Resolved 2013

Post Author: Julie Jensen

Happy New Year 2013Resolution: Do one thing each week that is fun, new, or challenging.

In ministry it can be easy sometimes to fall down the rabbit hole of church life with the cycle of the liturgical seasons, meetings, budgets, agendas, and more meetings; whether male or female, single or married it can happen to any of us. As students, we were exposed constantly to the refrain of “take care of yourself”.  It sounded so easy when dealing with hypothetical churches, and yet self-care can be such a challenge when we get out into the “real” world.  There have been seasons where I took a comp day to clean the house, eaten more meals out than in (by a 2 to 1 ratio), or started the car only to have the gas light come on because I forgot on the way back from the hospital that my tank was almost empty.  Perhaps it is less falling down the rabbit hole, and more sliding slowly down a slippery slope. 

One of my former classmates made a New Year’s Resolution to do something each week that is new or challenging.  Week 1- she bought Pointe shoes for ballet.  I read that news and had several thoughts. The first was “that is so cool!” The second was “I could totally do that – not the Pointe specifically — but the resolution in general.”  And so I made my New Year’s Resolution.

Clergy are the last of a dying breed – those in renaissance professions.  Though most of us have mastered the divine (and have the MDiv to prove it), clergy tend to be Jills and Jacks of all trades.  We can preach, teach, study, pray, fix broken toilets and change light-bulbs, argue with the worst and laugh with the best.  Our calls take us into the darkest places of people’s lives as well as into the best moments of joy.  We crunch numbers and then go read to schoolchildren.  We advocate and console.  And, most of us love what we do.  Which is why I have not excluded “work life” from my resolution.  I have a couple of challenges waiting to be tackled.  Our staff has fun together, and there are new projects in the dreaming stages.  The hope is to spend the year balancing the demands of the call I love with the adventures that are waiting.

The challenge is to once a week, do one thing that can be described as fun, new, or challenging.  One thing.  I’m really excited about the idea.  Once it gelled in my brain I started making lists of things that I have been meaning to do, try, or see.  I already know that my challenge for July 4th week will be the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta.  The 10K race (I’m walking) will be hot, sticky, and a huge accomplishment.  There are so many places near where I live that I have not explored.  The goal is to broaden perspective, shake the sleep off the routine, and see what happens.  This isn’t about success –it is about being open to what the world has to offer outside of my usual day-to-day routine.

How is it going so far?  Well, I made matzo balls for the first time this week.  They were really good – much to my surprise.  Who would have thought cracker meal out of a packet mixed with some oil and parsley would be amazing comfort food?  I learned that a tablespoon of meal can almost quadruple in size when simmered in the pot of soup.  I remembered the first time I had them in Nashville with a friend, and relished the memories of our visit.  It looks like next week will hold a gathering with friends from seminary.  I moved back to our area three and a half years ago, and this will be the first time I have gotten together with them, a fact that we desire to change.  New – check.  Fun – absolutely. 

I’m thinking there will be some crazy adventures, spectacular failures, fantastic fun, and on December 31st, there will be some great stories to tell. 

Rev. Julie Jensen is Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church, in Cartersville, GA. She also serves as a member of the TYCWP Community board. When not thinking of 52 new, fun, or challenging things to do in 2013 she enjoys knitting, cooking, reading, and is learning how to sew.

Photo by Ell Brown,, January 6, 2013. Used by Creative Common License.

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