Chelsea’s Contemplation

I am not normally in the habit of making New Year’s Resolutions. It has always seemed silly to me to wait until the New Year to make a change, when we can do that any time of year. But I do love the introspection and reflection present at this time of year. The natural draw to look back over the year, to examine what this year has brought for you and reflect on who you have been this year. This seems to me to be a deeply spiritual practice. It is easy in the business of day to day life to forget to reflect, to take for granted that we are living how we want to live. So this season of resolutions and reflection offers us a chance to look seriously at ourselves, to look at how we spent our time and our money this past year, how we loved well and maybe did not love so well, how we looked outside of ourselves and how we had troubles seeing past our own concerns, how we offered ourselves in service to others and how we failed to do so. And well this type of introspective examination might not be comfortable, we remember things that we would rather forget—like that haunting time that we embarrassed ourselves in front of others—when we are deeply honest with ourselves we tend to get the most out of it. When we allow ourselves to be deeply and painfully honest about who we are, we take the next step on the journey towards who we want to be. It is then that we can bring our real selves to God, the selves with bumps and bruises and chipped paint. And this is, after all, who God wants. God doesn’t want the perfect and pristine picture of ourselves that we sometimes show the world. God doesn’t want only perfect people who have no dents or chips. Jesus says, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Mark 2:17). So in this New Years’ time of reflection, may we acknowledge the good and the bad, the places where we have done God’s will and the places where we have fallen short. And may we bring both those places to God, trusting that God’s grace welcomes and heals those sick parts of ourselves.

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