Today is March 1, 2019. I started the year looking ahead to 2020 with an ambitious plan for discipline and self-improvement by the time that new year rolls around. I called it 20/20 Vision. My goals were fairly common, lose 25 pounds, read through the Bible, be nicer to my sister, stuff like that. I had all of the enthusiasm you can muster. I wrote out charts and graphs. I even bought a new set of colored markers for my Bible reading.
And then…well, then life happened, reality set in, gravity brought me back down to earth. Now, in my defense, I was really sick for a week, went to Israel for 10 days, had to build an ark in my backyard for the flood of 2019. All of that aside, I have just failed miserably so far this year at my industrious undertaking. I have gained 3 pounds. I went to the Holy Land and never opened my Bible, and my sister, well, she’s just hard to be nice to. So here I am, 60 days into 20/20 Vision, sitting like a couch potato in my office at home, wondering what happened.
This morning in my Bible reading, (9 days behind) I read Leviticus 23. By the way, nothing will get you off track from your goals like having to read through Leviticus. If I never read about another oozing sore or a crushed testicle it will be too soon. Anyway, in Leviticus 23, God lays out all of the feast days for the children of Israel. There is the Passover, the Feast of the First Harvest, count 50 days from that and the Feast of Weeks. On and on it goes, Trumpets, Shelters, Lightstands, it seems God had them feasting all of the time. I bet they weren’t successful at losing 25 pounds either. But what was that about, all of that feasting and remembering and planning ahead?
I’m thinking there are some lessons for us here as we try to get back in the swing of the disciplined life. First, we need to not go too long between celebrations. I don’t know if Israel had ADHD but I’m pretty sure I do. I can’t plan too far ahead, or make my goals too long ranging. There is something to be said for short-term goals, easier wins, a closer focus. We need to work some victory parties in from time to time to keep us on the right path.
Maybe all of life is like that. Maybe I need to not look way down the road and be more intentional about smelling the roses right here and now. My grandson’s basketball game is just as important as the 5-year projection report I’m working on for Branches. Taking the time to go shopping with Doris (ugh) means more to her than the well thought out retirement scenario I have put in place. I’m just saying that, while the long-range stuff really matters, I will lose my way if I don’t enjoy and celebrate the moments that God puts in front of me.
Which leads me to the second lesson, this is more about God than it is about me. The problem with my 20/20 Vision plan was that it focused on what I need to do, what I want to accomplish, what I thought was important. God says to Israel, “Have a bunch of feasts along the way to remind you that it ALL comes from me.” Every feast was a reminder of what God did, was doing and would do. It reminds me of our guide in Israel that described the feasts this way. He said every Jewish celebration begins with, “Our enemies tried to kill us. They are gone. We are still here. Let’s eat.” Not a bad outlook on life.
My goals are important. I want to be more disciplined. I want to make more of an impact. But you know what? Anything and everything I have ever accomplished had been in spite of the devil and because of the Lord. I haven’t managed to do too much in life but, my enemy is defeated. I’m still here. Let’s eat.
So, I’m getting back to my 20/20 self. I still am focused on being more disciplined, preparing myself to be used by God, making a statement for Him. But that is not the most important thing. The important thing is that I take notice of what He is doing in the moment, and I celebrate Him along the way. Let’s get started again. Read your Bible every day. Start a little exercise plan. Pray 12 minutes a a day. (I’ll teach you how next week.) But don’t forget to have a God party many times along the way. And, if you see my sister, be nice to her!
(Here’s my plan for week 1 of March. Read 5 chapters from the Bible each day. Start one book for March, I’ve chosen I Declare War by Levi Lusko. Walk or run 6 miles this week. Pray 12 minutes a day. Write down and track of all of my spending this month. And finish one small project I have lying around. I’ll see you next Friday.)