For 2012, I want something different. I am praying that God blesses this year and gives us a reprieve from the troubles of 2011. I want to enjoy life, to be fully present, to be changed. And each time I think about the "theme" of 2012, I land amongst the difficult words of Mark...
"And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell..."
Cut it off. It's better to be crippled, to be lame, the be half-blind than to be cast into hell. It's better to be mocked, to be ridiculed, to be poked fun at than to be thrown into hell. It's better to be judged, to be questioned, to be a source of bewilderment than to be thrown into hell.
What is it that needs to be cut off? What can I clearly see in my life that needs to be severed at the bone? What is it in your life?
Most of us pride ourselves in dancing around sin. I do it, too. We make some excuse, blame it on our culture, attribute it to the faults of our parents. But do we take heed to the words of Mark? Cut it off. Not lessen it, not put up boundaries, not take a break... cut it off.
For me, the things I need to cut off the most can be accessed by a button or two. This year, I have really (and this is so hard to confess to the 7 of you who will read this!) become quite a couch potato. After things started settling from the tornado, I started using the TV to zone out. I needed some sort of brain vacation, and TV was my vice. I hate admitting that because it's kind-of embarrassing. I thought that working full-time and tutoring on top of that would leave little room for TV, but thanks to the DVR and streaming Netflix through the Wii, vegging out in front of the light of the TV has been easier than ever. In fact, the TV is on right now... Saturday morning news.
Though Mark's words are radical - cut it off - I'll be honest, I'm not ready for radical yet. I'm not ready to say "I'm not watching TV in 2012" because I know I will stick to it for a while and then end up watching more TV than ever about halfway through the year. So, I am going to just set up more boundaries and try to phase TV back out of my life. Believe it or not, there was a time when I really didn't watch much TV at all. And, what is most important is to watch only things that are holy, good, and true. If a show evokes sinful feelings in me (covetousness, jealousy, anger, etc.), then I need to simply turn it off.
But more than anything, I want 2012 to be a year of getting back to the things I love most. I want to make room for the gifts God has given me. I want to write more, journal more, get back to memorizing Scripture, play my ukelele more, make more crafty-craft projects... I want to live more in the present and less in the tube. I want to focus on the everlasting, not on story lines that I'll forget in a month. I want to know more about King David than the King of Queens (yes, I went there!). I want to know more about the prophecies of old than about Oscar predictions. I want to know more about myself, too. It's a simple wish for 2012 - to intentionally de-clutter my heart and my mind so I can make more room for Jesus.
Maybe I am not being quite as severe as Mark intends, but I'll get there. I'll be praying this year for God to reveal the things I need to cut off, the things I need to put away, the things I can live without - he things that will hinder me from entering His Kingdom. Because I would rather live impaired on this earth than be unwelcome in the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.