And so, it's a new year.
Actually, I'm reminded that the idea that a brand new year starts on the date we designate as January 1st is very manufactured. Other cultures and peoples have their new years starting on different dates. I suspect there may be cultures that make no recognition of the beginning of a new yearly cycle at all.
Nevertheless, it's a new year, the time when people decide to fix what's wrong with themselves.
I got way too much wrong with myself to fix in a year. Pshaw. Fuhget dat.
Our Sunday School teacher Aaron (I very much like our Sunday School teacher Aaron, by the way) encouraged us this morning to think of our New Year Resolutions list not as a "to-do" list, but as a "to-be" list. Of course, the distinction is minor, considering that being anything different requires doing some things different . . . however, I still like the distinction.
In 2016, I want to be healthy.
In 2016, I want to be productive.
In 2016, I want to be physically and emotionally present with the people I love.
But one goal that is NOT on my 2016 to-be list is to be happy. I'm not saying I want to be unhappy. Rather, I have learned as I've gotten old that when I aim for happy, I get nothing. Momentary elation, if I'm lucky, but I quickly fall back into drab melancholy. Happiness is not a goal; happiness is a by-product.
And it's not a by-product of being healthy or productive or present with the people I love . . . because I've been all of those things at various times in my life and was often still miserable deep-down, if I was honest with myself. The only times I can say I was every truly happy – or a better word would be joyful – is those fleeting moments when I accomplished the last thing on my to-be list.
In 2016, I want to be intimate with God.
As often as possible. As deeply as possible. Everything else that means anything or that satisfies my soul flows from that. So, I wish the same for the rest of you.
Happy God-Filled New Year!