What is Your ‘It’?

I loved reading your comments on the last post about what you do after Christmas.  Those days between the end of one year and the beginning of another have somehow made it to my favorite.  I also want to thank those of you who had my book on your Christmas list.  Y’all are so fun and encouraging and precious and you have no idea what it means to me to know you gained anything from it whatsoever. 

So it’s Friday night and I cleaned the kitchen enough to assuage the guilt of sitting on the computer for a few minutes.  The kids went back to school on Tuesday so it’s been a full week of getting back to life as we know it.  I fought melancholy really hard when I realized it was time to put the holidays away but looking headlong in to a year that already holds so much life change and opportunity and promise has made it much easier.  

So we are back after it, but what is ‘it’ precisely?  For me, ‘it’ right now is preparing for challenging and thrilling Pastor’s Conference at First Baptist, Jacksonville, FL at the end of the month.  Some of you pastor’s wives ask from time to time if I have any ministry wife conferences planned and I’m just a little freaked out to tell you I’ll be teaching the women at this event while their pastor hubbies are sitting under the teaching of some of the finest preachers around.  If you are a ministry family and have not yet made plans to attend, check out the website .  I know the organizers of the conference have gone above and beyond to make certain that anyone who wants to attend is able regardless of finances so don’t let cash be your reason for opting out.  If you are attending, by all means please let me know.  I would so much love to meet you!  

As if that conference weren’t enough fun, I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to bonding with my church girls at our annual retreat.  We normally go to Pigeon Forge every year but we are dialing it back a notch this time and spending the weekend at Shocco Springs.  My soul needs a slowed pace and time to really connect with the girls I love best.  With that said, we are smack in the middle of planning right now.  If your church retreats at a center, what activities have your girls really enjoyed? 

Like most people do at the beginning of a New Year, I’ve been thinking.  And praying.  A lot.  For my hubby and how I can best uphold him in ministry.  About how to be a mom who grows along with my kids as more of them become teenagers and who comes up with new ways to teach and guide them.  About what practices and habits I now have that either need to be fine-tuned or perhaps thrown out altogether.  The Christian life should always be in a constant state of evaluation.  If we find that our spiritual glory days took place any longer ago than this morning then it is time for some tough self-examination.  There is no such thing as a past-participle faith.  

In asking the Lord to direct me into this coming year, the idea that overwhelms me is the necessity of preparing my mind for action.  In fact, that is my first memory verse for the Siesta Scripture Memory Team. (Anyone else loving their adorable spirals?  “Therefore, preparing your minds for action and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace to be given to you at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13.  Yay, I think I did it!  I’m also memorizing it in The Message but won’t embarrass myself because I don’t have it down yet.) 

(That was a rabbit.)

(You’re shocked.  I know.)

In thinking about the mind, I am convicted over how often my exhausted state leads me to seek out mind entertainment instead of mind enrichment.  Somewhere along the line we’ve been sold the idea that a numbed mind is a rested mind.  News flash:  Pondering whether Brad and Jen will reunite in 2011 or what Kate’s wedding dress will look like  still takes mental energy.  Playing Angry Birds or catching up on Facebook ‘Most Recent News’ still takes cognitive effort.  Unfortunately, that isn’t the kind of mind preparation Peter was talking about when he exhorted us to exercise our noggins.  So, this year I’m not necessarily making a formal resolution because the older I get the more the whole concept feels defeating.  What I am doing is making a concerted effort to focus my mind on things that are pure, trustworthy, honorable, true, and don’t frustrate me when I can’t blow them up. 

 The Birds and The Facebook. 

(I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook but that’s another post.)

So what does the focused mind look like?  I don’t altogether know yet because I’ve never had much of one but a couple things I’ll mention that are helping me.  The first is the concerted effort toward scripture memory I’ve already mentioned.  The other is listening to Chip Ingram’s series, “Good to Great In God’s Eyes”.  Love it.   Love him.  He’s so incredibly practical.  It’s one thing for someone to instruct us in generalities but give me something concrete to do and I’m all in.  I’ve only gotten to the first steps of ‘Read Great Books’.  I realize I read a lot but mostly commentaries, etc.  and those in snippets.  So, to remedy that I’ve begun The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and made a point to turn off all media at 9 p.m. and read until bedtime.  It’s a good change  from falling asleep to House Hunters International.  Anyone got any more must reads for me?

I’m looking at my clock now and realizing I just broke my media deadline.  I forgive myself.  I’m not going to ask your resolutions but I’d love to hear about the ‘its’ the Lord has brought to your attention or those you are looking forward to as you move forward into 2011. 

Hope you have a great weekend!