A Blogpost from Lindsey Goodyear
Happy New Year! It’s that time, again. Time for new beginnings, getting life in order, and an official New Year’s resolution. My resolution is the same as it is most years…get in better shape! Most every year, I vow to eat better, run more, and reach a certain number on the scale by a certain set date. I know if I put everything else aside, not give into temptation, and workout like crazy, those few extra pounds will be gone in no time. The New Year starts fast and furious with clean eating and exercise and starts to peter out around the end of January. My eating returns to its normal mostly healthy (but could be better) self, and the running returns to two times a week. I stay this way for most of the year and start all over again the following January. It’s frustrating, to say the least, but a trip to Messy Church has me thinking that the change to my body actually starts in my head, and not in my kitchen.
Last Saturday we sat through a fun, interactive, Messy explanation of Epiphany (the manifestation of God to the world through His son, Jesus Christ). It was exciting to see my children realize that, despite the fact that the presents have all been opened, Christmas does not end on December 25. We learned about the 12 days between Christmas and Epiphany and also learned some of the ways people celebrate Epiphany in other countries. Although it was interesting, I have to admit that my mind began to wander while sitting in that pew. Why don’t my kids know about Epiphany? Why aren’t we talking about the birth of Jesus and the significance of God’s gift to us after the lights come down and the tree is thrown out? We work vigorously through the holiday season drilling into them that “Jesus is the reason for the season”, but the second the stockings come down, it’s back to life as usual. Don’t worry, God, we will see you again next December!
This isn’t to say we don’t bring up God at all. We pray as a family and we attend Messy Church…ahem…once a month. Sigh. Then it hits me. The reason my kids don’t know about Epiphany is because I approach my relationship with God, the same way I approach my resolutions. Fast and furious until I burn out. For us, Christmas is shopping, Messy Church, “don’t forget about Jesus”, a school craft, letters, “don’t forget about Jesus!”, nativity story, Christmas goodies, “don’t forget about Jesus!”, parties, caroling, and, oh yeah, did we mention Jesus? By the time Epiphany rolls around, I’ve made up my mind that my due diligence for my kids, when it comes to God, has already been met. Our once a month trip to Messy Church and nightly prayers will take care of the rest until the next holiday season.
All of this leaves me wondering what would happen if I took a beat and just slowed down. What if my New Year’s resolution was not to hit a certain number on the scale by a certain time but rather to get healthy and stay that way for life. It would require a change in my thought process. It won’t be instant gratification but a life commitment. Now, what if I did the same thing with God? Instead of working hard just once a year to prove that my relationship with God is still on point, I make a commitment to work on my relationship with Him daily and turn it into a life goal for me and my family, and skip the fast and furious recap next year.
It won’t be easy, but most resolutions are put into place because there is a need for change somewhere in your life. And, yes, change is hard. But, your relationship with God doesn’t have to be. It’s fantastic to give back and be more Christ-like during the holidays but the amount of effort we put in during that month may not be sustainable year around. Take it slow. Look at the resolutions in your life, whatever they may be, as a marathon, not a race. If we take the time to nurture the relationship we have with God for the long haul, we can ditch the madness we create playing catch up, and instead enjoy a more realistic, viable, and more meaningful link to our beloved savior.