Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Five: Resolutions and Absolutions Edition

Lucy, the Margate (NJ) Elephant, celebrates the New Year!

The New Year has dawned! At this point, we are four days in. The photo above shows an icon of my hometown in full on celebration mode. This is, of course, typically a time when many of us try to turn over a new leaf, start a new habit, or otherwise live into the newness of the year. As for me and my house, there is a concerted effort afoot to keep a record of everything I eat, as well as the seasonal re-commitment to morning prayer. At the same time, I'm trying to cultivate a more self-accepting stance, an attitude of gentleness and forgiveness with myself when I don't keep those promises. Herewith, a Friday Five all about Resolutions and Absolutions.


1. Start by sharing your success stories with us: In the past, what resolution has been your most successful? What change have you made that has been the most beneficial, to your mood, health, finances, or other way of being in the world?

I created this Friday Five, so you'd think I'd have answers for all the questions. I don't. This one stumps me. I think the truth is, the "Resolution" model has not worked very well for me in the past. The times I've made a big change were not tied to the turning over of a page on the calendar, but a more internal sense of urgency. That may be the key for me: if I don't truly accept that there will be a significant benefit-- whether physical, emotional, or spiritual-- I'm not likely to stick with something long enough for the change to adhere.

2. What is one thing you hope to do differently this year with regard to health, either physical or spiritual? If you are satisfied with your current status in both areas, perhaps you would be willing to share something you've already done (or regularly do) to care for yourself.

That said, I do have some resolutions about my physical health this year. I've regained a significant amount of the weight I lost a few years back, though not all. I'd like to reverse that. But I'd like to do it differently. Last time I did it by means of a group that used a very rigid food plan which eliminated whole food groups. I'm not convinced that is a viable long-term strategy. So this year I'm trying to do it through an approach of moderation and forgiveness of "failures." The trick, of course, is making sure I'm not so forgiving that no progress is made at all!

3. What is one thing you hope your family (of origin, of choice, however you define your primary place of mutual emotional sustenance) will do differently this year? A new tradition for birthdays? More vacation time? Game night? Feel free to really dream about ways to deepen your connections with those you love.

My family is a terrible collection of TV and movie junkies. In fact, we've spent a lot of time in the past week in front of screens together-- which we love and enjoy, but which is probably part of my personal issue with weight control as well. I am hoping for all of us to find a way to cultivate and truly enjoy a more active lifestyle, and some of that may well be about the time we spend together.

4. What is one thing you hope your community of faith will consider doing differently this year? New music? Different approaches to preaching? Rearranging the furniture? If you are in a position to try to introduce change, share some of your enthusiasm and/ or anxiety with us!

This year I am sensing from several different sources that we will likely be moving toward a more intentional ministry around feeding the hungry. (Is that ironic, considering the above?  Hmmm.) I've hoped for several years that we might have a food pantry or weekly meal, but now I'm getting a sense that the Spirit is moving a number of us to investigate that possibility. How exciting is it when God gets involved?


5. In what area would you most like to learn to be gentle with yourself? For what would you most like to forgive yourself? Share your ideas and strategies for extending yourself the kind of grace we know we are offered by God.

I know I need to learn to forgive the lapses where diet and exercise are concerned; otherwise, the guilt I feel results in further indulging-- not a helpful cycle! Gentleness and reflection seem a better strategy than mental self-flagellation, don't you think? :-)

I will be traveling in the morning, but will check in with all our Friday Fivers in the afternoon. Let us know if you decide to play! Here's how to share your link:

<a href="the url of your blog post goes here">what you want the link to say goes here</a>


  1. Hoping for some God-stuff at the church I serve as well. (It is long....long overdue).

  2. I resonate with the need for gentleness about eating and exercise, and how self criticism makes me more likely to withdraw.

  3. food is so powerful is so any ways; thanks for playing and hosting, too!