Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday--Finishing Well

"So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air."

This statement, "beating the air" always makes me chuckle. It's a funny mental image.
But I totally get the idea. It's from 1 Corinthians 9, in a passage comparing the one living the christian life to a runner in a race.
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it."

The competitors need to have a goal in mind, the prize, in order to do all that's necessary to win, i.e. the long hours of training and running with all they have.
Neither the training nor the running is particularly easy or pleasant. It is a struggle to do both. But winning the prize--that is the ultimate. If that is kept in mind as the goal, it will make the training and running the race worth the effort.

I suppose this is why Paul said to keep your mind on things above, not on things below. (Colossians 3:2) Our goal, as believers, should be eternity. So we should have our minds set on eternal things.

Whenever I am reminded to think on eternal things, I find that my perspective broadens, my mood lifts. The small problems, small irritations fade almost to nothing. Bigger problems shrink and I can see past them to the other side. And Christ is on the other side, as well as on this one.

If we listen we can hear Him urging us on to the finish. We can hear the prayers of the saints and the writers of the Bible shouting their encouragement to run the race and finish well.

And what is finishing well? (according to our eternal, omniscient God)

 Like in the 'Parable of the Talents' (Matthew 25:14-30) we are each given our 'talent', i.e. things to accomplish, work to do, responsibilities, and if we are faithful to God and faithful to His calling on our life, we will have finished well.

What if we don't know what His calling on our life might be? Well, I think a lot of what He expects from us is already written down in His word, both the New and Old Testaments. How we carry those things out in our own individual situations is the tricky part. That's when the Holy Spirit does His work. God says in several places in the Old and New Testaments that He will guide us.

So we study His word, seek His guidance and make the wisest choices and decisions that we can, no matter how hard. If we fail, we repent, ask for forgiveness, and get back on track.

God's will is not a mystery. The larger portion has been revealed. The rest we don't need to know yet or ever.

A little bit of a soapbox moment there...ahem.

So where am I going with this? Somewhat of a different direction...I was going to talk about some things I would like to accomplish before 2011 is over. Now, for a disclaimer, these are not my spiritual goals. These are here and now things to accomplish. My spiritual goals will not change. I will always be striving to be more like Jesus, to be closer to God and love Him more, to gain a deeper understanding of the Word of God, and to love my fellow man better.
No, these are just earthly goals, in no particular order.

1. Take a music theory class

Being a piano teacher, I feel like a refresher would be helpful as my students get more advanced.

What have I done towards this goal?

I have contacted the local tech college and asked about auditing the class. I don't need the credit. All I need to do is set aside the money and sign up.

2. Begin to sell some of my handiwork

As you can see from my previous post, I have already started doing this. It is really exciting to see so quickly that people are interested.

What have I done towards this goal?

I continue to knit as fast as I can and I'm setting aside the profits from the sales and will use that to buy more supplies. I will be updating how things are going. I plan to approach a local natural, organic baby items shop in West Asheville about maybe consigning my products in addition to having them at the Farmers Market. I need to get up a good supply first.

3. Get my drivers license

It's about time. That's all I have to say about that.

What have I done towards this goal?

My parents and I have researched the options and decided on our game-plan. I am biting the bullet and will make the payments to add me to their policy starting in June. That's also when my learners permit expires. In the meantime, I have been driving a lot more than I used to and it is getting better. Everyone who has ridden with me says I drive well, it just doesn't feel that way sometimes.

4. Continue to improve my jogging/overall health

Mom and I have been doing a running program since last fall. With the winter weather, we lost some of the progress we had worked so hard for. 

What have I done towards this goal?

Gotten back to where we were before winter made us stop jogging. 30 minutes a day, Monday through Saturday. I need to find a good pedometer and once I do, I'll work on going faster/farther.

5. Learn Chopin's Nocturne in E Minor

This piece is the last one I learned back when I took lessons. But I never completed it. Now I have mostly forgotten it.
I remember it being very therapeutic when I was going through I pretty difficult time in my life.

What have I done towards this goal?

Well, another goal which takes precedence over this one is learning all the choir music in the next two weeks. So I haven't done anything towards the Chopin piece goal yet.
So, after the choir concert, it will be a pleasure to work on this one all summer long.

6. Take a cooking or baking class

For the past year I have wanted to take the bread baking class (because I love to bake) or the soup class (because I don't love to cook) at the local tech college. It is rather pricey and it wasn't a priority, so it hasn't happened yet. So, hopefully this fall I'll have the funds available to take one of the other. Or maybe a totally different one.

What have I done towards this goal?

Gawked at the prices of the courses.

7. Memorize Catechism/Gain a better understanding of Theology

The church I attend believes in catechizing the children, (and those of us who were not taught it as children) which means teaching them the doctrines of Christianity. This is a regular part of our church service. We work on about 5 questions at a time until most of us have learned them. We say them at home, but I haven't learned them. It's a lot to remember. If I would just dedicate a little of my time each day, I would be able to get them down. And when I'm learning the catechism, I am studying and learning Theology.

What have I done towards this goal?

Nothing yet. But my plan is to copy down the questions and answers on index cards and practice them everyday.

8. Start teaching a few more piano students

Once I get my drivers license, that will free me up to offer to come to the students instead of them having to come to me. This would double, maybe even triple, the amount of students I could teach.
I would like to add at least 3. Then I would be back to the number I had a few years ago.
Then, with more students, a recital would make more sense. Maybe we could do one at the end of the year?

What have I done towards this goal?

I'm working on getting my license and I am starting to ask around to see if anyone is interested.

9. Write on my blog regularly--hence Thoughtful Thursday

I've written before about my desire to develop the skill of writing some. I don't fancy myself to be any kind of gifted or prolific writer, but I would like to practice putting words to my thoughts and feelings. To be able to share what I'm learning in life in a more understandable way.

What have I done towards this goal?

I've made an effort to write everyday about whatever topic is on my mind and, as you see, have written two Thursdays in a row!

I'm not going to number this one because it's somewhat out of my hands and I don't expect to accomplish it by the end of the year.

To marry and have a family.

Now some of you might say, and some of you have, "Well, get out there and meet some fellas!"
 But see, that goes against my understanding of Scripture.
Scripture presents the idea that men pursue and women respond,
not necessarily in so many words, but by the way maleness and femaleness is presented.
But this isn't an explanation of why dating isn't really biblical or why courtship is more so.
This is simply to say that this is a goal I hope and pray to accomplish sometime in my life and
so my real goal is to trust God to bring it about.

To refer again to the 'Parable of the Talents', I am seeking to be faithful in the small things, so that one day I might have the opportunity to be faithful in larger things.

I love God because He first loved me and my ultimate goal for my life is to "do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with {my} God." Micah 6:8b 

That, o man(or woman), is what God requires of us.

1 comment:

  1. Thoughtful stuff Sunny. Sounds like you're in for an exciting year.