What Am I Defined By?

For some reason I’ve always been acutely aware of my life fading. I am naturally inclined, as the Scripture puts it, “to number my days.” We begin to die the moment we are born. As Psalm 78 says, we are a “passing breeze that does not return.” These weighty thoughts could turn us into despairing indolents. After all, why should we try for anything?

I wonder how early on Jesus became conscious of his mission to die for us? I don’t know. He could’ve been depressed his entire life with what he had to face. But he wasn’t. He enjoyed himself. He went to parties, he welcomed children. In fact, he enjoyed himself so much that the religious leaders accused him of wine bibery, of drunkeness .

Because of this knowledge of the shortness of life and because a string of recent events have littered the landscape of life with billboards proclaiming that life is short and that we’re vulnerable, I’ve thought again about how I seek to live. I want to simplify my life in order to enjoy it. Given that overarching perspective –

30 Resolutions I seek to live by (in no particular order):

  1. I will filter my life through the lens of the gospel.
  2. I will live a life of prayer.
  3. I will consider the opinions of wise friends and acquaintances. I will not be defined by the opinions of those who do not know me.
  4. I will not live in fear, I will not make decisions based on fear.
  5. I will build others up. I will not slander others. When I disagree and need to speak up, I will find a way to do so amicably.
  6. If I knowingly sin against you, I will seek forgiveness.
  7. I will be a peacemaker and reconciler-thinking carefully about which battles I choose. I will not let bitterness rule over or ruin me.
  8. I will immerse myself, my imagination, in Scripture.
  9. I will concretely stand against injustice to the best of my ability.
  10. I will cultivate beauty and goodness, in my life, in my home, in the world.
  11. I will dance.
  12. I will love those closest to me well. The litmus test of my Christianity is how I treat those closest to me. It is often easier to love those I rarely engage.
  13. I will laugh. As my husband Shawn says, ” Laughter is a spiritual discipline, really. It’s a form of subversion. It’s a way of upending the perversion of the world. It’s a way to delight in goodness.”
  14. I will not let the scale define me.
  15. I will not let lack of book sales or sky-rocketing books sales define me.
  16. I will seek the good in others.
  17. I will promote others and their well-being.
  18. I will trust God to make all things right and do my part in the kingdom.
  19. I will be thankful.
  20. I will choose life.
  21. I will choose health.
  22. I will seek to overcome evil with good.
  23. By the power of God, I will live graciously and treat others graciously.
  24. I will learn new things.
  25. I will use the gifts God gives me to the best of my ability.
  26. I will remember the poor.
  27. I will live simply.
  28. I will imbibe the beauty of creation.
  29. I will stay connected to the body of Christ.
  30. I will believe God.

There are so many more I could mention. This is how I hope I live and want to continue to live. Now, I remember and will leave with you what I saw on my friend Elane’s Facebook wall today, “The life you live is the lesson you teach.”


6 thoughts on “What Am I Defined By?

  1. Thank you, Marlena. As always much to think about. I am inspired to make such a list and to share your list with the women at Safe Harbor. They often show more determination to make real changes than I can muster. I pray for courage like theirs. Keep up the good work, my dear friend.

  2. I love how most (if not just about all) of these are so others focused and/or spiritual. If God gives you the grace to accomplish these through this year, you will be one joy-filled, content woman. I pray He does and I want to join you on this venture. Thanks for sharing!

  3. What an inspiring list! I don’t have one written for myself, but I want to take some time over Christmas break to consider it!

    1. Nikki, I was just reminding myself of how I strive to live and how I want to live. It is so easy to be swallowed by evil, especially with all that is going on within and without the church. I think about how short my life is. In general, I am not a New Year’s resolutions type of person. This was more like a Rule of Life.

  4. Marlena, What a beautiful, life-giving list!!!! Thank you for sharing. It encourages me to seek and live the Truth=)

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