‘Tis the season for new year’s resolutions. Maybe I’m more tuned in than in years past, but everywhere I look I see commentary about making and breaking new year’s resolutions. I’ve seen thoughtful encouragement to adopt a one-word resolution to serve as a focus area, cartoons about resolutions being a to do list for the first week of January or being recycled year after year, and much in between. For my part, I tend to think of new year’s resolutions as course corrections.
No matter the goal, we all need course corrections. And we need them continually, even when we know our life direction and have a plan for getting there. The last post described sailing in a fog as a real life metaphor for navigating life, and it acknowledges that sticking to a plan is hard. Anyone experienced with weight loss resolutions can tell you that. As if steering the course were not challenging enough, changing conditions can interfere with the journey we planned. What was intended as a short sail across a sound looks completely different when the wind dies and fog rolls in. Adroit navigators stay alert to their location, heading, and conditions at all times. They make frequent adjustments to stay on course to the intended destination. At times, one’s course may need only a few degrees of adjustment. Other times, we may need a total turn-around. How do we know which we need?
I say forget about resolving to lose weight, to work longer (or shorter) hours, or to put more money away for retirement. Instead, assess where you stand with God. It seems that much of what is going on in our lives reflects, or flows from, what is going on in our spiritual lives. Maybe I overeat while the real nourishment I crave is divine sustenance. Maybe exercising discipline to make time to be present to God every day would strengthen my discipline for other self-improvement actions. Maybe rearranging my priorities to put God in the center will allow other desires to fall away effortlessly.
This past year my study group read Finding Our Way Again, and in it Brian McLaren outlines a useful exercise that can be adapted for use here. Fill in the blanks:
- 10 years ago, my relationship with God was more______ and less _____.
- 1 year ago, my relationship with God was more______ and less _____.
- In 5 years, my relationship with God will be more______ and less _____.
Of course, this exercise can be applied to any relationship or personal attribute, but I would suggest starting with God. Allow yourself to feel where there are tensions are in your relationship and perhaps where connections are loose or missing. Think about what you want that relationship to be like and the adjustments needed to make it so. Ponder how God is present to you and how you want to respond to him.
Join the conversation. Is there forgiveness you need to receive or to extend?
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