It’s a new year! Welcome to 2024!
Are you wondering what this year will hold?
It always seems to make more sense to us to celebrate the new year in New Zealand where we grew up. There, the school year runs from February to December. Along with Christmas parties, end of year celebrations, graduations, choir and band concerts, life is busy. Then comes Christmas Day, and the city goes quiet. Many businesses close their doors between Christmas and New Year's Eve (and the day after is also a holiday), and everyone goes to the beach!
So, it seemed to make sense to pause and consider the year that had just ended and wonder what one would like the new year to hold. Here, in the PNW, where all the excitement of the fall celebrations-- Halloween Thanksgiving, Christmas-- are over, and all we have ahead is grey-- gray skies, gray trees, rain... apart from the occasional miracle of watching the snow gently fall… it feels more difficult to stir oneself to consider --what do I want this new year to hold?
My husband and I often have talk about a proverb which we first heard when we were in Bible School many years ago: “Without a progressive vision, the people dwell carelessly” (not sure whose translation). We remind each other that without a vision that keeps growing, we can live day following day without real purpose and focus.
So, what about you?
I'm not suggesting that you sit down with your ten-year plan or your five-year plan or even your one-year plan, but what about today? What could you begin today that would help you towards being the person that you feel God's drawing you to be? It's not a matter of trying harder. It’s not a matter of writing a list of 10 things needing to be done today and checking them off. It's really a matter of what it is that God's drawing you to in this stage of your life. Incorporating spiritual practices into your life really is a necessity if you want to grow in your relationship with God and other people.
Are you a parent driving your child day after day to sports practices-- rain or shine? In fact, I gather the little soccer players revel in how dirty they can get! Or are you the parent constantly reminding your child to practice his musical instrument? Do your homework! Practice your times tables!
Why is it that we recognize the necessity of practice to improve skills in so many areas of life but balk when it comes to spiritual practices? Isn't relationship with God the most important part of life, here now as well as in the future?
Committing to a spiritual practice is not the same as making new year’s resolutions. There, you are engaging your ego to try harder to improve some things you don’t like about yourself and your life. Here, you are engaging your spirit to surrender to the work of the Spirit in your life. It is still a commitment; it is not necessarily easier; but the fruit it will yield in your life has the possibility of being immeasurable.
So, how about you? Where are you at as you look into this year with God? Are you stuck? Bored? Feeling dry and wondering where God's presence is? I've been exploring some new practices and would love to share these with you over the next few weeks. Some I am putting into my life right now; some I have in the past; some that I'm still wanting to focus on. My invitation to you is to think about what sounds like something you would like to try.
Are you ready?