The start of a new year has always provided me with hope, a chance for new beginnings, a fresh start, and a time to recalibrate. It is a time when I want to remember to accept what comes my way with joy and peace as well as practice supportive habits. Attending to my spirit provides a crucial foundation for the way I want to live. The new year touchpoint puts a symbolic distance between us and the year we have had. This past year which has taken our ordered lives and brought chaos, heartbreak, and uncertainty. We have all experienced some level of disruption including loss of freedom, of health, of loved ones and our ideas of how things ought to be. I think you will join me in saying it was a year of disorder. But with disorder comes reorder. God is always calling us forward to recalibrate and refocus our vision. I find it more than a little ironic that 20/20 is perfect vision.
What does perfect vision look like in a spiritual sense? It is remaining awake and diligent, proclaiming the light, spreading words of hope, and feeding the fires of joy in our heart. Here are some practical steps to measure our spiritual foundation and goodness this year:
Be attentive. Awareness is a superpower in my book. By remaining awake and diligent, I can discern the signs of God’s intention and purpose for me. By spending time in prayer, contemplation and reading His word, I seek and learn my purpose and know His will for me. I feed myself with the soul food that nourishes and satisfies. God always meets us where we are and provides what we need.
Act. Once I have discerned my purpose and what I am being called to do, I need to act. This takes courage. Sometimes we know what God wants us to do but we do not act, either out of fear, laziness, or bad habits. Action is my word for this year. Did you know that the bible defines Goodness as action? It is not something we do only for the sake of being virtuous. In Greek, the word goodness, “agathosune” means an uprightness of heart and life. I am being called to move my 2020 contemplation into greater action, especially for Smitten with Goodness. This action is proclaiming the light and spreading words of hope.
Expect Opposition. On my spiritual journey, I need to expect opposition. This can be external and internal. Because we live in a compromised world, I must accept the reality that I lean toward sin and selfishness. What does this look like for you? For me, opposition is leaving my comfort zone and surrendering control. My co-dependent tendencies of “helping” others can quickly become me “doing” things for them. I call on the Serenity Prayer and remember wise words like “Don’t do anything for someone that they can do for themselves.” When I really have my control-freak on, I can pray this Surrender Novena which creates a shift in my heart and gives control to the one who is really in the driver seat. Here is a cool screen saver I downloaded to help me remember “Jesus you are the Lord of my year, you are the Lord of my life.”
Bring My Best to Christ. Of course, I can choose to stay in my comfort zone. When I do, I deprive those I love, and the world, of my best self. Stress and anxiety raise thier nasty heads because I am not living my purpose. Several questions that help me focus are: Am I serving with my whole mind, heart, talents, and abilities and loving with all my strength? Each one of us has gifts and talents no matter our stage in life, what are the gifts and talents I give away? Using these talents to fulfill my purpose brings peace to my world and stokes the fires of joy in my heart. We can be like the magi, the wise ones who seek Him.
Go a different route. If I want to change my life, for the better, I usually need to do something different. When I open my heart to Christ, I can expect change and to walk a different path. A path of love which is different from our current culture. In the catholic church, the month of January is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus. and today is the feast day of The Holy Name of Jesus, where Jesus receives his name “God Saves.” This devotion was popularized by St. Bernardine of Siena and is often symbolized by the monogram “IHS,” (sometimes called a Christogram), which is the first three letters of the Greek spelling of His name. Will you let His goodness save your weary, scared, or hungry soul? When I look up to His goodness, it ensures my intention and frees me from my natural impulses. I acknowledge my dependence on the Spirit within who is eagerly waiting for me to surrender and renew me.
Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new each morning; great is your faithfulness.” Focus on His truth, Lamentations 3:22-23
God always wants to bring us somewhere better – the question is will I be drawn to evolve. I think we all desire to want better for ourselves and the world around us. If we get out of our own way, we can develop, grow, and change for the good. Let’s use the action of goodness as our measure for a successful year ahead.
Have a great week and be Smitten with Goodness,