The beginning of a new year is a time in which many of us contemplate the past 365 days (the successes, the failures, the moments of sublime joy and darkest sorrow) and look forward into the year that has begun. As a part of this introspection, many participate in the creation of New Year’s resolutions – formal statements of intent for the year to come.
I am notoriously lousy at keeping my New Year’s resolutions. Year after year, promises to drop pounds, drop vices and drop spending all eventually got dropped – sometimes as early as mid-January. In fact, for many years the only successful resolution I made was to “stop making New Year’s resolutions,” and if you are in any way a literalist, then you can see how that resolution managed to break itself merely by existing!
Like I said – I’m lousy at this resolution thing.
But over the past year, I’ve started to view New Year’s resolutions differently. I’m beginning to see that the resolutions we make have a value that goes much deeper than the actual promises themselves – they are, in essence, a self-reflective exercise that points towards those things we truly value. A promise to lose weight could mean that I value my outward appearance – or it could mean that I value my health. A vow to quit smoking could point to a genuine desire to stop a physically harmful behavior – or it could demonstrate a desire to be free from the judgment of others. One way or the other, our promises point to what we care about.
With this backdrop of understanding, it has been a joy to read some of your resolutions. Many point towards the value of silence, solitude and Sabbath. Others are all about relationship. And all point towards values that I suspect we all share as ministers, as women, and as children of God. May God bless these hopes and dreams as we live into this New Year:
- To get really involved in one issue/organization that means a lot to me. –Heather G.
- My New Year’s resolution is to finish the youth room. We have a Transformation Committee that has been meeting for a year and 1/2. We have lots of ideas for the room and have begun making progress. But 2010 we will finish it!! I also resolve to truly take a Sabbath, at least 5-7 hours one day a week where I do nothing that relates to church. [Also,] to learn more about personal finances (is my personal goal) – Kelley D.
- My goal is to spend more time in my office reading. I feel like I’m always doing, producing, meeting, writing, making, but rarely ever reading until it’s time to dig out a commentary for sermon prep. –Melissa S.
- My resolution is to be proactive rather than reactive. I plan to take my “to do” list by the horns and actively work through it, rather than just crossing things off that weren’t even on there to begin with. I know, good luck with that! -Jill S.
- More intentional God time. More that involves solitude and silence. Also, to be a better wife and not let the church consume all the energy I have so that I can be a kinder, more loving partner. – Sunny R.
- I’m resolved to convert a small cupboard in my office into an oratory to allow me to regain Evening Prayer/Compline even with 3 young children in the house. – Lynsay D.
- Taking care of my family with good, healthy cooking, without feeling as if I have to be Martha Stewart…because I’m SO not. – Julie B.
- Figuring out how to discern a call when you are in a marriage partnership. [My husband] has a new job (which we’re both really excited about), and they want him to relocate if possible. If we move, I’ll need a job. The question is, will I be able to find the right fit in ministry, or will I need to look for something else? So for me, it’s a question of LOTS of calls going on ([His], mine, and ours), and how to figure out how to navigate them. Also trying to exercise and eat better to raise my energy levels. – Anonymous
- I am hoping to make birthday phone calls to all 800+ church members. – Alex H.
- My hope/goal is to take small but significant steps to taking better care of myself…cutting out fast food, getting to the gym regularly, reading more, & spending more time with God (silence, journaling, praying, reading Scripture ). They don’t seem so small all listed out like that… I feel I spend most of my time planning, leading, preparing, & doing ministry and being tired from all of that, that I don’t do the things that fulfill, strengthen, and inspire me… and I even miss out on time with the One I’m so committed to helping others to experience. – Suzanne K.
- I resolve to organize all my binders filled with paperwork, ideas, and notes from the past year’s ministry. – Allison L.
- I’m resolved to truly taking care of a serious health issue (so that I can continue to serve God’s purpose), being a better and more present parent to my two children (balancing home and ministry roles) and finding the next ministry to which God calls me, whether in the parish or something else. I lost my ministry position in 2009, so I can only pray that God is making a way and preparing me for a purpose. At least once a year I look back at my growing years of ministry experience and wonder what God might be preparing me for; maybe this year I’ll find that or at least a new piece of the puzzle! – Carolyn F.