Every January, I make a few New Year’s resolutions. As of today, I am enjoying huge, unmitigated success in the fulfillment of these resolutions. I have fulfilled every one of my seventeen resolutions! I am a New Year’s resolutions success story! Hannibal has crossed the Alps! OK…I’ll slow down. Current literature on New Year’s resolutions and my own pathetic personal history do not indicate a favorable outcome. Not only do I generally abandon my resolutions after about two weeks (at the time of writing this, I’m on day 3) but according to a recent issue of The Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 8% of all people who make resolutions actually achieve them. I guess I am just one of the 92%.
But I do have one goal that is sure to meet success—working out at the gym (for me, “gym” is the Burlington YWCA). The reason I will stick with going to the gym is this– I enjoy it. Forbes Magazine says in “Five Resolutions You Won’t Keep and Five You Will” that a resolution works best if it is “pleasant” or if you really enjoy it. Well, I enjoy the gym—I enjoy the people, the energy I feel when I walk in the weight room, the encouragement of the staff, the fact that we are all there for the same reason—improved health and quality of life. So I know I will not abandon that particular resolution.
The gym is a good image for the church. Similar to the gym, the church is where we go to work on our faith and build up those spiritual and ethical “muscles” we rely on when we are not in church. Just like my strength training sessions with my YWCA trainer, Stephie (who is really awesome), everything I do in church is deliberate. Nothing is without purpose; or if it seems lacking in purpose, I may have forgotten why I come to the “gym” at all. Is my reading of the scripture just one more element of the worship service or does it move me with the voice of God? Do I pray knowing I am heard or am I just repeating words? Do I know if I swing a kettle bell to strengthen my back or just for the entertainment of Stephie? Hmmm…could be a little of both.
The other day, while clearing out our basement, I picked up a large box of books and quickly carried it up two flights to my office. I commented to Don that if I hadn’t been working out, I wouldn’t have been able to do that so easily. In other words, there are things I can do now that I couldn’t do without the benefit of the gym.
What benefit does your gym/church bring to you? Is there anything that happens for you in church that helps you when you are not in church? Are there loads you can now carry that would prove too heavy without your faith community?
Send me a comment; I would love to hear your thoughts! Pastor Jane