The curtains have closed on 2012 and opened for the next act: 2013. What will the new year bring? Will they be the result of planning, goal setting, and dreaming big? Some accomplishments might be made by leaps and bounds, but for most of us, being faithful to our daily routines is the best way to make progress.
Does the focus on physical and financial fitness at the dawn of a new year lead you measure your own success by these standards?
Or do you focus on the spiritual, observing the effects that a peaceful relationship with God has on your weight and finances?
Am I enough? Do I matter? Am I loved? Do I have enough? Do I love well? Do I move my body? What moves my soul? Am I stuck? How do I escape from pain and loneliness? Where do I find solace and peace, or just relief? Are my escapes nourishing or destructive? What are my blind spots? Just a few of the questions we ask ourselves at the turn of the year.
The desire to strive for holiness, to make noble sacrifices and accept suffering, to do God's will, and to put ourselves last too often collides with gracefully handling our own faults and the faults of others, enjoying the beauty God generously provides, nourishing our own bodies and souls, experiencing wholesome pleasures in a balanced way, and fostering our hopes and desires.
Do we beat ourselves up, despair at our own inability to improve, look at others with a critical eye, operate in uptight mode, and come across to harshly as we try to provide better formation for our own children? Or do we give ourselves and others grace, take each day at a time, and make the effort to find joy in our daily life? How do others interpret us - exacting, critical, austere, self-absorbed? Loving, graceful, full of joy, generous?
And how do we even learn about others when faces are turned toward The Screen?
More and more, we hide behind The Screen. Everywhere - in public waiting areas, football games on TV during holiday gatherings, at stoplights, check-out aisles, while riding a bike, at the dinner table, in the bathroom, mowing the lawn - whenever the urge strikes or a question begs to be answered. Even if all the beeps and alerts are turned off, we crave the stimulation.
Conversation is sometimes like walking on eggshells, people are opinionated and divided and sometimes it's just too much to risk disagreement. Meaningful conversations are becoming absent, being present to others is a lost art, shallowness kills the soul and opens they way for despair or anger to set in.
How do we find the delicate balance between time on-line and time face-to-face with others? How to we strike a balance between freedom and healthy discipline? Floss, exercise, budget, cook, clean, organize, practice, learn, read, knit, work, communicate, pray.
do the guardrails of God's laws make us feel about staying within them?
Confined? Secure? How do we balance our time with The Screens in our
lives and time spent in meaningful work, or time face to face with our family and friends, and creative
activities? Finding this balance keeps our souls alive and fosters the virtues of hope, faith, and love, so vital to the life of the soul.
The new year is a time to reflect on the blessings of the past year, to see where we have been, to create a vision of where we hope to go. We re-evaluate, tighten our belts, plan for success, set goals - and also dream. With perseverance, our dreams just may come true.
Our dreams may hinge on money to fund them, discipline to achieve them, or the grace and blessing of God to allow them. So we set a budget, we set our regimens, we pray for discernment of God's will.
What are your goals? What are your dreams? How do you discern your dreams with God's will for you? How are going to strike a balance this year? What is possible for you and your family this year that was not possible before?
May a balance of discipline, prayer, grace, passion, and joy bring about desired changes in your life this new year!
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.