In Which I Refuse to Make New Year’s Resolutions
And then try to convince you to make a big one with me.
I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say God doesn’t put stock in our 365/24/7 way of tracking time. I mean, I could be wrong (Don’t tell my kids. Or my husband.), but I just have this sneaking suspicion that he doesn’t pay much attention to the fact that we recently started a new calendar year. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. And it’s a good enough reason for me not to bother making New Years resolutions, right? Plus there’s the fact that I just absolutely hate making resolutions. So there’s that. But whatever. I do not make New Year’s resolutions, and I rarely even take stock of the previous year to plan or set goals for the next year. Not in any meaningful way, at least.
This year, however, the stars aligned or something crazy, and I actually find myself reflecting on 2015 and sort of setting some goals. (Which I won’t deny makes me feel a bit self-congratulatory to be participating in this cultural phenomenon as I read the Facebook feed where people are talking about their determination to keep their resolutions or about their imminent fall off the wagon from their six-day streak of healthy eating and daily exercise.) Really though, I’m taking stock not because it’s a new year, but because I’m writing the summary of what our Hands and Feet social transformation ministry did in 2015 to go into a report for our annual meeting next week. I hadn’t planned for this to be my first post of 2016, but I’ve been doing a little analysis of our year, thinking about where we go from here, and I wanted to share with you a little bit.
What I find is that 1) I’m pretty much just tickled pink with what God has led us to do, and 2) I’m seriously excited to kick off 2016. I love what we’ve been doing! We are serving:
- Students at Risk
- Folks with Food Insecurity
- Families in Crisis
- Single Moms and their Children
- The Poor
- The Homeless
- The Sick and their Families
- Adults with Special Needs
Great list, right? I could write a much longer list of things we’ve done over the last year but I’ll spare you. (You’ll have to come to the Annual Meeting for that!)
But lest we (I) get tempted to use the list as a tool to measure our impact and determine areas or populations we may be “missing,” let us (me) just take a second to remember that of course it’s not about the list of whom we serve or even what we do for them. It’s not at all about who, how many, how much, or how often.
It’s about serving Christ in others, especially those in need.
It’s about discovering Christ through that service, especially service to those who are critically underserved.
It’s about building relationships, especially relationships in which those others become less “them” and we become less “us,” and together, the whole lot of us become the veritable hands and feet of Christ.
So in these early stages of the New Year, I feel compelled to look at what we did over the last year with a bit of a critical lens, though each activity, each project has given me great pleasure in knowing we are together in our mission and that we are of one heart and mind about serving. I feel the Holy Spirit in our work together. I see God at work when we join each other to serve, and I hope you do too.
I do wonder though, if we’re possibly poised, after this glorious year of building new relationships and exploring new areas of ministry, to take it a step further and to plunge a bit deeper. I wonder if Jesus is calling us to greater and more profound service. I wonder if he is calling us to step out of our comfort zone, away from our own privilege, and to serve in ways that are less comfortable for us, require more of us spiritually, and demand more of us corporally.
If I’m totally honest with myself, the service we’ve done has not caused me personally very much discomfort. Though I have been pushed to look at my own privilege, particularly when serving meals to people living in tents, I have, for the most part, served how and where I am comfortable serving. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’ve been serving from my abundance. An abundance of time, of energy, of skills, of material things. I suspect I’m not unique. I give what I have, whether it’s time, talent, money or skills. But am I open to giving when it’s riskier to give? Or when I don’t have the skills or knowledge? Will I say “yes” if God asks me to serve in a way that is not easy, that in fact might be really difficult? Will you?
As I sit here reviewing our past year, I wonder if you’re ready to take a leap of faith with me into this New Year and possibly some new areas of ministry.
Did you know there are people in McKinney who are homeless — in the traditional sense of homelessness? Meaning they’re sleeping outdoors, not being passed around from couch to couch in other people’s homes which is more typical of the suburbs. They’re actually sleeping outside. What if God is calling us to address this unthinkable need right here in our own back yard? Are you ready to join me, even if we have no clue where to start or what to do?
Did you hear Father Mike in a recent sermon when he mentioned his dream of a food truck to feed the hungry? What if we had had a food truck and our trailer packed with clothing and other items to take to the people who just lost homes in the tornadoes? Are you ready to join us, even if such an idea is scary and feels really really big?
In this New Year, will you make a resolution with me (gasp!) to be bolder in our prayers? Let’s ask God to show us what amazing plans he has for us in our social transformation ministry. Aren’t you curious about what he’s got in store? And then, can we be even bolder still? How about together we have firm and steady faith that he’ll bless us abundantly with every last one of the skills and resources that we will inevitably need to do his will?
So. How about it? Who’s in?