New Year, New(ish?) Resolution

I’ve been told it’s weird, but in an honest confession, New Years is my favorite holiday of the year, not Christmas.  In my family, I grew up in the Japanese tradition, and we tweaked it for the American experience.  We bust out all kinds of food, starting with ozoni (mochi soup) for breakfast, then teriyaki flank steak, chicken wings, salads, massive amounts of sushi, nacho dip and more laid out for you to snack on throughout the day.  The TV watching had an order too:  Rose Bowl Parade first, because my mom’s family is from Pasadena, and then football afterwards.  Between the food, the football, board games and family time where I get to hang out with my cousins, it is one of the things I look forward to the most and the reason I usually start Cornerstone’s January fast a day late.  

It’s also a time that we get to both reflect on the previous year and anticipate the next.  Lisa and I have an annual planning meeting and prayer time either just before or just after New Years, where we think about what we hope to see happen in the new year and listen for what our word of the year will be.  In previous years, it was “Foundations”, “Welcome”, “Indivisible” and this year, the word is “Trust”.  

By nature, I’m a doer.  My mind and body is often in constant motion, thanks to ADHD, and it’s how I show love to people.  Being a pastor has allowed me even more space to help and connect with people, which I do love so much.  In ministry, there’s always more to do, events to plan, people who need prayer, a meal or a connection and sometimes, I can become wrapped up in the doing too much.  While doing is good and necessary, it can mask a lack of trust in God’s plans.  Said another way, if I’m not careful, I may end up putting more trust in my ability to get things done than God’s.

So for me, my word of the year is encouraging me to slow down and hear more clearly from God.  Only spending time once a year during New Years isn’t enough quiet and stillness.  We often encourage taking just five to ten minutes to do daily devotions, but sometimes it is good to sit in the quiet longer.  Lamentations 3:25-26 reminds us clearly,
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
Jesus too took time to be away and reflect throughout his journey, even as there was work to be done (Luke 5:15-16, Mark 1:35), and especially before He was about to be crucified (Luke 22:39-45).  His trust that God would come through was so complete, that He didn’t always need to be doing, and knew that more could be done as He received through His time with the Father.  

In our walk of faith, there is the challenge of being engaged and active and being quiet and still before God. Maybe for you in the new year, God is calling you to be more active, to serve in one of Cornerstone’s ministries, or intentionally connect with a non-Christian friend.  Or maybe, like myself, God wants you to slow down and listen to Him more, be more reflective and away from the busyness of life.  It doesn’t mean your life becomes just one or the other; there should always be tension between the two.  But I would encourage you, as we spend this month of January fasting, to look at your life in sober judgment (Romans 12:3) and see how God may be calling you to live into the tension of activity and stillness.  

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