by Christine Sine
This year I am determined to start off on the right foot and for that rather selfish reason chose Starting the 2020s on the Right Foot as our Godspace theme for January 2020. Here is what I suggested to our authors:
I know that most of us feel that we don’t really start off right and as we look ahead the next decade looks pretty scary but what advice do you have for our Godspace readers? What words of wisdom, hope or promise do you have? What suggestions do you have for spiritual or even physical practices that can help our followers deal with the struggles and challenges ahead?
To be honest I think I need a bit of advice myself and am hoping that some of the other Godspace authors can provide it for me. Starting on the right foot has been a little challenging this year. Tom and I have not taken our usual New Year’s retreat yet and I find that my energy and focus is distracted by the horror of what is going on with the bushfires in Australia. It has paralyzed my creative energy.
However I am starting to find my direction and wanted to share some of what I have been doing that has helped.
Looking back over the last year has been both inspiring and hope giving for me.
I asked myself 4 questions:
- What were the joyspots?
- What were the challenges?
- What must I repent of?
- What am I grateful for?
2019 was a year filled with both delight and challenge. The joy of giving birth to The Gift of Wonder, as well the births of great nieces and nephews in Australia has left me with a warm glow. Unfortunately it has been tinged by the sadness of deaths within the family and of good friends as well as the illnesses of others. I have struggled too with the political situation in the U.S and the horror of the climate crisis we are facing. It has not been an easy year.
However as I looked through my journal it was not these major events that caught my attention, it was the accounts of waffle breakfasts and dinners orchestrated by our downstairs tenants. They were a special gift of love to us in the midst of the challenges.
It is often the small things like this that give me hope I realize, like the “star sky” I snapped a photo of a couple of days ago. Things like this are so easily forgotten or glossed over when we look back. Our memories have little place for them unless we actively work to bring them to mind.
What are the small and seemingly insignificant events of 2019 that give you hope for the 2020s?
Wisdom and Discernment
I find myself less inclined to set lots of goals these days and more inclined to listen for God in stillness at the beginning of each day and reach discernment that will nudge me into the next steps God wants me to take. Again there are several questions that come to mind:
- What spiritual practices draw me closer to God?
- What inspires and fills me with awe?
- What helps me slow down and take notice?
- What helps me focus and makes me less inclined to distraction?
Here it was not so much my journal that I looked back through but this blog. I smiled at the new spiritual practices I have discovered like making apple cider; and singing together some that I have reconnected to like walking barefoot and beach combing. These unexpected spiritual practices have enriched and delighted my soul. And I look forward with the hope and expectation that new practices will arise in 2020 with a similar impact
What practices did you create or re-discover in 2019 that enriched and renewed your faith?
Look Forward with Hope
I know that many people are struggling with where to find hope in the current political environment. And it is hard. Here are my questions:
- What are my dreams for the coming year?
- What are my fears?
- What provides the balance that I need?
As I commented above it is often the small and seemingly insignificant things that give us hope. As I look ahead I feel that God is reminding me of that. My dreams for book writing, gardening and travel don’t all need to be big. There needs to the balance of small and insignificant dreams that might in fact change me more than anything else.
A couple of years ago I created an epiphany garden that was one of the simplest I have made. It was all about balance. It was inspired by John O’Donohue words in Beauty: The Invisible Embrace : Stillness is the canvas against which movement can become beautiful. For motion to be fully appreciated it must move against a background of stillness. When everything is in motion, we end up with chaos and frenzy.
As I re-read my blog post on that I realized I still struggle to find balance. Activism comes naturally to me, contemplation does not. So once again at the beginning of this year I remind myself of the need for seasons of stillness and contemplation. It is this that fuels my activistic spirit in a healthy way.
How do you find balance between contemplation and activism as you look to the future?