The Wheel of Time

The title is not to be confused with the new show on Amazon Prime, even though that is where i got the idea. However, my use of the same title seeks to refer more to the concept of time as constantly moving. In fact, send a wheel down a slope and the farther it goes, the faster it moves. Our lives are like that as well. As a child, even in October, Christmas felt like an eternity away. But nowadays, it feels like it was only last week that i was writing my New Year’s resolutions for 2021.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien – The Fellowship of The Ring

And that right there is the truth. What did i do with my time in 2021, and what do i hope to do with my time in 2022?

First, my annual “spiritual”:
When i look back at my goals for 2021, how did i do?

A lot of these goals went unfinished this year. I did not journal daily (though when i did, i was in the book of Psalms). I only blogged 38/50 posts i hoped for this year (however, out of those 38 posts, 13 of them were tagged #LOVE, which computes to 34% of all my blogs this year). I did not finish Switched, though i did finally complete the rough draft. I did not finish Stronger than Sin. I did not publish an Obadiah/Malachi study. If maybe a chapter is considered progress on the sequel to Stranded, then i achieved that goal, though in my head i was anticipating a lot more. I did not make progress on a previously written fantasy novel (though i did make some progress on a new one set in the same world). I did not release a new album. I did not get a church job.

I did make it all the way through the Bible this year. I did spend a lot of time in Psalms, Proverbs, and Colossians. I do consider myself to have grown significantly in love this year. Becoming a father (especially), i didn’t realize i had this capacity in my heart to love.

I also focused on Jesus a lot this year. I feel like it was one of the best years ever as far as focusing on Christ (though there’s an infinite amount of room for improvement in 2022). Having read over 19,000 pages in 2021, i was also successful in getting out of my own head. When it comes to stewarding my relationship with my wife, she can answer my success in this area better than i can, but i feel like i stewarded her heart well (though there’s still miles of space for improvement in 2022).

Like i mentioned the past two years, it’s a good thing i don’t base my salvation on my New Year’s goals. If i did, i’d be going to Hell, because i didn’t perfectly live up to my standards. Thank You, Jesus, for grace and salvation. This leads me to look forward to 2022. Here are my goals (utilizing the same headings as last year):

Most importantly, I need to focus on Jesus.

So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God.

Colossians 3:1

I must keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. One way i plan to do this in 2022 is by starting a long-term Bible reading plan. In 2022, i will focus on Genesis as i look at how Genesis speaks to the rest of the Bible. In so doing, i hope to draw many connections to Christ.

Another way i plan to do this is by continuing to journal my way through Psalms. It might not be every day, but i want to continue reflecting on these inspired prayers/praises/pictures of Jesus.

Jesus, my family needs me to be more focused on You than ever before. Please help me fix my eyes on You and Your will and Your grace. Every good thing comes from You (cf. James 1:17) and my wife and son are good things (people). I must seek what is above to love and serve them rightly. Help me be disciplined to seek You first and foremost!

Secondly, I need to get outside of my own mind.

Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, wbased on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ

Colossians 2:8

After a really slow year, reading-wise, in 2020, 2021 was amazing. I read more in a calendar year than i’ve ever read before–last year. As such, in 2022, i want to stay disciplined to read. I hope to read at least 4 books per month (2 fiction and 2 non-fiction) for a total of at least 48 books.

However, while 2021 was great when it comes to reading, and getting out of my own head that way, there is another–more important–way i want to get out of my own head in 2022. Prayer. Several of the books i plan to read in 2022 are focused on this very topic. If i want to get out of my own head, there’s no better way than to enter into dialogue with my triune Creator.

Jesus, i need more of You. However, i need more than just knowledge of You. I need to experience You and commune with You in prayer. Much like my relationship with my wife would be pretty pathetic if i never spoke with her, so also my relationship with You is not what it should be when i fail to pray. Help me!

Thirdly, i need to steward well the new relationship that God has placed in my life.

Husbands, love your wives and don’t be bitter toward them. . . . Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so they won’t become discouraged.

Colossians 3:19, 21

I’m a father now. Last year i was a new husband. This year i am an even newer father. As such, my family is my priority. When it comes to my list of goals for 2021, i could care less about most of them as a result of being a husband and father. I don’t want to get so caught up (even in 2022) with my to-do list that i fail to properly love my wife and son.

However, with that said, when it comes to some of my bigger goals for 2022 (underlined below), they are being done with the end goal of being able to better care for my family.

Jesus, help me to love and lead my growing family well. Help me to prioritize You so i can better prioritize them. Please help me to not get caught up so much in productivity that i fail to provide time for my family. They need me to be present. Help me to be as much as possible.

Finally, i need to be productive this year.

Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving. . . . Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person. . . . And tell Archippus, “Pay attention to the ministry you have received in the Lord, so that you can accomplish it.”

Colossians 4:2, 5-6, 17

I will keep this short.

Like last year, i need to wake up at reasonable times. Hopefully this year i will be better than last year. The better i am at this goal, the more blogging and noveling i will accomplish. There is much i want to accomplish this year:

  • Read through the whole Bible once, focusing especially on Genesis
  • Read through the whole New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs with my family
  • Live in Genesis and Psalms
  • Continue journaling Psalms until finished
  • Blog at least 50 times this year: focusing primarily on the theme of this blog (live in Love)
  • grow in love for others: especially my wife and son
    • Better love the Church
    • Better love the lost by actually being an evangelist (beyond the pages of my blog)
    • better understand Mormonism and Islam so i can better love followers of these faiths
      • Read the Qur’an during Ramadan
      • Read the Book of Mormon
  • Finish Switched before March (so i can pitch it for #pitmad in March)
  • Finish Stronger than Sin before March (so i can pitch it for #pitmad in March)
  • Release a few singles this year (one per quarter)
  • Finish two short stories
    • Philosophical one before June
    • Christmas one before December
  • Finish rough draft of Stranded sequel
  • Find a new job
  • Move out of California (maybe to a new seminary?)
  • Only purchase one new book (valued at $15) per month, excluding textbooks

Jesus, there’s a lot of stuff i want to do, so please help me to use Your gift of time wisely and productively!

There are 365 days in 2022. This means there are 8,760 hours in 2022. This means there are 525,600 minutes in 2022. If we allow 7 hours a night on average for sleep, this computes to 6,205 hours (372,300 minutes) of “free time” (including work hours) during 2022. Therefore, like Gandalf said, “All [I] have to decide is what to do with the time that is given [me].”

What do you hope to get out of your 2022?

In this with you.

Soli Deo Gloria
Solus Christus
Pro Ecclesia

Thanks for reading.