensuring they feel valued – there’s that new challenge again. Hmm…
Discipline in my Writing:
This was a yay and a gah year for me when it comes to writing.
- Yay – I published two books – both short stories, but hey, it’s something.
- Yay – I started a series of books that will stem from one of my short stories I published above. I’m pretty excited about it.
- Gah – I did not finish NaNoWriMo this year. It was the first year I participated. Not a good beginning.
- Gah – I didn’t finish anything else I set out to do with my writing this year. Nothing.
I have made some changes that should impact my writing time and efforts positively going forward. Let’s see where 2018 takes me.
Discipline in my Responsibilities:
This went in some unexpected, but definitely needed, avenues this year. With a heavy heart, I held my last English for Speakers of foreign Languages (ESL) class this month. I had done this for years, and a part of me died. Not as much as the teachers who helped me, because they had done it for a lot longer. All agreed, though, it was time. Attendance had been nearly non-existent for some time. Former students had moved on to better things. I do know that some of the teachers will continue to make themselves available for anyone who needs help, though.
I’ve also stepped away from a leadership position in a ministry I started at my job. Others have taken up the mantle, though, and I think good things will come of it. It was my time to step down. Sometimes, leaders need to understand that. We’ll see where God takes me from here, though.
There have been highs and lows this year. My discipline was not where it should have been. My focus suffered a lot, and so many other things suffered as a result.
What have I learned from all of this, though?
I can’t drop my guard. It’s not about me alone. It’s never about any of us alone. We each have spheres of influence in our lives. Everything we do, or don’t do, affects others. If I say that I’m going to do something, I need to do it. I can’t slack. And I’ve learned that I slack a lot. Without even realizing it. Sure, I can probably reach in and grab hold of a million or more excuses, but that doesn’t change anything.
I’ve also learned that, as always, I am thankful for Grace. I mess up. I fail. I get turned around and twisted in such a way that I can’t tell left from right or up from down. But, God is always there to set me straight. He’s always there to point me in the way I should go, and walk with me as I go. I let go of his hand many times, but he never leaves my side. In the midst of my mess, He still loves me and still teaches me how to love.
I’m still learning.
How about you? As you look back on 2017, what do you think of? There are so many big-picture-world things to consider. Things that we’ve ignored for far too long, and we’ll discuss them on this blog this coming year, I’m sure, but I’m talking about you on a personal level. Maybe one of the big-picture-world things affected you and you’re still trying to process. Maybe something else, a little less world, has affected you. Or, maybe, just maybe, this has been a pretty fantastic year for you. I’d love to hear about it.
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