Many New Year's resolutions tend to be about "more." I will spend more time exercising. I will eat more healthy foods. I will do more reading, more praying, more walking, more . . . The idea seems to be that the way to happiness is by having, doing, or being more.
Perhaps this year it's time to resolve to do less?
Take for instance praying. Like me, on some past New Year's Eve you might have made a resolution to spend more time in prayer in the upcoming year. I remember being very motivated to spend this extra time talking with God, thinking of the spiritual graces that would flow from it, like greater patience or wisdom. Also like me, however, the extra prayer time may not have had the desired effect.
Why? More prayer time is always a good resolution to make. However, in my case I think what I really needed to do during that extra prayer time was less: less talking, less rattling off rote prayers, less focusing on my own needs, wants, and problems. What should I have done instead? Listen. Reflect. As one priest told me-- "sit in Christ's presence, stare into His eyes, and see the love He has for you there."
Less is More
Often we'll resolve to be more patient with our children or more kind to our co-workers. In this case, why not call out the vice and resolve to commit it less? As I used to tell my 8th graders when preparing for Reconciliation, when it comes to a sin we have to "Name It. Claim It. And Change It." So the resolution for this year could really target the vice, "I resolve to be less nitpicking with my children." Or, "I resolve to gossip less with/about my co-workers."
Last year at this time, I wrote the ultimate "less is more" piece when I advocated leaving one of your New Year's Resolutions blank, allowing that to be God's resolution for you in the new year. (Leave Room for God's Resolutions)
My prayer for everyone who reads this is one of petition-- that God would bless you with less this year: less anger, less strife, less unrest, less doubt, less fear . . . As you resolve to do less in order to make room for God in your life, may God bless you and your children! Be assured of my prayers for you!
NOTE: I originally intended for this blog to be weekly (mostly Sundays) during the school year. However, in the true spirit of my "less is more" resolutions, after 14 months I am finding that even trying to keep up with that infrequent schedule is putting a strain on me and my commitments to my wife and two young children. Although I'm sure there are those out there who can "do it all," I feel like I'm already doing so even without adding a weekly blog post to the list.
With that in mind, I resolve to write occasionally-- not necessarily weekly-- mainly when inspiration hits, or when the need arises. I look forward to the season of my life when I will again be able to commit to writing regularly, as I greatly enjoy it. In the meantime, I pray that God will direct my use of this small amount of time for the good of my family, my school, and my soul!
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