The 2016 election season is over. (Rejoice!) Thanksgiving is just around the corner. (And again I say rejoice!) In light of the end of the election and the swiftly approaching celebration of all the good with which our Lord has blessed us, I would like to submit a new November challenge. There are a few popular ones out there already: No-shave November. The 30 Day Thankfulness Challenge on Facebook. Etc… Those are all fine. I would like this challenge to be something a bit more practical, tangible, and rewarding. (Not shaving is very practical and tangible but outside of looking like hobos, I’m not sure it accomplishes much for most men. Or women.)
Here is my challenge: List 10 things that you will do between now and Thanksgiving. These could be things you told yourself you would do last New Year’s Eve. They could be things you have wanted to do for a long time but for whatever reason, you haven’t had the will power or the opportunity. It doesn’t matter. They don’t even have to be overtly spiritual, though if you list only things like “eat more pizza” then we will all think much less of you. Find substance, meaning, self-improvement, and interpersonal connection in your choices. Look for ways to make life better for those around you. The possibilities are, as they say, endless.
To assist you in this endeavor, here is a list I put together. As you will see, it’s a blend of the sacred and the secular. The thoughtful and the trivial.
…to become more disciplined in my spiritual life. I’m not sure if I need to explain this one. Maybe I do. I’ll just say this: I need to become a better hearer and doer of the Word.
…to stop getting so angry in the car. People don’t know how to drive. It annoys me. It makes me very mad. It shouldn’t. I need to fix that. (I made this vow a few years ago and it has only marginally improved. I really need to work on this more.)
…to love my wife as she deserves. Every day that goes by, I notice an area in my life that needs work. This one has been on my mind a lot recently. Deep down, I am a very selfish person. I don’t like that, but it is true. I am also a bit full of myself. I’ll tell myself that I am doing so many things right–things that other husbands never think to do. And I pat myself on the back and feel so good about me. Then I go do or say something hurtful, inconsiderate, or stupid, and I see the effect it has on her. I’ve got so much work to do to become the husband I need to be. And it is a work that is never finished.
…to be more friendly to everyone I encounter. Maybe a kind word from me is just what someone needed.
…to spend as much time with my kids as I possibly can. I don’t want them to grow up thinking that their Dad enjoyed doing other stuff more than spending time with them. I won’t get these years back. Once they are gone – and they are going quickly–they’ll be gone for good. My oldest is 13 years old. He will be headed to college in less than five years. I want to make these years count. And that starts with just being there for them.
…to build a fire pit in my back yard. My wife really wants one. I want one. It would be really nice to sit out there on these cold November evenings and enjoy a nice, warm fire.
…to discover a new band.. I don’t want to be one of those people that stops listening to new music. You know the type; the guy that stopped listening to new stuff in the mid-80s–he’s the guy rocking the mullet and wearing the Wham t-shirt. I want to discover new stuff. I want to fall in love with new songs.
…to discover a new author. Same as above. I don’t want to get stuck just reading my favorites. I want to find new voices.
…to eat Pad Thai at least twice before Thanksgiving. That stuff is like a drug to me. It’s been too long since I had it and I am feeling withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately, I will be meeting my parents and brother later today and partaking in this divine culinary dish.
…to give other people the benefit of the doubt. I assume the worst in others most of the time. It’s unkind and unfair of me. That is not how a child of God should view others.
Now, I do have one request: If you feel comfortable sharing, please let us know what is on your list. Even if you just share an item or two. I would love to see what other people are thinking as we head towards Thanksgiving. What are some things you will do that will bring light, salt or joy to the world around you?