January 1, 2016

Live The List

I cut my toenails the other day. I don’t do it as often as I should, I guess. At least that’s what my wife tells me. I cut them out of necessity. When they start to bug me, I cut them. It creeps my wife and daughter out sometimes. But, they are my toenails, not theirs. Leave me alone.

Now, I know what you might be thinking. “Why does he wait?” (Maybe you aren’t. I’m hoping my story so far has you intrigued and will help you to continue reading!) The main reason is that I don’t like to bend over. I’ve been “husky” my whole life. Having to bend over to clip my toenails isn’t very enjoyable. I know. It’s sad. It’s my life. Let me live it!

As I thought about this the other day, I thought of the Guinness Book of World Records, specifically the lady who has the world’s longest fingernails. Seriously, someone has endured not cutting her finger nails and dealing with the inconvenience of it for a record. I’m sure there’s probably someone with world record toenails–I was afraid to google that one. It amazes me the things people will endure to be the best at something.

It is the same way in other things, I guess. Athletes give hours upon hours each day to be the best. I watched a PBS thing on piano players a month or two ago. As they interviewed the pianists, they all shared that they practiced at least 4 to 6 hours a day, if not more.

It makes me realize some things. One, I’m not a world record holder. Not in anything. Not, even in being lazy. I’m not committed to giving anything 4 to 6 hours a day. I guess I could give something that much time, but what else in my life would suffer from it?

Two, I should track my time. As I sit here ant think about that 4 to 6 hour commitment or wonder if I would/could ever give anything the 10,000 hours needed to become a master at it. Tracking my time would probably reveal that I am a master at wasting seconds, minutes, and hours.

Three, I am mediocre at pretty much everything. Sure, I’m good at some things, but I don’t feel I’m “great” at them. I certainly don’t push myself on any one thing. I do what I need to get by. Unfortunately, I’ve been ok with it. This is extremely scary, especially when I read Revelation 4:14-22. Hot nor cold.

Good thing it is January 1st, right? With a new year, it is time for a new me. It is time for some change. I don’t want to be a world record holder, especially of toenails. However, I do want to have discipline in my life. I want to do more than just waste time and get by.

With that being said, here are some of the things I plan to do this year. (I’m throwing them out right here in this place so that others can see. Maybe someone will also about them. I promise to answer truthfully.)

One: PBJ Every Day
PBJ is my creation. Prayer. Bible. Journal. It is what I call my devotion time. The challenge for me is doing this every day. I do well some days, but not others. Specifically, I’m going to:

Read through the Bible again this year. If there is one thing I have been decent at, its been reading through the Bible every year. At one point I was a month and a half behind-but it was important to me so I caught up. I’ll be following this plan on YouVersion this year.

I’m going to pray more. I have a prayer list that is built into my calendar. The problem is, I don’t use it as much as I should. The daily thing has to be a constant this year.

Journaling will be a part of my praying. I’ll continue to do what I do, only I’ll do it more consistently.

Two: Fasting Two Days A Month
I’ve never been good at fasting. It is a spiritual discipline that my friends have enjoyed and found much worth in. Plus, we see fasting all throughout the Bible as a way to engage with God more than normal. I am going to shoot for 2 days a month. I have a feeling this will go up. but I knew if I put down once a week I would fail.

Three: Read 26 Books
I always have the desire to read more, but never make time for it. I had to read in college and seminary, but have really gotten out of practice. So, I’m going to read a book every two weeks. I certainly have a backlog of books I’ve purchased and gotten for free (gotta love publishers putting out free ebooks from time to time)

Four: Lose 50 Pounds
Yes. This just got real. When I started my ministry at South Lansing Christian Church, I weighed around 250 pounds. I don’t weigh that anymore. The internet BMI says I should weigh 150 to 200 pounds at my height. That is laughable. I think I weighed 150 pounds in 5th grade. That is not attainable. I do believe that 250 or 260 is, though.

To do this, I need to slow my eating and accelerate my moving. Probably should quit drinking so much diet coke and drink more water, also. And, no fourth meal.

Losing 5 pounds a month would put me under my goal by this time next year. That doesn’t sound too bad.

Five: Plan and Track My Time
I read a lot on productivity. Funny thing, reading hasn’t translated into action. What I’ve learned is that there are many, many ways to be productive. The amount of tools, apps, books, methods, and what not is mind boggling. None of it matters if you don’t use it.

This year I’ll be planning my week with specific times for what I’m going to do. I used to just keep a list. It worked ok, but not as well as I want it to.

Most important, once I set aside time for things, I need to use that time to do what I said I would. Pray that I have the discipline to do this. I’ll be using Sunrise Calendar and Toggl to do this. When I’ve been disciplined, I’ve actually been productive. Discipline is the key.

Looking at the list above, it doesn’t seem too bad. I believe I can do it. I am going to do it. What about you? What are your aspirations for the new year? I would guess that while you don’t aspire for the world’s longest toenails, there are things you want to be better at in your life. Take some time to reflect and pray today. Use whatever medium works for you (paper, pen, phone, computer, stone & chisel) and make a list.

Once you make the list, you need to live the list. I’m going to live mine. If you want accountability, send me your list. We can create an email group or something to encourage one another. Come on…lets go!