I have a friend who refuses to go to the gym in January. He doesn’t have any particular aversion to gyms, except in this first month of each year. “It’s far too crowded with all the New Year Resolutions vying for equipment,” he retorts. “It’s one thing to battle people; it’s another to challenge their resolutions. They are not so determined in February.” I never admitted to him that I was one of those resolute “January gym-goers” crowding his space.
Welcome, 2019! Tis the season for making (and perhaps breaking) New Year Resolutions. We are eager to see transformations of various kinds in the coming months.
I was in middle school at a summer camp when someone asked me how often I ate. “None of your business” is what I wanted to reply, but believing it to be a rhetorical question, I maintained my composure and simply said, “Three times a day.” Most of us in first-world countries have the privilege to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. His second question was striking: “You feed your body three times a day, but how often do you feed your soul? How many times a day do you sit with God in prayer and study the Scriptures?” The question has stayed with me for years.
How often do I feed my soul? How often do I tend to the Holy Spirit residing in me? Why do I so easily prioritize my physical needs above my spiritual well-being?
I found a quote on Pinterest that reads: “Your diet is not only what you eat. It is what you watch, what you listen to, what you read, and the people you hang around with. Be mindful of the things you put into your body emotionally, physically and spiritually.”
I love this advice. We live in a crazy, chaotic world that displaces any natural inclinations we may have toward mindfulness. If we are to be of good health physically, emotionally and spiritually, then we must be mindful and prayerful. We must be attentive to the needs within us and around us. Mother Frances Dominica writes, “There is no limit to the ways in which God may make himself known. At every turn in our lives, there can be a meeting place with God. . . . We have only to want him, now at this moment and at any moment in our lives, and he is there, wanting us, longing to welcome us, to forgive us all that has gone before that has separated us from him.”
This January, I challenge you all to a season of mindfulness and of prayer. Set aside time each day to devote to the light of God shining within you. Just as you feed your body, feed the fire of Christ’s love within, that it may burn bright through your daily life and shine for the world. Cultivate a practice of prayer and be transformed by the God who comes, faithfully.