Well, here it is: New Year’s Day. Happy New Year! I’ve been wandering around the various Social Media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and my long list of blogs, and as expected, the current theme is all about new beginnings, resolutions and starting anew.
The end of a year (2011) and the beginning of a new year (2012) brings many of us to reflection. This morning’s Sunday Coffee Cup is no exception. Someone gave my wife this one last year (2011). If asking the right questions is the key to reflection (and I think it is), then we can get a good start with today’s inquisitive mug: What if money didn’t matter? What if you knew you could not fail? What if you could be anyone you wanted to be?
As I reflect on this year, I wonder, what if I’m already doing the right things. So often we look for new ideas, new habits and new practices. What if I look for what I am already doing that is working and just commit to continuing or amplifying those things? What if I begin this year with a deeper level of self acceptance for who I am and what I am already doing right? What if I stop striving to become something bigger, bolder and better than myself and just celebrate the me that already is?
Sure. I could lose a little weight, get more fit, read more, worry less, earn more, be more charitable, spend more time with family, be a better employee, achieve a few more professional/personal goals… and I probably will – because these things are important to me; always have been. Yet, I find myself wondering if I really need something new, something different in order to make this year, 2012, a great year. Isn’t it possible, that all I really need to do – is to keep doing the things that are working? Maybe that is all I really need to do in order to make it happen. Maybe it is enough to be vigilant with what is already established. Maybe if I keep doing what I’m doing – I’ll keep getting what I’m getting, which (if I’m totally honest) is pretty darn good. I do find some comfort in this thought.
Yet, the biggest comfort comes from my conviction that in the final analysis, the contribution that I make to my life is only a small part of what makes my life meaningful. It is true that no one can live my life other than me. It is true that I have full responsibility for my choices. It is also true that we all live in relationship to each other and often the significance of our living is manifest in countless and often unknown ways beyond our individual intent. How many of us have heard a student comment on the life changing actions of a single teacher only to have that teacher confess surprise at that revelation. I’ve had many experiences where people whose lives have been affected by moments from my years in ministry tell me of significant and life changing events that were ‘news to me.’ There is more going on than just what we determine and choose. It is my conviction that there is a loving, caring God at work in our lives doing far more for us and with our actions than we can fully understand.
2012 promises to be a great year because it doesn’t depend on me. I’ll do my part, for sure. I’ll keep doing the things that are working. I’ll try a few ways to better myself – and at the end of December 2012 I am already certain that –God willing – I will be celebrating another year that is great beyond my expectations.
Happy New Year.