Archive for the ‘New Years’ Tag

New Year’s Joys   Leave a comment

The year has passed.  Each day has died with the setting sun never to rise again, but the steps we took each day have brought us to this place.  The New Year may be fresh with potential, calling us to look back on the road we have come and consider re-directing our steps, but we rose today at the same spot we left off last night.  Flipping the page of our calendars does not create some magic door to Narnia.  We may renew our resolve, but we rose today with the same mental and physical and emotional energy that we had yesterday.  Be gentle with yourself.  Each year is a marathon, not a sprint, and coming too quickly out of the gate is sure to backfire, leaving you exhausted, discouraged, and shamed.

If this is your time for an annual audit, and you find you have come short of your own expectations and goals, perhaps the fault lies with unrealistic goals, not weak efforts.  Perhaps the voices inside your head demanded too much of you.  In that case, rather than redoubling your efforts, you might consider trimming down your goals.  But even if you did lose your way last year, you cannot “make up for it” now without straining your soul.  Leave those failings in the gracious hands of God to redeem, to re-touch with His masterful skills.  You cannot get back in God’s favor by redoubling your efforts because you never lost His favor, for His grace is unshaken by our failings.  Use those failings to call you back to His grace, to stop trusting in your own goodness and to trust more fully in the goodness of God, who loves you regardless of your shortcomings.  Perhaps this year resolve to settle more deeply into God’s grace, to be more accepted rather than more acceptable.

Let grace set the course ahead for this year.  Resolve to live more fully in the consciousness of God’s love.  Instead of harnessing your spirit to unwanted demands like a bull dragging a sledge, pursue those things that will lighten your journey, give you wings instead of weights, release your spirit to truly live.  What puts a smile on your face, bounce in your step, peace in your soul?  Perhaps those are the new year’s plans that will energize you to find delight in God.  Perhaps it is not resolutions you need–a call to the will to override your desires–so much as New Year’s Joys–a call to the heart to fulfill your deepest desires.  “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

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Posted January 1, 2015 by janathangrace in thoughts

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New Year’s Welcome   Leave a comment

appleNew Year’s resolutions feel more like chains than wings to me.  I want freedom to become rather than strictures to conform.  I would follow my heart’s inclinations rather than set a behavioral agenda, unsaddle my soul from demands and expectations and deadlines.  I hope to be open and welcoming of each day, to receive what it brings, rather than insist that it yield rewards for my labors.  May I rather grow like a tree: when the rain falls, suck it up; when the spring pushes up sap, sprout leaves; when obstacles crowd me, shape myself around them.  Our backyard black walnut has no limb-growing, root-digging schedule, but it blossoms out well into its true self.

intertwinedI think we have less control over our journey, our growth process, than we realize, and if relationship is foundational to our development, then growth is necessarily interactive and intertwined and cannot be a simple matter of my own choosing and acting.  An organic, inter-relational spirituality looks more like a tree than a construction project: much more vulnerable to change, but also much more adaptive; much less structured and predictable, but much more expansive and potent.  Both methods of development have set principles, but a plant has far more freedom of expression in living out those principles.

So I welcome 2014 and whatever it might bring, not because ours is a safe and good world, but because I have a loving and gentle God who promises to be with me in all the coming uncertainty.

kid with dad

Posted January 8, 2014 by janathangrace in Personal

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New Year’s Irresolutions   2 comments

I went to bed early tonight and slept through the preliminary fireworks, but the midnight burst woke me enough to chase away the sandman.  So here I sit against the pillows, thinking.  Before today, each new year piqued some fresh aspect of soul-building, but life (with God’s apparent cooperation) seems to have slowly drained me of a future focus and left me living day-to-day.  All ambition, any hopes I had for some meaningful role in the world, has been pushed far away so that I am reduced to waiting… indefinitely… perhaps till the end of my days.

I’ve been trapped here for a year or maybe two.  The good news, I think, is that my sense of worth has been slowly stripped free of its bondage to accomplishment.  It feels odd—why am I still on earth if I have no purpose for being here—but it no longer feels painful or shameful or condemning, like I’ve been benched for screwing up.  My life perspective has devolved into “It is what it is.”  I’m ready to get back in the game if I’m called on, but I’ve put my sweats back on, and I’m okay to just sit and watch the action from the sidelines.

So here’s to a year without resolutions… or plans… or expectations.  That’s a first for me.

Posted January 1, 2014 by janathangrace in Personal

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