Finding God on Gannon’s campus: New year sets perfect stage for development of deep spiritual goals


Picture almost any gym on Dec. 31. Now, think about what that same gym looks like on Jan. 1. Did a picture of an empty gym transform into a completely packed powerhouse?
As the new year begins and a new decade is at its infancy, new goals are being chased by many trying to take advantage of this fresh start.
For those who go to the gym regularly, it can be difficult to deal with new people taking your favorite bench or your go-to rowing machine. I think those who regularly go to church share this same sentiment when it comes to services on Christmas and Easter. The only difference is that exercise equipment is swapped out with favored church pews.
While both of these situations can lead to frustration, especially when you have to get to church three hours earlier than normal for a seat, this disturbance in routine doesn’t tend to persevere. Excitement from new beginnings can only last so long.
Although the gym tends to die down and church often returns to its normal attendance, I think the new year and holiday season could be seen as a great tool for embracing rebirth.
A priest once told me, after I had shared some frustration I was feeling in my spiritual life, to allow Christ to be reborn into my life. I thought deeply about those words for weeks, trying to figure out what he meant. It was around the holiday season, so the advice seemed timely, but I don’t truly believe he meant it to be just about Christmas.
I think what the priest was talking about had to do more with rebirth for myself and a new beginning spiritually, and not just the birth of Jesus Christ.
My frustrations had a lot to do with the past creeping into my present and distracting me from living now and in the moment. These distractions and anxieties had been so significant that it seemed the only thing to do was hold down my power button and restart my spiritual life.
I was fortunate enough at that time to have the new year, both liturgically and chronologically, to assist in guiding this new mentality.
While I’ve still had many setbacks since that time and have struggled with issues similar to the ones addressed in that conversation I had with the priest, I can confidently say that the whole concept of using the new year to boost my goals was a very helpful tool.
I think where people sometimes go wrong is in expecting their goals to happen simply because they made them at the start of the year. Many people lack the dedication to keep up with things or even feel defeated the first time they fail at upholding this new objective.
My advice would be this simple cliché: don’t give up.
It’s OK to get back up again after falling, even if it’s the thousandth fall.
I wouldn’t tell my pastor I said this, but I even think it’s OK for some people if being a “Chreaster” (the unofficial nickname for one who only attends church on Christmas and Easter) is the starting point of a long spiritual journey.
Whether you’re looking to jump-start weight loss or build a stronger relationship with God, it’s important to stay on track as much as possible.
If the track somehow gets a mile away, it’ll never be too far away to walk back to.

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