Better by the Year

I'm kinda excited about putting 2011 to sleep. In many ways, this was a difficult year; I'm pretty sure that it was my toughest pastoral year, as I was continually engaging unexpected issues. Additionally, my father had a heart attack at the beginning of the year, Kelly lost her grandfather at the end of the year, and in between numerous friends had illnesses and deaths in their families. I'm not sure the year was jinxed, but it sure did feel that way. But in looking back, it wasn't entirely bad. I enjoy some statistics, so I had a bit of fun reminiscing on my 2011 by the numbers. This year I . . .

  • Took a (one) new position at Cincinnati Christian University (I still have to explain more about this sometime).
  • Helped organize a (one) major convention.
  • Ran two marathons.
  • Wrote two lessons.
  • Saw three concerts.
  • Performed four weddings.
  • Led four community walking tours.
  • Taught four college courses (and one graduate course)
  • Moved our church space after six years.
  • Spent twenty nights in hotel rooms.
  • Preached fifty-one sermons.
  • Traveled some 10,000 miles (fortunately, however, for a short commute).

I enjoy looking back like this because I feel like I sucked the life out of this past year. But I simultaneously struggle because I know I both a) wasted some time as a result of laziness and b) devoted some serious time to projects that were wastes of time. Everything's a learning experience, so I might have actually grown during those failures, but I'd like to maximize efficiency. There's not much space for me to accomplish more in 2012, but I know I can do better.

And that's my word for 2012: "better." Sure, it's not a specific resolution, but I think it'll prove helpful. If I focus on preaching better, leading better, teaching better, and being present with my family better, I'm sure the year will feel like a success.

So here's to all of us making this a better New Year!