Here is some variations on the standards as we embark on the adventure of a great new ministry year.
1. Lose wait. How much time we spend waiting around for the past to be completely resolved or the future to be absolutely locked in! Two of the holiest words in the Lord's Prayer are, "this day". disheartened Christian hermits were guided to repeat a sacred word to break their despair. It was the word, "today". This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!
2. Quit smoking...about past failures. It was said that Saint Ignatius had a startling belief that baffled his peers: he really believed that God forgave him when he confessed sins. It is not our Christian duty to be less forgiving of ourselves then God is. Quit smoking!
3. Learn something new...about the work of the Holy Spirit. Instead of always rehearsing your limits of love, compassion, and forgiveness speak the words of the prophet Isaiah saying, "I am done, I can go no further." Inhale. Then say, "But by your Holy Spirit, you can make me more than what I can imagine!" Watch the Spirit work in the midst of your surrender.
4. Eat a healthier diet...of media. Choose what you ingest every day. Junk food is junk food is junk food. What is sweet to the ears can be toxic to the soul. What doesn't uplift can destroy. "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:8
5. Travel to new places...like an afternoon local mission or a week at Red Bird Mission in Kentucky with the St. Andrew family in July. Journey out of your comfort zone, to greet the face of Jesus, in the new place. It could be in the face of a homebound church member, a homeowner who could use your basic skills to make essential repairs they cannot afford to maket o their home, or a child who simply needs you to read to them in school or show them some love in Sunday school.
6. Handle stress better and enjoy life more. Thomas Merton writes, "No despair can alter the reality of things or stain the cosmic dance which is always there. We are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds, and join in the dance." More vigorous despair never overcomes despair. Break the cycle by swaying to the music of God's graceful presence.
7. Exercise more… compassion. Instead of standing in judgment of the flaws and failures of others, become a treasure hunter for what is admirable. Your heart will begin to beat faster. Seek and discover an admirable quality… then another. The mind cannot hold compassion and judgment at the same time. Which will rule your mind in 2017?
Blessed New Year, friends!
Reprinted from our Newsletter