2018: Five New Year's Resolutions

Author: Fr. Ryan Service

Picture: Andy Drozdziak

2018: Five New Year's Resolutions

New year, new hope, new opportunities: Fr. Ryan Service shares five new year's resolutions for 2018.                                                                                                       

1. Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is not just a ‘churchy’ thing. Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg made the resolution to write a thank you note each day for a year to overcome his critical attitude.  I recently heard the story of a lady who, at the end of every day, gives thanks to God for five things. She finds God in the detail. On her bad days, she does not give up. She thanks God for ten things instead! Let 2018 be the year we challenge ourselves to be thankful even where we cannot see the immediate blessing: “I will bless the Lord at all times.” (Psalm 34:1)

What five things are you thankful for today?

2. Turn Outwards

Whilst new year’s resolutions are often all about me, Christ calls us beyond the island of self. We can make simple changes by being more ‘present’ to the people we encounter. For instance, when we are at the till, do we keep using our phone or talk to the person serving us? Does our phone usage replace conversation over meals?

3. Stick With It

There is something about commitment, particularly in connection to our worship communities. Perhaps we are on the lookout for better worship or thinking we will give church one last chance. There is great worth in spending time with a particular community. Belonging needs more than a smiling welcome team and decent refreshments to develop. Belonging needs time- our time. After all, we are all looking for that “somewhere I belong”.

4. Be Media-Savvy

In a supposed post-truth age where fake news circulates, we should take care in what we share. We may not have time to research every news item and verify every image, but we can hit pause before we hit like or share. We are called to discern what we digitalise. I learnt this in a real way when walking into a new job and meeting my colleagues, supposedly for the first time. After friendly greetings, one of them said: “We already knew what you looked like. We found you on Facebook”. Social media usage denies us that vital first impression in person.

We have the power to allow our digital impression to be a good one. Pope Francis offers us a way to discern by talking explicitly of “sins of communication.”   Do we hear and present both sides of an argument? Do we dig up and spread old scandal? Maybe Paul’s words can be our motto for 2018: “Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour.” (Ephesians 4:25).

5. Step Out In Faith

Leaving their fishing nets behind as the first followers of the Lord made absolutely no business sense. No matter how we sugar-coat the scene, it took great courage to drop their nets and follow the Lord.

The day I was deciding to apply for the Archdiocese of Birmingham to train for ministry, I received an offer letter with financial support for a Masters course. Two paths were clear. This dilemma ensured I did not blindly follow the Lord. The Lord invites us to make real decisions and sometimes it is between two “goods”.

In 2018, how will you step out in faith? Are you waiting for someone to ask you to be involved in a ministry? Are you wishing you signed up to a Bible course? Drop those nets and put yourselves forward. 

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