Monday, November 17, 2014

Pressing on .................... Parables 197

December 27, 1989

When Simon, my editor, told me this issue would be a year-end wrap-up, the first thought that entered my mind was a rather long list of unfinished projects that I’d certainly like to wrap up. However, that wasn’t what he had in mind. “Review highlights,” he said.

Later that day, while wrapping up Christmas gifts, the idea of year-end wrap-up again came to mind. Again, I thought of the unfinished but also some of the accomplishments of 1989. As those encouraged me, I began to think about what I would like to wrap up in 1990. But then there’s that unfinished list; what should be done with it?

Everyone knows what it’s like to end a year or a decade with a handful of “I wish I had’s”. People we wanted to visit... but they left following an Allied moving van; books we wanted to read... but the library retired their last copy; children we wanted to play hopscotch with... but suddenly they were too busy buying grad rings and planning classes at U of A. Some items on my “to-do” list will never be wrapped up.

Paul the Apostle may have felt the same way. He was doing a wrap-up of sorts concerning his goal of becoming more like Jesus Christ. (From personal experience, I know how unfinished that goal always feels.) He said, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on... forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal...”

His words translate into good advice at wrap-up time: 1] He knew where he was, 2] realized some things were accomplished and 3] some things were not. 4] Then he put the “I wish I had’s” behind him and pressed on. So I decided to wrap up 1989 following his advice. Here’s my wrap-up list:

PHYSICAL WRAP-UP: Evaluation: Not too bad but I’ll probably eat too much over Christmas.
Accomplishments: 4 miles on the bike or 45 minutes on shank’s mare 5 times a week.
Leftovers: Five stubborn pounds that I don’t want left in front or behind me.
Pressing On: A long look in a full-length mirror right after Christmas (agreed, it’s a distasteful suggestion) then do something about it.

MENTAL WRAP-UP: Evaluation: Memory loss and lethargy hopefully related to over-booking my brain, not age; great relief that there is a spelling checker in my word processor because by the time I get down Webster’s, I can’t remember the word I was going to look up.
Accomplishments: High marks in a college credit course.
Leftovers: One half-written short story, a dozen magazine articles that should be sent out, a host of crossword puzzles I got tired of or didn’t have a clue regarding the answers.
Pressing on: Learn how to use WORD PERFECT 5.0 in 1990, with passing expertise.

SOCIAL WRAP-UP: Evaluation: Too many friends still apologize for “bothering” me when they call.
Accomplishments: Deeper friendships with more people.
Leftovers: Owe letters to some, calls to a few and visits to one or two.
Pressing On: Continue convincing friends they are more important than most anything I might be doing at the time they think they are “interrupting” me.

SPIRITUAL WRAP-UP: Evaluation: I’m still God’s child, despite my failures and foibles.
Accomplishments: By God’s grace, overcame two bad habits and began several good ones.
Leftovers: The page isn’t large enough.
Pressing One: Day by day responding to whatever the Lord shows me I must do, making corresponding plans and trusting Him to pull it off.

The future stretches before us like blank pages of a notebook. Whether we add in the unfinished or start with some fresh new goals, the old decade ends and God gives us a brand new one. Here’s to wrapping up by leaving the past with Him and beginning the next year, or month, or even the next week, day or hour, with a decision to press on to greater Christ-likeness.

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