Over the next week or two, we will be looking at January - because for some of us, it's a long depressing dark month. Christmas joy has evaporated, even though in one sense it is always Christmas — because Christ, Immanuel, is always with us.
Keeping the rejoicing going can be hard work in January. We forget it's still Christmas - the wise men haven't even arrived until Epiphany, on January 6th. The decorations go up so early in late November or early December that they no longer stay up until Epiphany as a reminder that it is still Christmas. When Love came down - and stayed.
But there can be good things in January so we'll look at Resolutions and alleviating the blues and hibernating and New Things. Join us? Sign up to get them all delivered straight into your inbox!
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS: Love them or hate them, they are in the air right now.
New Year’s Day is nearly here. A day to begin afresh. A day bursting with new year zeal, an unmarked fresh-snow-fall start. A day for making Resolutions, writing down lists and intending, really and truly intending, to keep to the list THIS year.
At least for the whole of January.
Smugly, the list grows; lose those extra pounds, go to bed earlier, join – and go to – the gym, tidy the house, find a new job, declutter, read the Bible every day, pray, keep in touch with friends ….
But how to keep them?
Maybe I’m starting from the wrong place.
Maybe my lists are impossible to keep.
Maybe I am setting myself up for failure from the start.
One thing I have discovered about myself over the many years I’ve known me is that I am hopeless at long term implementation. I can set out with good intentions but soon they change and become impossible tasks, things I am failing to do, hopelessly unattainable aspirations. And the failure leads into that horrible downward spiral -
low self esteem
failure – again.
It worked – for a while. I even made myself a star chart and awarded myself lots of stars for tasks accomplished everyday. But basically the things which I continued to do even without a star were those which energised me, brought enjoyment, caused enthusiasm. No chart was needed for them.
Re-reading children’s literature. Walking in beautiful countryside. Seeing my family.
And reading the Bible in a year – which I have accomplished this year because a friend recommended a great way to do it. Guthrie’s Chronological Reading of God’s Story - I have enjoyed and appreciated the overview and the thoughts and the questions and also that it’s 6 days a week so there was always a catch-up day if I needed it.
And it’s on my Kindle, so it was easy to take with me to read wherever I am. It too brought enjoyment and enthusiasm.
So why not make my Resolutions things I know I will enjoy, things which energise and enthuse me?
I will walk every day. Easier too now I have a puppy dog!
I will have a date night with my husband once a week.
I will re-read a favourite book on alternate months.
I will have a long warm bubble-bath occasionally and read in the bath!
I will nourish my soul – for me, that means short meaningful Scripture passages to read, times of silence and reflection, prayer walks. Each of those regularly; but not necessarily every day. What will be constant is connecting to God, building my relationship with Him.
Why punish myself or set myself up for failure with a long list of things I don’t really want to do? Why not plan to do what energises, encourages, enthuses - for then I feel better and only then will I be able to tackle some of the areas that formerly would have comprised the Resolution lists.
I shall keep my new year’s resolutions: because they are the very things I want to do. In fact, I am looking forward to them. So I shall start now. I’m off to nourish my soul.
What helps you to keep your Resolutions?
What will energise and enthuse and encourage you, so that you are able to tackle the less liked areas?
Share this blog with your friends and find out their Resolutions too?
And check back in a couple of days to read the next January instalment - why not sign up right now, so you don't miss it, and have it delivered to your email inbox.