A New Year: What’s Essential?

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Several years ago, I decided that my theme for the year was going to be summed up in this word: “Less”.  I wanted to have less busyness, fewer activities, more open space on the calendar.  I planned to spend less, accumulate less, and generally pare down my life.  I loved that mindset.

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Looking toward 2017, I had a similar feeling.  I want to make time to play dolls with Sienna without interruption.  I want less planned activities so there’s more space for the little moments with Dennis and the kids that are truly fulfilling and meaningful.  I want to read more and take the kids to the park to kick the soccer ball or throw the football regularly. Also, spending less is a major goal this next year.

Another year of “Less”?  That word didn’t feel quite right this time around.

One of my goals in 2017 is to read through the entire Bible, again.  This time by following the Lutheran Hour Ministries’ daily devotional outline.  I also want to focus time and energy on our church family and start serving in new ways.

Praying for help coming up with a fitting word, while at my Stephen Ministry training on Monday night, it finally came to me… “Essential”.  That’s it!  I want this year to be trimmed down to only what is essential.  By focusing on what truly matters, I can best listen for God’s promptings to love the people around me.  Faith and family are obviously at the top of my essential list.  Also, good diabetes management through healthy food and exercise are essential for me.  Reading the Word of God and conserving our resources to mostly just needs rather than wants also embrace the spirit of focusing on the essential.

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In our modern age, we are inundated with information, demands on our time and energy, and messages of how our lives ought to look.  By prayerfully asking, “Is this (fill in the blank) something that’s essential to my life?” I hope God will provide me with clarity of purpose and intention.

My prayer is that I can look back on 2017 and see a life that’s pared down to the essential so that I could joyfully love and serve my family, friends, and neighbors.