If I asked you – what is your most common New Year’s resolution? You might say: to lose weight, save money, eat healthier, get rid of the excess or live a simpler life. My personal new year’s resolutions have almost always been to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. However, as I made these resolutions I quickly found myself struggling and losing interest. Where am I now? I’m back to the same place where I started because (for whatever reason) I thought I could do this on my own. My good intentions were just that – good intentions, but lacked space and strength to follow through.
So I asked myself, “what if the resolution is good but the timing is not?” Let’s take the month of November. It begins with honoring the Saints and looking to them for inspiration and examples of living, praying for our beloved dead, experiencing family, friends and food at Thanksgiving along with a refocused effort to be thankful for our many blessings… only to be inundated with shopping ads and once in a lifetime “deals” for things we never knew we needed. Really? We just came off the readings at mass reminding us of the end times, the last things, don’t be attached to anything because death is waiting….like a thief in the night. Be ready! Be watchful! Because you know not the day or time. What a range of emotions and experiences all during one short month. There seems to be too much noise, stimulation, and restlessness that I find myself desiring quiet, stillness and peace. Boom! Advent arrives. Thank you, Jesus, for answering my prayer. This is the space I need to contemplate my initiatives and follow through this time – slowly, steadily and consistently. I breathe in and out and I’m ready to begin.
So instead of making a New Year’s resolution in January, I’m challenging you to make a resolution for the New “Church” Year. Think of it like this….a resolution with God’s help right from the get-go! That’s right. The Church encourages us to examine our spiritual lives in preparing the way for the Lord during this season of Advent.
These four weeks are a time for us to humbly and mightily prepare ourselves for the birth of Jesus.
Our priest reminded us that from Advent to Advent, we should never be the same. We should be changed. We have this dedicated time to prepare our physical and spiritual selves along with our hearts for the coming of Christ. Join me in making a resolution to take better care of ourselves in 2017 beginning now, during this Advent season, and beyond. If anything, you will be able to tell your friends that you’ve had a 4 week “head start” on the whole New Year’s resolution thing.
Check out the following Scriptures that will help you and I connect ourselves more closely to Christ in the things that we want to change so that we can take care of our temples and settle in to the healthier lifestyle and wellness that we so desire.
1) “Take and eat; this is my body.” Matthew 26:26
- Partake in the heavenly food that nourishes and strengthens our souls at Mass every Sundayand at least once during the week at a daily Mass
- Keep food and snacks in the right order and perspective. Appreciate it; enjoy it but know that healthy food nourishes and strengthens our bodies so we can do the work and activities that have been prescribed for us
2) “Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into the nostrils, the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7
- Our very breath and life is gift from our Loving Creator
- Do your best to offer your life, purpose, mission and work as your gift back to God
- Take 3 deep breaths in and out and do the following:
- Thank God for your life and commit to do your best
- Thank God for your struggles and trust that he will help you through them
iii. Thank God for your joys and look to see where he was present in them
3) “But whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14
- Water is needed for survival
- Consuming enough water throughout the day; it is one of the most basic necessities
- Take a drink of your water and pay attention to its cool, crisp, refreshing, rejuvenating and quenching properties
- Cherish it and be grateful that we have access to clean drinkable water
4) “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
- Find time to rest and go to sleep!
- Give yourself permission to take a nap – if you need one
- Give your worries and anxieties to Jesus Christ
- Chain them to the cross so you don’t try to take them back
- Take this time to name all of the things that you might be worried about and in your mind – use an image to help you “give them to God”
5) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all you ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
- The Lord will give you direction and guidance on this journey
- When challenges arise, ask for help, guidance and truth
6) “The Lord is my strength and my shield, in whom my heart trusts. I am helped, so my heart rejoices; with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7
- When we try something or begin a new journey, we start from a weaker, unfamiliar, unsure perspective
- To “try” means to make an attempt or effort to do something
- Effort requires willingness, strength, and a desire to take action to change and affect something
- Q: Where does my strength come from? A:The Lord who is my strength and shield
- When I allow the Lord to help me, I WILL succeed in more ways than I can ever imagine
7) “What is impossible for human beings is possible for God.” Luke 18:27
- Our wellness/health challenges give us an opportunity during Advent to hope and persevere in pursuit of being who God created us to be
- Challenges can be endured and even conquered with help from God; even the things that seem impossible or unattainable
- The Transfiguration storyalso comes to mind when reflecting on the mission before us; Jesus is transfigured and became a shining light. God wants to fill us with his love and strength so that we may be transformed to shine brightly in a seemingly dark world. Stand up and let your light shine in brilliance!!
Now that you have added a few more scripture tools to your health and wellness toolbox, take a few minutes to think about where and what you were doing last Advent. Next, think about where you are now – this Advent. Finally, think about what you want to be able to say that you have accomplished by next Advent.
Let’s journey together for “God will supply whatever you need in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19