Here are some things I learned in January to NOT do:
1. Don't take a vacation week between Christmas and New Year's. It just makes the rest of the month too tough on me to catch up.
2. Don't schedule family pics in January. It's too cold for outdoor pics and the twins (and some of the adults) are likely to have runny noses and swollen eyes.
3. I've been doing my "Holiday Letter" for over 11 years. (It's called Holiday Letter because I might get it to you in time for Christmas ... or it might be New Year's before I mail them out.) This year, I didn't do the letter at all and I really missed doing it. I thought it would be one less thing to worry about but I learned I love the tradition of doing them. So, for next year, don't NOT do a Holiday Letter.
Some January "to-do's":
4. Brain Dumps: I found it is useful to create a Brain Dump list, writing down every task that comes to mind. Then each day, when making out my to-do list, I consult the Brain Dump and see if there is anything there that could be done that day. Brain Dumps help because I don't have to carry around so many details on my mind. Once put on the Brain Dump list, I can forget about it.
5. I participated in scripture writing following the schedule found at www.swtblessings.com. I really enjoyed doing this exercise and found it helped to put more scripture in my "think tank" to meditate upon.
Some thoughts that occurred to me while writing out these scriptures:
Romans 12:1-8 - 'Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches in his teaching; the one who exhorts in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads , with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness" - it does no good to have gifts if you don't use them. Notice, too, that almost everything that needs to be done in the church can fall under these items. I especially love the part that says "the one who leads, with zeal." Too often, leadership is looked at as a burden but leaders should be passionate about leading those the Lord has brought their way.
Romans 12:9-16 "Outdo one another in showing honor." This is food for thought .. how can I edify others more?
Psalm 37:1-6 ... "dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness." Psalm 37 has long been a favorite of mine - especially verse 4, but I never noticed the last part of v. 3 before in the ESV: befriend faithfulness. Maybe it is just resonating with me because working with the church I hear so much, "I'm going somewhere else because they don't have such and such a program," or "I'm not getting fed." How about staying where you are and pitching in and helping make successful those programs and teachings you say you need? The King James version of this same passage says to feed on His faithfulness. If you are ingesting His faithfulness, you are bound to become more faithful yourself ....
In the passage of scripture marked Psalm 37:7-11, I found two phrases that spoke to me: ".,. those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land." What? Wait? And also, "... the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace." I can sure use more peace; so now I'm even more motivated to work on a gentle humble spirit.
As I wrote in my post about the recent flood waters, I've learned that if the Holy Spirit prompts you, you can actually rebuke natural elements and stand on His promises. The awesome thing is, even if God decides you need to walk through disasters, He applies Romans 8:28 and makes good come out of even tragedy.
What about you? How did January treat you?
Want to read more of what bloggers learned in January? You can visit Emily's blog to read other posts or link up your own post about what you learned this past month..