Mark Batterson, in The Circle-Maker, a fascinating book on a prayer, praises “defining decisions,” that set the course of your life, sort of like choosing whether you drive to Slovenia (which our family did last summer), or to Scotland (which we might do this summer).
I made three defining decisions in my twenties. Chronologically: I decided to become a writer. I decided to follow Jesus. And I decided to take a marriage vow to love.
I have failed in all of these, continually. There have been days, weeks, months, and years, in which I have not written at all. I sometimes think of my beloved Jesus sadly: how imperfectly I imitate him. And marriage, well.
Yet, oddly, I’ve not failed in any of these, because I am still on the road. I am writing, albeit less than I would like to. I am still following after Jesus, albeit imperfectly. I am still married, more or less happily.
* * *
Oh, it is this season again, this season of resolutions. And I will probably make some.
But what I am more interested in are defining decisions, North Stars, compass points, things I will continue to do even if I sometimes go off course. Things that I will continue doing, even if I fall. Not resolutions I make year after year like Yom Kippur sacrifices, but a once-and-for-all decision I will follow, though I may wobble, and fail some days, some weeks…
Here are a few of my defining decisions, which I return to again and again. These are to do with health
1 I will walk 10,000 steps a day.
2 I will avoid sugar
3 I will avoid white flour (using bread, pasta and noodles as a treat, rather than as food).
4 I will begin reading myself to sleep at 10 p.m.
5 I will do some yoga every day (a habit I am struggling to adopt).
These are habits which are not yet second nature. There are other habits which are second nature, though again I fail some days, some weeks, some months….
I will read or listen to my Bible.
I will read.
I will write at least a little.
I will keep the rooms in which I work and sleep tidy.
I will garden.
* * *
How about you? Instead of a resolution, different every year, why not try a defining decision which you will return to, despite falls and wobbles, as we continue trying to follow Jesus, though like Peter, we might forget him, deny him, and yearn to go on a break.