I was recently inspired by The Happiness Project, a book written by Gretchen Rubin, though I realized what she did was not really what I was after.
Life is not about happiness. Making life about the pursuit of happiness is bound to leave you empty. I already knew the secret of happiness was to glorify and enjoy God. He created me, after all, and it only made sense that living for Him would bring me intense satisfaction and lasting joy. To settle for anything less would be… well, futile.
Besides, God is far more interested in my holiness than in my happiness. He doesn’t exist for me, to bring me pleasure. I exist for Him and His glory. But I was intrigued by the way Gretchen chose to live intentionally by setting specific goals and focusing on one topic per month.
Last year I read about Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues that he sought to live by in order to develop his character. He chose 13 because he could focus on one virtue per week and repeat the cycle four times throughout the year.
At about the same time I had been reading Jerry Bridge’s The Practice of Godliness. This got me thinking about the fruits of the Spirit and how I could use Benjamin Franklin’s idea to put godly character traits into practice.
F. B. Meyer wisely states, “Remember that you can carry nothing out of this world except your character.” Did you know you can train yourself to be godly? In fact, we are commanded to train ourselves to become godly.
1 Timothy 4:7-8 says, “Train yourself toward godliness (piety), [keeping yourself spiritually fit]. For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way…” (AMP).
So combining Gretchen Rubin’s year-long project with Benjamin Franklin’s system of developing his character, I’ve come up with my own project. Thus, I have chosen INTENTIONAL as my word for 2016.
I want to be intentional in seeking God. I want to intentionally deepen my relationship with my husband. I want to be intentional in taking care of this body God has entrusted to me, fulfilling my household responsibilities, and treating others the way Christ would.
These things I’ve laid out above don’t just happen on accident. It requires dependence on the Holy Spirit (first and foremost), forethought, discipline, and action. Here’s a sneak peak into my goals for the month of January.
January’s Focus = KINDNESS
My overarching goal for January is to become a kinder person [to cherish and be devoted to others with tender, brotherly affection and fondness] by doing at least one act of kindness every day throughout the month. I will use a calendar to keep track of my daily progress.
- Faith- Study Biblical kindness, Memorize and meditate upon 3 verses about kindness per week, Pray every day that God would make me a kind person and give me opportunities to show kindness.
- Marriage– Seek out opportunities to serve John, Withhold all unkind words.
- Health- Show kindness to my body by getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night and reading 30 minutes a day.
- Homemaking- Practice hospitality by inviting somebody over once a week, Make meals for needy families.
- Interactions– Seek out opportunities to bless others like making encouraging cards for the needy, talking to somebody who seems lonely, and babysitting for free.
What are your goals for 2016? I’d love to hear about them!