Count before you build

It’s January 2 and I already feel like I am late to the game when it comes to writing about the new year.  In my defense in the past 2 days I have traveled 17 hours in a mini van (again) and battled a ferocious chest cold.  I spent my new years eve in a mini van and I think that technically I was in a gas station bathroom at midnight.  Needless to say there was no romantic smooching or champagne, because it was a gas station bathroom, is there anywhere nastier?

And so we have all welcomed in 2012 into our homes and hearts with all its hope and potential.  As I have perused the Facebook and twitter posts of the past few days I am not surprised to see that many of them have this central theme:

“2011 was not great, surely 2012 will be awesome!  I am going to accomplish Big goal A, difficult thing B and lose C lbs this year!”  

Ready for some sad news?  Only 8% of resolutions made at New Years come to fruition, 92% of them will have failed by January 20.  Hundreds of experts will give you thousands of reasons why all the hopes and dreams of January 1 are heaps of rubble in 19 days or less.  I chalk it up to sacrifice and source, most people aren’t using God as the source of their goals and they aren’t willing to make sacrifices in their day to day lives to achieve what they claim to want.

Yesterday I took time to write the following quote on our dining room chalk board:

I feel like I have been floundering lately and not been making the healthiest choices for myself or my family, I want to use the mindset of “do it anyway” to push myself out of bed to workout, to shut the computer and take quiet time with God to center myself, and to turn off the TV and engage with my kids more than I do.  I want to do the harder, better thing instead of the easy thing.  This is a great mindset and totally supported by scripture, so long as your goals line up with the priorities God is placing on your life.  The problem is that I typically take on too much, get distracted too easy and then find myself feeling guilty and frustrated with my inevitable failure.

It happened already this morning, little man got me up at 5:00 am and then his big sister followed shortly thereafter.  I changed diapers, made coffee, played with toys and started my to-do list all while my husband caught up on some needed sleep.  By 9 am I was 4 hours in and completely off-track, frazzled and frustrated.  What went wrong?  I exchanged some snide words with Kel about goals and organization as he headed into the shower.  When he was done showering he walked right up to our chalkboard, erased it and wrote this instead.

“Be Realistic in 2012.  Luke 14 : 28-30 Count the cost before you build…”

Luke 14: 28 – 30  “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?  For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

You see I am a limited resource, I only have so much of myself to give, so do you.  I often get bogged down in the less important and trivial and don’t have any of myself left to give the big important things I was created for.  Kel told me I have the tendency to make plans and lay foundations for three or more towers and finish none of them, because I only had enough resources for one.  I can assure you that I am not alone in this, you may be laying too many foundations as well.  I know that God is calling you to count the cost before you continue building, where does he really need your resources?

This has really impacted me today, and I hope desperately to use this line of thinking to achieve great things in 2012.   So many of my friends have been focusing on how bad last year was and hoping for much better in the new year.  If you chose to look for the nasty stuff every new years eve you’ll find it, and if you only seek out how you failed you’ll find failures abound.  All we can really, earnestly pray over 2012 is this:

Dear God, I have this who new year laid out in front of me, a gift from you to be sure.  Help me to use my time wisely and give me eyes to see where I am most needed in this world.  Teach me to say no to the “more” and yes to the “valuable”.  Lead me forward on all fronts, step by step, and give me a fuller measure of contentment, so that when the ball drops on 2013 I can have peace that even though I failed sometimes, I followed your lead as best I could.

– What foundations are you laying with your resolutions? Do you have enough of yourself to do it all well?

– Does your “To-do” list match what you claim your priorities are?

  • Sarah Van Ryn

    So glad to read your thoughts! I feel like we are in similiar places in our lives now and I’m glad you are brave enough to post your thoughts here. Thanks Leanne! Island (Sarah Terpstra-RBC)

    • leannepenny

      Thanks! It’s great to hear from you on here! Baby land is a challenge I know! Your two little men are adorable. We will make it thru :)

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