Checking in on the New Year

Did you make any new year’s resolutions for 2023? If so, how is it going? I pray you are finding ways to deepen your faith and make life-giving changes. I also pray you are experiencing God’s grace and being gentle with yourself.

I was going to tell you that I don’t make new year’s resolutions, I prefer to set intentions. Then I realized that if I wrote that I might sound ridiculous and pretentious. And also I would be lying. I mean, I do have an intention to give more time and energy to my writing ministry this year—and that intention comes with particular commitments for posting regularly, providing journal sheets and resource pages for my Patreon subscribers, and working on a book proposal. I suppose I could call those commitments whatever I want, but they are basically resolutions. And I made them more or less in the new year. So there you go–my new year’s resolutions.

Maybe you got a star word for Epiphany that is part of your intention for this year or that sparked some commitments/resolutions you would like to make in these beginning weeks of 2023. Maybe your word is stuck behind the “Forget the dog, beware of the kids” magnet on your fridge or taped to a corner of your bathroom mirror or serving as a bookmark or lost in the depths of your purse or pocket. (I think mine is buried in a pile of art supplies on my craft table.)

My word is “renew.” A lovely word. But I wasn’t thrilled with it at first, because I want what is new-new–I don’t want to renew. Renewing feels like more work than just getting something brand new. Right? Maybe it’s just me (and any other Enneagram 7’s out there). In these early days with my word, I’m trying to appreciate what is not new—what I already have—and consider how God might breathe new life into these familiar spaces: my work, my home, my relationships, my hobbies. What is God renewing in my life? And how can I work with God toward that renewal?

If you have a star word, I hope it leads you, somehow, to grow towards God in the months ahead. And if you don’t have a star word (or you have one that’s not doing it for you this year), may you find God’s guidance in other lights that shine in your life.

(In case you missed it, you can find a star word journal page here.)

Just for fun, here’s a list I wrote about five years ago of new year’s resolutions that might have benefitted some of the people in the Bible:
• Eve—Don’t talk to strangers.
• Sarah—Wear my wedding ring, especially when talking to kings.
• Jacob—Light the oil lamp before consummating the marriage.
• Joseph—Tell my dreams to my therapist, not my brothers.
• Moses—Practice power poses. Work on stutter.
• Balaam’s Donkey—Keep my big mouth shut.
• Samson—Grow my hair out.
• Absalom—Cut my hair.
• Elisha—Get hair plugs. Or a toupee. Also anger management classes.
• Hosea—Buy Naming Babies for Dummies.
• Peter—Think before I speak. Think before I act. Stop with the compulsive lying. . . . Maybe get a therapist.
• Martha—Sign Mary up for cooking classes.
• Mary—Sign Martha up for a spa day.
• Eutychus—Drink more coffee.
• Jesus—Avoid Jerusalem during the holidays.

2 thoughts on “Checking in on the New Year

  1. Joanna, I love those new year’s resolutions you wrote of biblical characters. May I use it in a non-public newsletter with your name on it? I want to challenge those who don’t get each joke to look them up. I need to check out Hosea and Eutychus. Thank you. Jan Croyle

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