Project New Year
The year is almost over. Hard to believe that the human race has made it to the threshold of 2006. Soon, people will be mulling over prospects for New Year's resolutions. Deciding whether or not to commit to lose weight, stop smoking, go back to school, or have a baby. Some will resolve to go in a new direction, while others will undertake a new project.
I know a guy who gets excited about new projects. He's like me in that way. But one thing is very different between the two of us: When he wants to add something to his schedule, his wife asks him, "So what are you going to be replacing?" That's right, if he wants to put something IN, he's gotta take something OUT.
I like that. Imagine how our lives would look if we did that. We'd never be excessively busy again. And only that which was most important would make the cut.
I was thinking about that the other day when I realized that, after ten years and three months of teaching through the New Testament on Sunday mornings, I am going to be finished just before New Year's. Of course, come January 1st, the journey will start again. The NEW project will simply be the OLD project starting over again. That'll be a pleasure, and will always be a top priority for me.
But other, less necessary projects have taken priority and made my life overly busy. Stressfully busy. Needlessly busy.
Fortunately, it worked out that - in the identical time frame - I will be finishing my year-long "History and Future of the World" study.
If ever there was a perfect time to change my schedule, this was it. And so I did. "New year, new schedule" I concluded.
I have come to the realization that I don't want to be so busy with non-essentials that I live from deadline to deadline. I want to be able to lead worship more. I want to be able to finish my wife's bathroom remodel. I want to have the freedom to have lunch with people in the church without thinking, "this is costing me an hour I can't afford." I want to feel free to get new vision without being afraid of the time a new vision will consume.
Wanting to be a better pastor and a better person is, unfortunately, going to mean teaching a little less. But it is time. New year, new schedule, a new leaf turned over. (I've never understood what "turning over a new leaf" means. But it seemed to work quite poetically there.)
So, I am moving my Old Testament study to Sunday nights. No longer will I be held captive to a Thursday deadline, telling me I'm woefully behind as soon as each Tuesday starts my week. Many of the countless hours previously spent researching facts for "History & Future" will soon be devoted to New and Old Testament Bible Study, as well as prayer, marvelous prayer... listening for God's heart to share it with God's people.
The extra few flexible hours I gain each week will be devoted to priorities formerly neglected: things like relationships, ministry, music, and vision.
I can hardly wait for 2006 to arrive. And if my friend's wife asks me, "So, what are you going to be replacing?" I know how I'll respond: "Just enough... And even a little more."