No, I didn’t start pumping the iron yet on the first day in January to join the army of bodybuilders; I started working on my New Year resolutions by simply evaluating my YMCA membership. Nominally, I am a member, but my membership card hadn’t been scanned even once in December. I was too busy to follow up on my own commitment. If I created my attendance diagram, it would look like a flat line on a health monitor. Scary…, ah?
Sometimes, the same happens with our soul building. We get baptized, read the Bible, attend the church and small groups with enthusiasm at first, but then gradually get overwhelmed by other priorities. How to start pumping the “spiritual iron” as our New Year resolution but without falling off the commitment? Old habits and old ways will always be on the way until we make a decision to get rid of them.
My seminary professor Dr. Chun from South Korea shared that he felt his soul renewed this season by reading an amazing book about the four generations of one family whose desire to belong represents the same desire of all people in the world. “Pachinko” is written by a Japanese writer Min Jin Lee. Dr. Chun also shared that he was reading the book to the sound of Mozart. I ordered the book. The book was almost 500 pages. After I imagined myself sitting in the comfortable chair and reading it to the sound of music, I felt like I faced an impossible task, almost a luxury: where would I find the time? The quote from Neale Donald Walsch revealed the secret of how to not just earning what we want but to actually produce it.
Yearning for a new way will not produce it.
Only ending the old way can do that.
You cannot hold onto the old, all the while declaring
that you want something new.
The old will defy the new;
The old will deny the new;
The old will decry the new.
There is only one way to bring in the new.
You must make room for it.
If not for the flu, it would be much harder for me to make room to read the book. God always finds a way to help us grow even when we resist. How about we all make room for our soul growth this year by subtracting some of the habits that are no longer serving the purpose? I need to start digging deeper into my soul to find the time to do things the new way that at the end of the 2018 year my spiritual life will not look like a flat line of my YMCA membership.