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Growing Up: A New Year’s Resolution

January 4, 2011

I have a lot of goals for the new year which, in and of itself, might prove to be a problem.

Over the past couple of weeks, Michelle and I have engaged in several discussions of our expectations for the new year and the ways in which we want to experience growth and change.

For me, it comes down to something very simple: growing up.

In 2011, I’ll turn 29. I’ll celebrate the seventh anniversary of marrying my best friend, as well as the sixth, fifth and second birthdays of our three children. I think I’m secure in proclaiming that 2011 is an appropriate time to embrace adulthood.

Now, let me clarify a bit. It’s not like I’ve been a completely irresponsible man-child before now. I have a job that I enjoy and take very seriously. I have been committed to personal and professional development that will help me achieve my career goals. I have, with the help of my wife and a talented team of friends, developed a ministry that has fed and transformed marriages. I have led others through serious studies and consideration of our faith. I have been a father who is loving and available to meet the every need of my children and I have been a husband who, despite considerable faults, has (hopefully) done more good than harm in cultivating a relationship of love that will last a lifetime.

And yet, despite these accomplishments, I still claim that it’s time for me to grow up.

You see, Michelle and I got married when we were 23. Ten days after our wedding, I began working on my Masters degree and working two jobs. One year and one day after our wedding, we welcomed Emily (our daughter) into the world. A week later, I began my second year of graduate studies. By 2006, at age 25, I finished my degree and we moved to Austin, welcoming Lincoln (our son) into the family just six months later. For me, life got normal for while, as I worked a “real” job. Meanwhile, Michelle took teaching positions that helped supplement our income. In 2009, we moved for the third time in our three and a half years since relocating back to Austin; a move that came just 45 days after I accepted a new job and 30 days before Lorelei (our youngest) graced us with her considerable presence.

I know I’ve treated you to quite the history lesson of my recent life, but I do so to illustrate that over the past seven years life has been one, long, unending transition from one change to another. Reflecting on this a few weeks ago, the psychological effect of all of this change became clear: I am prone to look at everything as temporary.

When I say it’s time for me to grow up, what I mean is that I have to escape the way of thinking that looks at everything as just a temporary stop before the next thing comes along. It means not shopping at Walmart for a crappy piece of clothing that will tide me over until I can afford something of quality, but rather, buying a quality piece of clothing and taking care of it to the degree that it’s duration of usefulness justifies the investment. It means making sure my yard is cared for, the trim on the side of the house is painted and the car is washed more than once a year. In other words, it means treating my life and the things that populate it as if they are permanent.

Now, I realize that my examples of “growing up” thus far are, in some ways, very shallow. But, I assure you, it means much more than just altering the way I treat my material possessions. The embracing of adulthood and permanence means embracing where I am and deepening my roots. It’s a renewed recognition of my responsibilities as a husband and father to lead my “domestic church,” challenging and enabling each member of our family to embrace and fully realize the vocation to which they’ve been called by God. It’s a call for me to be active in my community, enhancing the place I call home investing more in my community of faith, to bring the love of Christ within and without the walls of the Church.

I’ve had the honor over the years to be described by mentors and friends as “wise beyond my years.” Others have called me an “old soul,” with the connotation that I somehow know and understand things about people, and the world. I have never claimed to have such abilities, and it is always with hesitancy and thanks that I receive such praise. You see, I know all of the ways that I have fallen short in embracing the full responsibility that’s been entrusted to me. But I also know this: 2011 is a new year and I am hopeful that, with a little discipline and a lot of hard work, it will reveal a better, and grown up me.

Happy New Year!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Bill permalink
    January 4, 2011 11:42 am

    Chris, thanks for the encouragement! I’m looking forward to 2011 being the most Kingdom-centered year, yet!

    • Chris permalink*
      January 4, 2011 4:28 pm

      Thanks Bill!

      May God bless your many efforts!

  2. January 4, 2011 12:15 pm

    Chris, I LOVE this post… if for no other reason than I’m seeing the same things in my own life, and much of my 2011 list looks a lot like this. Growing up, getting organized, taking care of the small things that make a difference, and recognizing permanence.

    I like your attitude this year! 🙂

    • Chris permalink*
      January 4, 2011 4:27 pm

      Thanks Sara!

      I like to hear I’m not the only one.

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