Grace, thank you for my New Year’s Theme, which is Psalm 98:1 “Sing a new song unto the Lord.” I am definitely seeking to find a new song because I have definitely worn out the old one. No longer will I be singing the lyrics of the past. I want to sing the lyrics of the present and the moments that I live today with my children, my friends, and my family.
I attended my friend’s baptism at a Pasadena church and the senior pastor talked about the grooves on records. Just like those pressed onto records to play music, our habits and patterns in life have become the grooves that play our own song. How appropriate was that to my New Year’s Theme? I thought about the patterns in my life and how they have impacted the choices I make and the situations I have been in.
This year, as you know, I decided to really reflect on these patterns and habits. I want to identify the “why” and “how” so I can change the grooves in my life. Understanding these past grooves will help me redefine the music I want to play. I can hear it now, Grace, the sweet melody of my song. I want a perfect harmony today and will strive each day to be in harmony with God. If I can do that, Grace, I think I would hear the perfect song in my heart every day. I’m ready to get my new groove on! Are you ready to dance, Grace?
Guiding Lesson: Eve, I am always ready to dance. I may not have much rhythm on the dance floor like other angels but I definitely have lots of soul when it comes the dance of life.
It sounds like you are ready to go deeper in your reflection. Here are some questions and ideas (from the book “May I Have This Dance” by Joyce Rupp) for you to ponder as you try to uncover the “why” and “how” of your old patterns and habits.
As you begin, make sure you light a candle symbolizing the light that will illuminate your mind and heart so you can clearly know God’s will for you. Always take time to breathe and pray before this exercise to open yourself up to the Spirit of Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge. Now draw columns and mark each column on top with the following: Physical, Spiritual, Occupational, Emotional, Mental, Social, Family and Financial. Then on the left hand side write the following & answer this for each area.
- What in your life has blessed, affirmed, enliven and enriched you?
- What situations in life have challenged, tested, discouraged or destroyed you?
- What are the roadblocks, detours or dead ends (such as destructive behaviors, negative patterns of thinking or abusive situations) that you have encountered in each area? Have you ignored them and thought you can still get through to the other side but found yourself in a ditch?
- What are your inner resources?
- Do you need to refuel?
- Are you ready to continue on the road?
- Has your spiritual suitcase worn thin with all the clutter you have stuffed into it along the way?
- Where can you simplify, have less or do without so that your life is not a blur of activity?
- What type of nourishment will you provide yourself on your journey? Do you settle for only junk food for your mind and heart?
- Do you need to change your style of travel or take a new road?
- Are you moving too slowly or too quickly?
- Can you risk taking the back roads, the unfamiliar ones, where much is hidden or unknown beauty is often found?
- Are you aware of the people who are on your road? Do we stop to meet them, listen to them, learn from them?
- Is there a part of your life that needs to be repaired by hope and a renewed belief in life because of disappointments or discouragements?
After completing the above, I promise you that if you do this exercise, you will start seeing patterns. With this newly found information, you can start composing your new song by writing down your new focus in each area/column. Once you have done this, you can create a vision board. This will require a poster board and magazines. Cut out images and / or words that reflect your inspired future. Your vision board will serve as a map and reminder throughout the year. Now you can begin to let go of the old song and replace it with a new one since you have the roadmap in front of you.
Eve, I leave you with the poem by Joyce Rupp.
there I am
in Ezekiel’s valley,
one heap among many,
just another stack
of old, dry bones.
feel this way,
too to say nothing of
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
and forgotten pleasures,
sold like a soul
to a gluttonness world
feeding on my frenzy
and anxious activity.
but just when
the old heap of bones
seem most dry
a strong Breath of Life
stirs among my dead.
Someone named God
comes to my fragments
and asks, with twinkling eye:
“May I have this dance?”
the Voice stretches into me,
a stirring leaps in my heart,
lifting up the bones of death.
then I offer my waiting self
to the One who’s never stopped
believing in me,
and the dance begins.