New years resolutions


11 Jan 2015

New Year’s Day is one of my least favourite days. I suppose it’s partly because, as I grow older, I have more and more dreams that have not yet eventuated or that have been well and truly crushed. I am also confronted by my own inability to fundamentally change of my own will and accord. I think Saint Paul was definitely on to something when he wrote about desiring to do good but being unable to do it (Rom 7.15-19). For me it seems that there is so much orchestrated hype and expectation placed on one day, only to end in a return to drudgery further down the track as life inevitably weaves its joys and sorrows throughout the coming year.

Finding myself overwhelmed with fear and trepidation about the year ahead, I finally brought it all before God, acknowledging I had spent an awful lot of time inside my own head alone, afraid of a world that doesn’t yet exist, instead of being in the present moment. With what felt like insufficient trust, insufficient faith and insufficient hope, I sat in church for mass on New Year’s Day, and I listened to the first reading from Numbers where God gave Moses a blessing for God’s people.

​​The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
(Num 6.24-26)

And I was again reminded of God’s goodness towards us and of the deep peace that only God can offer us. God delights in us and does not harm us. How often I forget this, as I get caught up in the thoughts inside my head about loss, grief, wars, devastation, injustice, inequality, violence and pain, with fear being the one constant thread. Yet God wants only our good, and these thoughts do not come from a place of light and love. As Ignatius would no doubt have noticed, the bad spirit was well and truly at work in my heart in those moments, offering the recognisable fruit of desolation!

My prayer later that day was “Keep me in Your peace and Your truth alone”. While I don’t tend to make New Year’s resolutions, I think I might hold on to that prayer throughout the year, as I seek out and listen to God’s voice. Not voices of fear or discord, but of God’s loving voice alone. God who is our refuge and dwelling place, and who offers us a peace the world cannot give.

Christina Rocha is a Canberra writer and lawyer.
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