For a few years, I ‘ve noticed people have started adopting a “word of the year” instead of making hard-core pinky-swearing New Year’s resolutions. The word serves as a motivational goal or definition of what they hope their year will be. “Kindness” and “peace” are easier to think about than a pointed, “lose ten pounds” or “clean out the barn.”
When I remembered my blown resolutions from the past few years, I decided to join the crowd and have claimed a word for my own for 2019. But first, I want to go back and finish what I started last year.
My failed resolution for 2018 was that I planned to read the entire Bible. On the advice of righteous friends, I bought a chronological edition so I could follow along with clearly labeled daily readings. Since I’m talking about the Bible, I feel I have to be honest, so let me just tell you, Leviticus kicked my tail. It was a total drag, complicated and a little preachy. It slowed me down and eventually, life became complicated, so I stopped reading the Bible — or did I stop reading the Bible and then life became complicated? Oh dear, I’ve become the bad warning part of a sermon.
In order to redeem myself, this year, I resolve to pick up where I left off and complete my one-year reading in two years, even going back to re-do dreaded Leviticus, this time with gusto.
To add a new twist, my word-of-the-year is, “action.” While most of us are curious by nature, we tend to stop at the “I wonder” stage and never take action, possibly missing out on great things.
I’m not talking about juvenile actions like seeing how many unshelled peanuts you can fit in your mouth, or like the time my son wondered if a BB gun would shoot through his shoe. He took action to discover the answer (first repeating the redneck motto of “hey, watch this!”), and when he woke up from surgery, was all the more enlightened.
Adults are curious about things like, “I wonder if the old man down the road has any friends,” but rarely do we take action to invite him over to dinner. We say, “I’ve always wanted to learn to paint” but don’t take action to sign up for lessons. Our wishes and dreams shouldn’t remain wishes and dreams. We make excuses for living like Nike and just doing it.
We’ve become a society of travel that never happened, musical instruments never mastered, languages never spoken, collections never started, books left unread (Leviticus — guilty), letters never written, and sports never played.
It wasn’t but just a generation or so ago that Southerners didn’t have many opportunities to explore and learn new things. Limited incomes and rural settings had us watching South Pacific, reading The Farmer’s Almanac or joining the Navy to fulfill our curious nature. Actions and adventure were limited in our small communities.
Now, it’s as easy for us to catch a plane or take a community college course as anyone else. The opportunities are there for us to grab. Even if an obstacle like Leviticus stands in our way, we have the motivation and promise of the Psalms on the other side. In 2019, may our curiosities be endless, and our actions be bold.
This story first appeared on AL.com and in the Mobile Press-Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times.
Get a copy of The Message Bible by Eugene Peterson. It is written in contemporary language! Use it for Leviticus and some of the other draggy books and switch back to your regular Bible for the beautiful old language of Psalms. It helped me get through my Bible reading the first year and now I read through every year! Good luck! It will be worth it when you get to that last page of Revelation!
Thanks for the tip. there are so many versions, it gets confusing, but I’ll look into the Message.
Amen, and God bless you and yours in this New Year!
And to you as well, Sharon!
I have the easiest solution ever! Go to Bible-reading.com, and touch “Daila Bible-reading plan”. I knew I would never make through Leviticus and Numbers, and this one-year reading plan mixes readings up so that you don’t have to spend weeks in the “woods”! It’s a one-year reading plan.
It’s easier than ever to explore the Bible, so now, I have no excuse whatsoever! Thank you so much!
One thing I love about January is that I always find such motivational blog posts. And this year it’s like God has directed me to ones that seem to have been reading my mail. I feel inspired to make this year one of the best ever, in my own small way–just as long as I can tackle my own Leviticus in life!
You’re so right, Leslie Anne, we do have so many opportunities now to learn and grow and experience. My mother was 14 when her father died back in the 1930s. She dropped out of school and went to work at her aunt and uncle’s cafe to help support her 7 younger brothers and sisters. She may not ever have gone to college but she is one of the most accomplished self-educated women I’ve ever known. And to think that she didn’t have half the advantages we do today. Excellent thoughts here, Leslie Anne!
What an incredible mother you’ve had! I hope you’ve written down the details of her life. Such an inspiration to work and be devoted to family. Self education is often the finest of educations, so you’ve been raised by the best. Thank you for your thoughts Dewena, and a very happy and adventurous new year to you!
Good Day Ms. Leslie!
As I read your blog this mng. again, as I read it yesterday in the paper, the tears are flowing.
All I can say is “Thank You”, as you
have inspired me, and I thank you!
Oh, many thanks to you! I love hearing from happy readers – even through happy tears!
Ms. Leslie, it is me again!
Having twelve years of Perocial Education, we never ventured into the Bible. Knew it eas there, and knew there were different versions if it. As I mutter my rosary starting my mornings repeating the same prayers, it is The Lord’s Prayer that does it for me! “THY” will be done, lead us not into temptation, (of all kinds), deliver us from evil, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive ours! It says it all, in one little prayer!
Again, I thank you for your thoughts, and for being there, to remind us, what a wonderful world we are a part of, behave, be kind, do it!
It is a wonderful world, isn’t it? Thanks for reading, Arlene!
What a great start to the year, thank you! I appreciate your readers’ recommendations on alternate Bibles too. Have made that promise to myself many times and never kept it. When my late Mom was in her seventies she resolved to read the whole Bible over a summer and did! My sister and I wondered if she was doing “Homework”! Thankfully for us, she lived another 15 years.
Any sentence that begins with “hey y’all, watch this” or hey y’all, hold my beer”…it never ends well!
I assume we are on opposite teams tonight for the Natty! I’d be rooting for Alabama if anybody but Clemson was playing!!
Actually, if you keep it a big secret, I’ll be cheering for your team. Here, hold my beer while I get the remote.
I think I could have written this post Leslie Anne. Rings true to my ears. Guilty here too of failed resolutions. I also had read the entire Bible, that was many moons ago 🙁 I need to borrow your word and put it to good use around here. I made no resolution for 2019 but I will put the word “action” to good use here. Happy New Year to you and yours…………
Excellent Emily! You are so good about hitting the road and taking off on adventures. I hope there’s more of that for you in 2019!