2019 Resolutions…

Dear Friends,

2019 has begun

Last night, I was sitting with a group of our Junior High boys talking about setting a word or intention for the year, and they were being normally goofy and yet profound at the same time. Sometimes I don’t think they know they are profound.

One of them said his phrase was going to be, “Don’t skip on a step,” which he said his math teacher is always saying, but he thought perhaps it could apply to his whole year. You think?

Another young man chose the symbol of a Gingerbread man and the desire to have joy and gratefulness mark his life.

Another chose “Action,” or as he said, “non-procrastination” as his desire. Another chose “practice” as his word, reminding himself that all of life, to which we added spiritual life, takes practice.

A new year takes a set of the dial, like setting the guidance system of a plane. For me, this new year is set by the word “wholehearted.”

“What?” said the boy next to me at the table, “are you half-hearted?”

“Well, I can be. I can engage in something without being all in. Like you can do as well, I imagine. I want to dig deeply this year into what it means to walk in gratitude, become joyful, and have the courage that I believe is part of being wholehearted.”

This word wholehearted is connected, for me, also to some rules which I am choosing to live by this year.

They fall under some simply phrases:

No comparisons.

It seems that this is the best and easiest way to not be “all in” to any situation. So I am calling a halt to any and all comparing of myself to another. This has been a regular pattern of mine for too long. So, 2019, my 60th year, it is about time to say NO!

No Assumptions.

Assumptions — assuming I know what is best for someone. I want to walk without thinking I have the answers found in assumptions.

No shoulds.

I find that word linked to a parental voice in my own head but also linked to shame in my life. I tend to “should” others and myself at time, when to refuse to do so would be a walk in more grace and more gratefulness.

No Advice.

The hardest thing sometimes not to give, but the thing most readily refused when not requested. So, I’m saying “no” to giving advice unless it is specifically sought out. And even then, often, people say they want advice but don’t really for they don’t take it. So, I’m calling a halt on advice.

Part of my wholehearted practice then is linked to these other ways of digging deeply into myself and into relationships:

  1. Pray
  2. Ask Questions
  3. Be Curious
  4. Be Grateful
Written by a 6 yo in church – phonetic spelling!

Hopefully, these will move me closer to the goal I have of becoming more like Jesus, whom I follow as the Spirit works within me. I know that it is His action within me that changes me. And hopefully, as you take steps to follow this New Year, you too will grow in the likeness of Jesus. There’s nobody wholehearted like Him.

2019 painting in acrylic by Karen Shimer

About Camino Way 2016 Shimer

On August 22, 1981 I married this wonderful woman, Karen, who has consistently blessed and changed my life and days. We are still in love, all the more with the years. We have four daughters, two sons by marriage, and three delightful, wonderful grandchildren. So, that makes me a husband, father, and grandfather all in those sentences. But mostly just a guy who loves my family. Today Karen and I planted beautiful plants in numerous pots. She had come home with the plants and that experience reminded me how much I enjoy simple things and simple pleasures -- like digging in dirt to plant a flower, like sunlight through glass on a spring day, like clean windows -- just washed ours today -- like a melody that won't escape from my heart. I've been a local church pastor for 30 years as of this June, a number that staggers me for I feel about that age on the inside, but clearly that's not the case. Back in 1988 I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary with an Mdiv-- a time of schooling that has been a foundation for years of ministry. But it is mostly in the building upon that foundation, that has most changed my life. I love people, love seeing Jesus work in people's lives. One of my favorite joys is to pray with someone through some horrible place of memory and see Jesus walk right into their memory world, and turn on the lights in a way that sets their soul free and brings healing. There's nothing like this privilege and I have been there to watch it happen more times than I can count. Between 4 and 7 the associate pastor of my family's congregation sexually abused me, first grooming me, then repeatedly violating my young self. This marked my life. It changed my bearings. It ripped at my faith. It wounded my image of what it meant to be a little boy, and later a man. It has been a point from which I have been in the process of healing for many years now. I'm a survivor, but more than that, I am one who lives beyond what was done. For in the middle of all that stuff, Jesus was calling me, speaking to me, bidding me to follow him to bring change to people's lives within the realm of the very office that was used to harm me. Only Jesus can make light from darkness, hope from despair, and healing from brokenness. I love Jesus. He really is alive, no matter what others may believe. And his life, his presence, his words into my world, his healing power have continued to be the foundation point of what it means to experience life to the fullest. I love writing. I don't really know why on that score for really writing has never been a central tool in my world, nor has it come easily. But I love seeing how words released heal. And I love the way words can connect me to other people's worlds. So, that's why I started blogging. It began because I was planning to blog on a weekly basis when I went to walk the Camino de Santiago last fall. And in order to be able to blog while walking, I knew I had to begin to practice blogging before I was in another country. A friend told me that. Friends are good to help us find ways to live more authentically into our daily lives! So, I started. But what I have discovered is there is something powerful about sharing the story of life with others. So, I have continued. And I love the connections being built through those words. In 2011 I experienced my first seminar in Simply the Story, a bible story telling method that involves those listening in discussion and I decided then -- "this is what I plan to do when I retire." But really-- "why wait until then?" -- so I use this method while I continue pastoring. It sets people free and allows the Word to take root in ways that preaching never has. So again and again I am practicing asking questions and that is good practice for me, because I am frequently better at "telling" than "asking." This has been such a freeing gift. I love training others in this skill. So, a storyteller would certainly be true of me too. Years ago I discovered my mission in life is "the joyful transformation of people's lives through the person of Jesus Christ." And that continues to be where I find my home base, in joy. Where there is joy, I find, there is Jesus, and there is the possibility of transformation. Of course Jesus is in places where there is no joy as well, and once He is there, the place kind of changes because of Him. I love that.
Gallery | This entry was posted in camino, Encouragement, Faith, Fellowship, follow, God is Alive, hope, Jesus, Joy, light, meaning, resolutions, Steps, Thanksgiving, Trust and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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