As I was trying to figure out what to write for this New Year’s post, I originally thought I would slide stealthily into 2014, perhaps simply revisiting some ideas from last year. But God frowns on mediocrity. He is constantly calling us to himself, lovingly, gently (well, most of the time) and ever persistently. How we answer that invitation is up to us. Maybe I am supposed to step it up this year. Maybe you are, too.
We can feel him calling often, but we know that we do not always answer. What stands in the way? Maybe priorities. Maybe over-commitment. Maybe even distractions with all the blessings in our lives. Maybe deep down somewhere we fear where he might lead us. Or maybe we are just plain old lazy. I don’t know. But I do know, at least for me, there are many areas in my life where I am not a faithful steward.
So here is what I have decided to do in 2014: shape up my life in a lot of ways, some practical and some maybe not so practical. Maybe it’s cliché; maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s ambitious; maybe it’s not. I can only pray I am holding his hand and following his lead.
Here goes. In 2014, I will:
- Fall in love. God, family, boyfriend, friends, strangers. Life. Love is why we are here. Without it, nothing else makes sense. This means letting these people love me and giving my heart away in return.
- Say I love you. It is important enough for two items on the topic. I tend to live by the old adage of actions speak louder than words, but sometimes (OK a lot of the time), words are necessary and good.
- Savor people. I need to spend less time on me. Phone calls to family and friends. Visiting loved ones. Volunteering at the hospital that I will call one of these days. Look people in the eye; appreciate who they are. Spend less time talking to God and more time listening to him in adoration.
- Give until it hurts (the pocketbook that is). Budgeting is not my strong suit. At all. Bless my mother’s heart; she has helped me set one up numerous times. I need to make the effort to start one, keep it up and stretch more in what I give.
- Be uncomfortable. For relationships to grow, especially with God, it has to get uncomfortable. Change has to happen, and it will definitely hurt. I want to commit to daily prayer, introspection and discussion with God, no matter what happens each day.
- Sing a happy song. Everything I do can be worship, a gift to God — even cleaning. Instead of complaining, I can make it a regular offering and do more than what is merely necessary. My home is a blessing, and I need to treat it as such.
- Love my body. Sleep, exercise, healthy food. All very good things that do not always happen. I have a responsibility, and I have no excuses. My body is also a blessing, and I need to treat it as such. Scheduling, planning. They need to happen.
- Never stop learning. There are endless things to learn, about myself, about the Faith, about the world and about the people around me. Whether the New St. Thomas Institute, grad school or simply being more inquisitive, God is waiting to show me more of his creation.
- Grow spiritually. I started reading one chapter a day of a good spiritual book. Then I stopped. I can pick that up again, meet regularly with my spiritual director, establish more regular prayer times, examine my conscience daily, go to confession more frequently, make an effort to attend daily Mass even when it is not available here, be open to criticism, grow in little ways, look to the saints, commit more completely to my daily rosary … the list could go on, but this is a start.
- Buy a watch. Seriously. All of my watches have been out of commission for months. If I am going to do all this stuff, I am going to need to schedule and plan. Knowing the time is quite helpful.
These goals are somewhat personal to me, but I am sure you can relate. Take them, change the specifics and make them your own.
2014? Ready, set, go.
Shoot. That’s a cliché.
Jennifer Rey is the web editor of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing.