2015 happened to our family. It was crazy, it was fun, it brought us the newest addition to our family, Ruby, but overall, 2015 left a lot to be desired. It was full of good intentions that were never fulfilled, books that were started but not completed, promises that weren’t carried out, and relationships that were full of potential but weren’t fully realized.
About 7 years ago, I (Billy) took a test called the strengthsfinder, and one of my top 5 strengths is called “Maximizer.” It means I want to get the most out of life, out of every opportunity, out of all that the Lord has given me. And when I don’t, it’s frustrating. Combine that will my love for new and shiny ideas and projects (or you could call this a lack of focus), and you start to run into a problem. 2015 brought that problem to a head, as I was forced to face my own limitations and the increased demands of two children and many other responsibilities.
So 2016 is a new year. We didn’t stop and make resolutions at New Years, but Katie and I have been in some deep conversation about who we want to be and what we want to do with our lives, not just in the long term, but every day. We made some decisions about what is important to us, what we are committing to, and changes that we need to make. Why? Because we get ONE LIFE. That’s it. And we want to make it count in the ways that matter most.
When God first made Adam and Eve, He told them “Here is your life, and here is the world. You are in charge of these things. Take dominion. It’s up to you. And I’ll walk with you as you do it.” I like the word dominion. It carries the weight of both authority and responsibility. It reminds me that I am both responsible for my life and environment, and that I have the authority and power to carry out that responsibility.
In 2016, here are some ways that the Swans are taking dominion in their own lives:
- Our family schedule – we are the gatekeepers. Others don’t determine how we spend our time. We will work hard, rest regularly, and treasure our time with our loved ones.
- Finances – we will be responsible and generous, and use what we’ve been given to accomplish what is important to us.
- Our health – we are learning to run, bike and swim with our kids. Sometimes we break a sweat and sometimes we’re simply happy to survive.
- Intimacy – we are creating space for each other and for time with Jesus. Without these, what’s the point?
- Community – we are praying about who we should invest our time and life in. There are some groups Jesus has been asking us to target, and we’re going to do it.
- Personal growth – as Steven Covey would say, you have to sharpen your saw. We’ve got a lot of wood to cut, and we’re going to keep our saws sharp.
- Kingdom – There are some specific ministry opportunities that God has called us to at Adventures in Missions, and we’re excited to continue sharing those with all of you!
I’m excited to be intentional with my life, to take dominion, and to maximize my time. And don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of fun doing it. How could we not with these two?
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.