365 days to do whatever you want to do or be whoever you want to be.

Dear Members and Friends,

And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.

-Rainer Maria Rilke, 20th century

365 Days in a Year.  365 days to do whatever you want to do or be whoever you want to be.  365 days to live in the moment, practice gratitude, and embrace change.  365 opportunities to turn those resolutions into rituals.

What will you do with those opportunities, those days that stretch out ahead of you in 2018?  That is often what prompts people to consider making resolutions.  Out of a desire to be more intentional, more productive, with what one does with the days ahead.  Jim Wallis, Executive Director for the Sojourners Christian Community published his 10 Resolutions for 2018.  I won’t share all of them, but a few struck me as excellent ideas, especially for people of faith.

  1. To start each day with a “yes” to my faith!  To say “yes” to God’s love and to my allegiance to Jesus.
  2. To have the courage to say “no” when that is required, wherever it is required.
  3. To not wait to say “no” to wrong and dangerous ideas and actions until I see how others respond.
  4. To better answer the biggest challenges of 2018 by acting on my faith rather than reacting from my emotions.
  5. To spend even more time with my family.

What strikes me about his list (and this is just half of his list) is that it is clearly faith focused and God focused.  How many of our resolutions start there and remain there?  How many of our plans for those 365 days which stretch before us begin and end with God?

Perhaps the reasons God often gets pushed out or forgotten when we look to fill our days is the fast pace of life today.  If you wake up on Friday and can’t believe it is actually Friday (wasn’t it just Monday?), you probably have the experience of life slipping by at a dizzying pace.  You may feel frantic wondering how you will squeeze in all the important things, let alone all of the things that just need to happen.

If that is your experience as you enter 2018, you might try this two step-process to gain a better handle on your relationship with time.
Assemble your life garden: look at what is important to you – family, friends, career, health, music, or any number of things.  List them and consider how much time, energy and focus you give to each of them. (In other words, how much “water” they need to grow.)  Then consider what needs to be pruned and consider if there is room in the garden for any new plants when new requests for your time and energy come your way in 2018.

Cutting people who suck your time: Make a list of everyone you spend time with – at work, at home, and everywhere in between.  Notice where your time accumulates and with whom.  Consider if these interactions are promoting growth or stagnation.  Make conscious choices about who you spend your time with and become proactive about how you spend your time.

You have the ability to bring peace back into your day.  It will take consistent effort and attention, but will certainly be easier than trying to drag your way through another week, another month, another year, with the moments disappearing seemingly into thin air.  These moments come only once.  We get to choose to make the most of them.  What will you do with the 365 opportunities you have in 2018?

See you in church.

R. Steven Hudder
Pastor, Christ Congregational United Church of Christ
Palmetto Bay, Florida