I’m only two weeks late in welcoming 2018 in my little cozy corner here. It’s not for lack of desire. It’s also not for lack of time. It’s merely because I’ve been waiting for words. And sometimes words are worth waiting for.
When Essex Cholmondley came to Ambleside to be taught by Charlotte Mason, as an educator, she described it like this:
On my arrival at Ambleside, I was interviewed by Miss Mason, who asked me for what purpose I had come. I replied: I have come to learn to teach. Then Miss Mason said: My dear, you have come here to learn to live.
This quote is stuck in my heart. I want to live life fully, live life well. [Cue all of the necessary Robin Williams memes from Dead Poet’s Society.] Not just in 2018, but throughout this momentary life and throughout eternity.
Charlotte Mason herself, in the introduction to Volume 4 of her six-volume series, talks about how we often hold Shakespeare and all of the “high-falutin'” (my words, not hers) authors in high regard but consider ourselves unfit for beautiful and lofty lives. (And we, therefore, live boring and unsatisfying lives because of low expectations and ideals for ourselves.) She responds to this by querying:
Are there any little men? Perhaps not. It may be that all the properties of the soul are present in everyone, developed or underdeveloped, in greater or lesser degree.
Thoughts of underdeveloped potential coursed through my heart as I looked at how last year went.
2017 was grueling and gory.
In December, as I looked ahead, I identified three or four areas that I just wanted less. Less of the “entanglements” that we are instructed to throw off, in our course to run faithfully and with endurance.
- The first was unhealthy habits (excess weight, excess fatigue, excessive sickness due to cortisol levels being elevated and immune systems therefore compromised.)
- The second was irresponsible habits (spontaneous purchases, materialism, covetousness), especially in light of our future service as missionaries and our transition into that calling on an international level.
- The third was unhealthy self-indulgence (wasted time, laziness.)
- The fourth was negativity in my response to my duties relating to parenting and home educating.
Less of them all, please Lord.
Now I’ve splayed the majority of my faults out here for your judgment, oh lovely readers, I feel a bit like a patient on an operating table with scrutinizing eyes on me. I acknowledge my sinfulness and poor habits. And I step forward, humbly, consistently, tremulously, and with great intention.
Michael’s been reading a book on habits and the spirituality of what we choose to love, based on our habits. It’s been on my to-read list for a year, and it’s been enjoyable to hear his thoughts on it before I read it. We’ve both declared our intentions/words for the year, and they are both words that propel us into action.
Michael’s word for the year is: Do. He has some big projects, some big asks, some big everythings set aside for this year, and he’s intent on accomplishing them.
My word for the year is: Less. Yes, I am aware I could have framed my word in the positive form: More health, more responsibility, more family harmony, etc. etc. etc. But, somehow stating it in the negative prompts conviction and contrition.
Because my focus for the year is a little different than the previous year, this corner of the internet will look a little bit different. You’ll see a lot of “less wasted time” here on Those Kinds of People: projects I’m finishing, books I’ve finally decided to knuckle down and read after years of staring longingly at them and then putting them aside. Habits that are more effective than what I’d been doing previously. You may even hear periodically about my fitness and nutrition goals and accomplishments. I realize that for the past few years, my blogging focus has been “being.” And this year represents a cognitive shift towards “doing” and “thinking.” This doesn’t necessarily mean a step backward, just a step to the side. I like to think of it like how monks of old didn’t spend all of their time praying and in Bible study, they rolled up their sleeves and worked a lot, too. This year is my “rolling up my sleeves,” so to speak.
So welcome, welcome 2018! I’m so glad you’re here for the next 340-odd days.
And welcome, to you, sweet friends and readers. I hope to spend more time with you over the coming weeks and months, as I step forward with greater intention and with LESS of me and more of Him.