I tend to view the New Year not so much as a time for making resolutions, but for fine-tuning my direction. Oh yeah, there is that one nagging item that I carried over from last year: clearing up the one error on my credit file that is bringing down my credit score. I’ll get ‘er done for sure!
This New Year, I do find myself in search for a new settled parish ministry. My last one has ended, but my ministry continues. Thus, the New Year demands that I put my best foot forward.
It is a daunting process for a minister to wed him/herself with a new congregation. Both are looking for a perfect match in an imperfect world. I would be less than honest if I said finding a new settlement isn’t somewhat unsettling. But, I trust that God and the universe have something good for me in the future. I believe the same for you, too.
How do we move into the new future with our faith as a guide? For one thing, it is powerful, if not essential, to have positive people in your life. These folks can help bring out the best in you, shore up your confidence, and help you find your northern star. In my case, they constantly say, “I’m not worried about you. You’ll land on your feet! Let me know how I can help.” I’m grateful for such love and encouragement.
Next, be clear about who you are and where you want to go. I just watched the insanely, outstanding film Fences. It’s a must-see. The main character's wife, Rose, is a beacon of love and exceptionally lucid about her life and circumstances. In one scene after her husband, Troy, confesses his transgressions, watching her speak truth with such clarity brought me to tears.
Finally, I believe we need to be ready to work it out. You’ve got to commit yourself to hard work, consistency, treating people right in the process, expecting good outcomes, and of course, keeping balance in your life. That’s a lot, but I believe the life of faith demands a lot. We don’t expect things to “just happen,” we need to activate our faith muscles day in and day out with action.
Now, there is one more thing that I can't leave hanging from my last blogpost.
For those of us who are feeling traumatized by the presidential election results, the New Year is a time to turn that lingering raw emotion into action. We need to hold the president-elect accountable to his post-campaign promise of being president of “a united people.” That entails following through on the principles of democracy.
If he breaks campaign promises, begin writing your congressperson, express your dissent, and demand they represent you. We need to also get more involved in local government. That means attending council and committee meetings and standing up for good governance. My good friend Don Bland argues we need to find ways to serve on elections boards, too. I agree.
I remain a firm believer in finding ways to cross the aisle. Seek out someone of a different political persuasion, invite them for coffee or lunch, and listen to their concerns and find common ground. If we all did more active listening, our country could break this pattern of divisiveness.
Whether you view the New Year as a point for beginning new tasks, setting new goals, or continuing the excellent goals that you already have, be like Troy Maxson and get clear on where you want to go at this time of your life. Clarity is the mother of purpose. Having a purpose makes your life, and your faith, a force of nature.
p.s. Christmas Day witnessed the passing of the singer-songwriter, George Michael. Here's a shout-out. His thoughtful songs helped me get through a divorce. He sang, "I gotta have faith." We’ll miss you, George.