Each year since, I have prayerfully chosen a word for the year. Some times it has seemed as if God laid a particular word on my heart, and that has truly been the case this year. He has impressed upon me without any doubt that my word for 2020 is to be diligence. The word came instantly, even before the end of the old year. But sorting out my thoughts concerning it has taken longer.
A dictionary definition of diligence sounds like a good place to start. My very vintage Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as: "Quality of being diligent; persevering application." From there, of course, it becomes necessary to look up the word "diligent". This dictionary says that diligent means "Perseveringly attentive; industrious with careful attention; painstaking."
The much newer dictionary on my computer desktop defines diligence as "careful and persistent work or effort".
Sally Clarkson says, "Diligence is the energy, the inner will of determination to keep going, that provides the power to overcome in life."
I have felt strongly the need to become more diligent in the coming year, in many areas of life. Health is a big one. I want to be much more diligent about eating properly, specifically to work on avoiding foods that contribute to inflammation. I need to be more diligent with my water intake and with exercise.
Homemaking is another area where I must become more diligent. Cleaning out my childhood home has impressed upon me strongly that I don't want my adult children doing this task when I'm gone. They would be thoroughly disgusted (with good reason) that I had let things get so cluttered and that I had kept so many things. With my hubby's retirement, he is insisting that he will get involved and help me with homemaking tasks so that the two of us will have more free time to do things together. So, as soon as possible, we will begin with one room at a time, deep cleaning, decluttering, and taking many trips to the dump and thrift store.
My trust responsibilities dictate cleaning out a house and outbuildings and selling, donating, or trashing the contents. Although I've worked hard at this task and have accomplished a lot, fresh diligence is required. With Mr. T helping me, we believe we can knock this task out in a couple of months. As another part of this process, I also need fresh diligence for listing items in my Etsy shop. There are still hundreds more of them to list!
Scripture memory is another area that needs more diligence on my part. I've memorized (and retained) a lot of Scripture in the past, but that is no reason not to work at memorizing more. As a church, we work together to memorize a short passage each month, and that is great, but I need to get myself organized to learn more Scripture on my own.
Careful spending is something else I need to become more diligent about. If you've read here enough to get to know me a bit, you know that I am not a "shop till you drop" type of person. I will go to great lengths to avoid a shopping trip. I've found, though, that shopping online makes it easier to spend more than I intend. That said, I do seek out bargains and I buy most of my books, even for gifts, on Thriftbooks. But the spending I'm thinking most about in my need to be diligent is the weekly grocery shopping. I've gotten rather careless over time, just buying things that are convenient like pre-cut pineapple and melon rather than doing it myself. Our local grocery store does offer a great program where one can get 2% back quarterly on purchasing their store brands. Last week, I saved $25 on the week's groceries because I got my quarterly rewards and also a coupon (through the same program) for $11 off on $100. Plus, I had some other coupons, both clipped and digital. My hubby is good about finding deals to save money at CVS, and in fact has saved over $200 there in 2019. So we're off to a good start here!
In considering diligence, I turned to Elizabeth George's book Small Changes for a Better Life. She offers some great motivators for diligence, as well as some very helpful tips for becoming more diligent. I'll share a quick quote after each one.
First, some motivators for diligence:
* Awareness of the brevity of life
There are no guarantees on the length of our lives. "We need to seize each and every day ... and put the most into each 24 hours. We must do as much as we can, love our families as much as we can, help as many people as we can, give as much as we can in each precious sunrise-to-sunset parcel of life ... Let your awareness of the brevity of life be a driving force."
* Awareness of the purpose of life
"When we realize that we were made by God and for God, and that God has a purpose for each of our lives, we don't live with 'self' in mind. We instead begin living each day ... for the Lord. There's a new energy, a new direction, a new diligence, a serious soberness."
* Awareness of stewardship
"God intends us to manage our time and our lives for Him and to use them for His purposes. He intends that we live out His plan for us. That means God expects each of us to be a good steward of the life He entrusts us with ... Seek to live each day with stewardship in mind for that one day. This mindset stimulates daily diligence.
* Awareness of time
"Diligence simply means pursuing a fruitful pace of life from start to finish as you purposefully move through the peaks and valleys, the ebb and flow, the springs, summers, and winters of your life."
As someone who just celebrated a big birthday, I am more aware than ever of the brevity of life and the passing of time. This has surely motivated me to greater diligence and may even be a reason I felt led to choose that particular word.
Second, some tips for becoming more diligent:
* Write out and memorize Colossians 3:23-24.
* Evaluate the peaks and valleys of your days and plan for using them wisely.
* Consider each day in the light of stewardship.
* Read a chapter of Proverbs each day and take special note of any teaching on diligence.
* At the end of each week, evaluate your diligence and plan for any necessary improvements.
I'm keeping this information at my fingertips for this year. I'm sure I'll need plenty of tips and motivation for diligence as the year speeds by!
"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men,
"Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ."