Focus 2014

I first started this blog article with the intent to write about resolutions. But, after a couple hundred words, I changed my mind. I hear that’s a woman’s prerogative.

Then I thought I would write on my most memorable New Year’s Eve celebration. That lasted all of about a minute. It didn’t take long to realize I didn’t have one — unless you count the ones when my mom or dad or other family member ended up going to the emergency room for sudden health problems. Why that always seemed to happen on New Year’s Eve is beyond me. Other than those events, I really don’t have a memorable New Year to tell you about because I’m not usually awake to welcome the New Year in — not even the year 2000! Given the opportunity to “party hearty” or sleep, I’ll choose sleep every time. I jokingly tell people that I’m not responsible for anything I say or do after 9:00 p.m. It seems that’s the magic hour that my brain begins to shut down. Usually I will intentionally fall asleep, asking someone to wake me up a couple of minutes before midnight. I’ll say “Happy New Year” and give a quick, although unenthusiastic, “Whoo-hoo!” then promptly fall back to sleep.

Next I thought I would tell you about our Christmas Day we just experienced. But, I figure your chaos and mine would probably be too similar to hold your interest very long. I mean, who of you didn’t also endure a very noisy remote control monster truck running you over, a 3-year-old banging on drums, and a 6-year singing to her heart’s content in the microphone that came with a new keyboard she doesn’t yet know how to play?

So, I had a talk with myself, “Cheryl, what do you REALLY want to write about? Forget what people expect to hear. Forget about the requests some have made. In the quiet of this hour, what is it that’s weighing heaviest on your heart?”

And you know what? I don’t know! I think my five senses are still on overload from the past month of flurried activity.

But, as I think on it, I realize that in the midst of all the activity of the past month, I also purposely began thinking on the Year 2014 and began jotting down notes of changes I wanted to make in my life. Taking time for reflection is a good thing. It’s good for us to pause and take a long, hard look at our lives. To stop and ponder the things in our life that make us comfortable as well as the things that make us squirm just a bit. Areas in our life we want to improve or do better. Perhaps things we want to accomplish before we die.

So, here I am back where I began — resolutions. Our New Year resolutions tell a lot about us. I’m not usually one prone to make resolutions — especially verbal or written ones. I think I have an adverse reaction to the word itself. Almost as if it were poisonous or maybe a synonym for failure. To be resolute in something is to be so determined that nothing will keep you from accomplishing whatever it is you’ve resolved to do. To be resolute in something is to be committed to it.

In thinking all this through, I realized that, for a long, long time, I have been too afraid of failure to formally declare a New Year “resolution.” Instead, I have been calling them “goals.” But in reality, they’re a whole lot like resolutions. It’s just a gentler word for basically the same thing. But why be so afraid of failure? Why not be like the inventor who never gave up? He never looked at all his failures as “failures.” He looked at them as multiple ways of how NOT to do something. Each failure brought about a lesson learned. And you know me — I’m all about lessons learned.

So, this year, although I have multiple goals I’ve shared with an accountability partner, I am making a written resolution. An over-all resolution for the year 2014. A single word to summarize all my goals — FOCUS. As in “Focus on Christ, not my circumstances.”

My personal prayer this year is the hymn, “Open My Eyes That I May See,” by Clara H. Scott (alternate, updated words by Jeff Redd).

Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth You have for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unlock and set me free.
Silently now I wait for You,
Ready, my God, Your will to do;
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!

Open my ears, that I may hear
Voices of truth so sharp and clear;
And while the message sounds in my ear,
Everything else will disappear.
Silently now I wait for You,
Ready, my God, Your will to do;
Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine!

Open my mouth, let me declare
Words of assurance everywhere;
Open my heart, and let me prepare
Your loving kindnesses to share.
Silently now I wait for You,
Ready, my God, Your will to do;
Open my heart, illumine me, Spirit divine!


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