Blessings vs. Goals

Happy New Year! The first day of 2012 is almost over, and it’s nearly time to say goodnight. Last night’s New Year’s Eve celebrations held some traditional board games, California apple cider, and some midnight cheers. Our celebrations are pretty low key, but it isn’t every day that one gets to boast about playing an entire game of Monopoly. Wits and Wagers, Quirkle, the Pigs Dice Game and a localized version of Monopoly all populated our kitchen table last night, and those three together brought in loads of laughter.

Guessing how high a pig can jump

The service at my parents’ church this morning moved me more than I have been moved in quite some time. I listened and tried to sing along to the multilingual service which included songs in Hindi, Spanish, and English, as well as scripture in American Sign Language and German, in addition to the languages already mentioned. I love the richness that this diversity brings to life, and the beauty that we can see in the cultures of others as reflected through their words. I learned that someone I went to high school with is doing awesome work in the community working as an AmeriCorps member here in the county. Hearing encouraging stories about how lives are changing gives me encouragement and motivation as I go back to work this week. It blessesme and keeps me set on my path to make a difference in the communities that I participate in.

I know that this is the first day of a new year and that all kinds of goals and resolutions have been made today, but I have no resolutions to make. I think we can start new commitments any day, any week, any month, and that the new year is not inherently any better of a day to declare a new goal than December 18th or August 9th. They’re all days, and we get opportunities every day to change the way we live in order to make something better.

Instead of thinking about resolutions, I’m taking a beat from today’s message and thinking about some questions that the Pastors posed.

#1- What do you hope happens this year?

  • This year I hope that my new website becomes a place for conversation and communication about a topic that is important.
  • I hope that I will be able to publish writing in some form other than a personal blog.
  • I hope to moved to Austin, TX.
  • I hope to make a positive impact in my community.
  • I hope to be present for the birth of my first niece/nephew.

#2-How has God blessed me in the past year?

  • With a meaningful position working with individuals in need.
  • With a supportive family.
  • With a wonderful new sister-in-law.
  • With the ability to live in a new place.
  • With friends who keep in touch, play board games, and keep in touch, even when we live hundreds of miles apart.

#3- How will you bless others this coming year?

  • I will be available to listen when someone needs to talk.
  • I will encourage, challenge, discipline, motivate, and teach the children in our after school program.
  • I will bake and cook and give food to others.
  • I will seek out conversations with people I wouldn’t normally talk to.
  • I will give more to non-profits, churches, and individuals in need.

Somehow, thinking about the year ahead in these terms encourages me a lot more than thinking up resolutions. I could join the rest of the world in setting goals about eating healthier, exercising more, and investing more time into relationships, but instead, I’m going to focus on the blessings that I have received, and the ones that I can give. I agree with the speaker this morning who said we have been blessed in order that we may be a blessing. Hopefully I’ll remember to live with that in mind for more than a couple months.


I turn the questions to you:

#1- What do you hope happens this year?

#2- How has God blessed you this past year?

#3- How will you bless others this year?