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Clergy View: New Year's Resolutions and Spiritual Health

It is that time of year where many of us sit down and look at the upcoming year and make some personal goals. More often than not these include some sort of weight loss goal or workout goal. We naturally gravitate to these physical goals because we can visually look in the mirror and be unsatisfied and especially everyone else can see those extra pounds we are carrying. These things can be powerful motivators for change.

Working on our physical health is a laudable goal, but around this time each year I often contemplate my own spiritual health and wonder if others have the same contemplations. It seems like our spiritual health takes a back burner to our physical health, but perhaps that is because we can't use our five senses to really gauge it and for the most part people can't quickly glance at us and tell whether we are spiritually in shape or out of shape.

What might be different about our resolutions if people could quickly glance at us and be able to gauge our spiritual health? These are at the top of internal questions I wrestle with this time of year and I personally look toward another new year.

I would like to invite you examine your spiritual health and ask yourself if it is where you believe it should be? If it isn't, what is one thing that you could work on this coming year that would help draw you closer to Christ and experience the love and grace that is offered?

Some of you might not know where to begin and so I want to share four practices of spiritual health that our church will be exploring during the month of January in the new year.

1. Spending time in God's Story. God has given us Holy Scriptures to help us understand ourselves and to understand God and it is important for us to spend time in that story. Perhaps you can find a devotional or Bible reading plan as a resolution for the new year.

2. Prayer. Prayer is the dynamic of conversation with God and seeking out God's will for one's life. If you think about if people don't communicate their relationship(s) suffer and it can be the same for our relationship with God. Perhaps find the rhythm of your life and when you can set aside time to listen and talk to God in prayer.

3. Holy Conversations. One of the ways our spiritual life grows and is strengthened is through conversation with others. Perhaps find a few spiritual friends that you can discuss life and faith with over coffee or a meal at least once a month.

4. Service. When we give of ourselves to others often this can lead to change within ourselves. Perhaps find some place that you can serve those who may be less fortunate or in need of help and set a goal to serve at least a couple of times in the coming year.

The list isn't exhaustive and is just a start, but my hope is that you might examine your spiritual health as you set goals for 2018. I believe the healthier our communities are both physically and spiritually, the stronger they can be in all aspects of communal life.