If months were memories, December would be that time I was woken up by the dog outside, only to find out that my alarm didn’t wake me because I had stayed up too late studying for a test I’m ill-prepared for. I’m late for school and I have a report due in first period. Running. Lots of running. Or at least that’s how December has felt.
But it’s also akin to that day I got the yearbook. School’s almost over, and I’m finishing up the year, but I’m also checking out all my friends and acquaintances and their (read: my) goofy pictures. A time to remember and reflect.
Knowing things is distinctly different from employing that knowledge. If it wasn’t so frustrating, it’d be humorous how often life’s problems didn’t originate with ignorance as much as the failure to act on what I already knew. This principle is easy to see in the Pharisees with their battles with Jesus. Their failure was not in knowing the word of God, as obedience to their knowledge. I imagine this is one of the reasons that when Paul prays for the Colossians asking not only that they’d be filled “with the knowledge of [God’s] will” but that this knowledge would cause them to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (Col. 1:9-10).
Plans are only as good as your follow-up. I love having a good plan. Unfortunately, I don’t love follow-up nearly as much. There’s something immensely satisfying about crafting a strategy that loses its appeal in the nitty-gritty details. But the details are where good ideas turn into reality. No one wants to be that full-grown man living in his mom’s basement with a lot of “good ideas.” And ministries die an ugly death when powered only by good ideas devoid of action.
Unguarded priorities are the outcasts of dodgeball. In fourth grade, we had the immense pleasure of playing dodgeball during recess. I don’t know why that tradition doesn’t continue through college- the game is competitive genius. In any case, in the process of picking teams, there are usually a few stragglers, the ones that seem less-than-gifted at the game. It is particularly easy for the important priorities of life to be left at the wayside because the taller, more burly issues facing you grab your attention first. As many of a productivity guru has said, the urgent ousts the important (Ok, who really uses the word “oust”? It looks like a word that got the guillotine…). This is something I’m learning mostly by failing to learn it. Hindsight, you know?
Hopefully this time next year, these will be lessons learned and applied. We shall see.