December is time for personal evaluation. January is for fresh implementation. I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions. I prefer regular evaluation and direction correction.

January started well with a renewed commitment to personal, spiritual journaling. I began training as scheduled on December 26 for my 19th 26.2-mile marathon and that continued. Though I’ve been reading Philippians for years, I decided to read one chapter in Proverbs a day. It’s that idea of reading the Proverbs that corresponds to the date of the month. Both books have wisdom I need.

I had committed to donors and those interested in the ministry I lead that I would be more consistent in communication. It’s been an ongoing challenge to do the tasks that need to be done and to communicate well.

Preparation was made for BENCHMARK’s Leadership Development Retreat and our 20th year to serve Brentwood United Methodist 6th graders and adult mentors with 12 staff members coming together for two days. Icy Nashville weather brought that opportunity and that streak to an end. It was preparation without execution.

On January 16th I left for my hometown in South Georgia to address family business for my mama. I pushed long days trying to get done all I could as quickly as I could. I woke on Sunday the 21st not feeling well and chose to rest. Monday I was back working hard. By Tuesday night I was not in good shape and heading back to Tennessee.

For over 2 weeks I cycled between the bed, the couch, the floor and the dining room table. Whatever I had developed into bronchitis.

I wrote: “I’ve been sick so long I watched the Fate of the Furious yesterday afternoon.” If you don’t know, it’s the 8th Fast and Furious movie. I now know why I haven’t watched the other seven. But I was sick, so cut me some slack. Please.

My 2+ weeks being down halted early January’s progress. You get it. Life happens.

What to do?

Start again!

As I could I focused on the urgent and important: reports for the National Forest Service and Mission Increase Foundation, donor receipting, accounting reconciliation and the 120+ pages of a general liability renewal application. I needed to figure out what I dropped so I could pick it back up.

As I could, I focused on the important and not urgent, running again…slowly, reading Proverbs, journaling, work and family relationships.

Lying on the couch for two weeks interrupted my decision to NOT to watch the national or local news early in the day. Life is better when I don’t. So…start again.

Reflecting on the Good News is a better start. Something like,
“Thank you Lord, I’m alive.”
“I choose to live today in Christ.”
“God help us.”

So what about you? Did January squeeze out your New Year’s resolution? Evaluate those previous decisions. Keep some. Throw out others. Adjust. Start again.

Maybe you watch TV or stare at your mobile device too much. I have. Do it less. That’s always a good call.

Is it a moral failure? Repent. Turn from it. Walk in grace. Live out the consequences. Start again…in a new direction.

Small incremental changes make a huge difference over time.

Start again doing what you know is good, healthy and life giving for yourself and others. Go back to the gym. Take that walk. Read a chapter in that book or The Book. Move toward the faithfulness of God. You’ll be more aware of your lack of faithfulness and His great faithfulness.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

At this point, I’m trying to focus on what’s important whether urgent or not urgent. I’m still trying to catch up doing what I needed to be doing and trying to be patient as I recover.

This morning, I start again.

How about you? What do you need to start again?

(Note: I am aware that others have been walking through longer illness, deep sadness and even death. Compared to others, my time down was short. While I need to be aware of others, I am responsible to live the life I’ve been given.)