Well, I’ve had plenty of time to overthink about my New Year’s resolutions. Seems like it’s time to actually write a post about them, and see how I did on last year’s resolutions. First, the review! What did I hope to accomplish in 2022?
- Continue to work on building a habit of daily prayer and incorporating more silent prayer and time in Adoration. – No real change on this front. I had blocks of time where I did better, probably larger blocks that in previous years, but there were definitely gaps. I did spend more time in Adoration, than the year previously, but not as much as I originally envisioned.
- Continue with the changes I’ve made to our family’s diet while always striving to do better, specifically through including a wider variety of whole foods at each meal. – This all went out the window when we started fostering at the end of March. I relied on so much convenience food and take out during that stretch. And I don’t regret doing what I needed to do to during that time, but it was hard to recover.
- Continue with my exercise routine and try to increase in strength. – I have kept up with my exercise routine, and I don’t beat myself up when circumstances arise that keep me from getting to the gym. I’m so much stronger now, and its definitely helped with my caregiving tasks.
- Not take on any new projects!!!!!! I have a list of projects to work on for Accepting the Gift, and I’m compiling a list of home and crafting projects to focus on finishing. At the end of the year, hopefully I’ll have a list of accomplishments to be proud of. – I think I did good here. I really did focus on Accepting the Gift (ATG) projects, and some specific home projects. I didn’t complete as many home projects as I wanted, but they’ll just carry over into the new year.
- I would like to get off social media entirely and deactivate my accounts, however, that might become a big project if I try to move groups or save information from various platforms. So, I need to think about this a bit more, but maybe just figuring out logistics should actually be the resolution. – I did not deactivate any accounts, and I went through periods of outsourcing my ATG social media and taking apps off my phone, and then other periods of incessantly checking things way too much. Right now, I’m not posting much on social media, and I’ve taken the apps off my phone. I’m definitely checking things less overall. I did explore options for moving different groups and services off social media and onto the ATG website and it’s a process. Maybe this is the year I carve out time to do that.
So, I don’t think I did too terrible. You won’t be surprised then to find that this year’s resolutions simply build on last years. Hopefully that doesn’t make me too boring. On to 2023!
1.Be focused on spiritual improvement this year. I have a detailed list of specifics, like how many times a month I want to get to daily mass, confession, adoration, etc., but overall I can sum it up by saying I just want to put more emphasis on growing spiritually in a way I’ve never felt called to do in the past. I’ve always had resolutions (at the beginning of each year and during Lent) to “pray more” or what have you, but this year, it’s more than that. I want to spent more of my life focused on what really matters so I can hopefully better discern God’s plan for my life.
I think I often pray in haste, asking or thanking God for whatever without ever listening for a response. I sit in Mass with my mind somewhere else, running through my to do list. I go through the motions of a Catholic life, but am I actually engaged with God? I think its common for me to assume that because something I’m doing, or writing, or pursuing is “the will of God for me” because the project is “good”, but really- how do I know it’s what I should be doing? Is it because I want it to be important enough to take up my time, or because it is actually worthy of my time? Is my faith one more item on a list to squeeze into my day, or am I living a faithful life while I go about my day?
More than ever it seems to me that if I put more time and effort into spiritual growth, everything else will fall into place. And if I put myself in God’s presence, and remove more worldly distractions, I will be able to more clearly discern what I should be focused on in my life.
So much of the world is fighting for my attention. Everything from billboards, ads, sponsored posts, and the pop ups in the app in front of me. And how often do I give my attention willingly to these apps, videos, articles, etc. that offer little in return and fill in what quiet space in my day the Lord may be trying to use to reach me. I’ve been wondering lately if part of the reason we have a vocations crisis (among many other reasons) is that young people are so distracted by our modern world, they can’t even hear God’s call. They might have a vocation but because their focus is always on something else, the thought can’t ever cross their mind. Think about distractions 100 years ago and now. People can always find ways to fill their time, and avoid God if they’d like, but now I think it’s harder to get away from everything actively fighting for our attention. It requires a much more concerted effort.
The world around us is never silent long enough for us to think. And even when we find a quiet moment, our minds are racing. I don’t think many of us even know how to silence the thoughts that are one part catchy songs, one part rumination on a previous online post, and one third worry about mundane items. And if we find ourselves in an environment that is not actively seeking out our attention, like nature, are we even able to recognize the true, good and beautiful things that are worthy of our attention without them smacking us on the head? So much ugliness is forcing its way into our lives and something has to move out of the way for that to happen. What are we losing?
I can’t lock myself in a convent. I can’t become a hermit, nor do I want to. But I want to remove distractions that keep me from a deeper spiritual life. I want a closer relationship with Christ and I need to remove the obstacles that not only keep me from Him but keep Him from reaching me. I don’t have a perfect solution, or resolution, but when I say “spiritual improvement in 2023”, know that this is what I’m trying to tackle. And if I successfully deactivate my social media accounts, you’ll know why.
2.Otherwise, in the health realm, I want to keep up with my exercise routine and instead of a food based resolution that focuses on physical health, I’m going to move towards a way of eating that reinforces my spiritual health as well; which mean avoiding gluttony, depriving myself of certain foods/drinks or portion sizes, not wasting food, and fasting. But always making sure that I am strong and energetic enough to properly care for my family.
So, some pretty lofty spiritual goals. I must be a glutton for punishment, because I truly believe when you say stuff like, ‘Hey God, I want to get closer to you.’ He finds really uncomfortable ways to make that happen. But I’m hoping it’s also going to be a year of joy and fruitfulness. Please God, emphasis on the JOY AND FRUITFULNESS.
I’m not a fan of the random word of the year, but I did pick a saint this year (not randomly, I just felt called to “adopt” her): St. Rita. And of course, I spun the wheel and got a mermaid as my beast. She’s a whole lot less hairy than 2022’s Big Foot and hopefully is an indication of many more beach trips to come! (Make sure to try the Random Beast Spinner and get your own beast of the year! Share it in the comments below.)
And if you’re interested, all previous resolution posts HERE. Happy 2023 y’all!