By Karen Rae, Founder of Balanced Life by Karen Rae® and Creator of The Signature Balanced Life Planner®
This year has been very tough for each and every one of us. Staying healthy, focused, productive, and attentive to our needs and the needs of others has been a major challenge. As we continue to go through the ups and downs of this --new normal-- we might wonder, is it even possible to maintain faith and keep the balance in our life? Yes, it is possible.
For the past ten months, we've been collectively going through emotions. Our cities have mandated stay-at-home orders, thousands of people have ended up in hospitals or unfortunately died from COVID-19. This has left people in disbelief and grieving, while others, like essential workers, had to face even greater challenges and fears as they continued doing what had to be done. It was (and still is) simultaneously the most uncertain, challenging, prayerful, faith-building, and goal setting times of our lives. It is a time when we are forced to; not just stay physically indoors and face stillness and our thoughts but dive deep inside our souls and discover what has been waiting for us there and what we want to do with it.
At such times like these, faith protects us from fear and gives us hope that God is there with us, as we are taking the responsibility of overcoming this crisis. And with such thinking, we can start the new year by making some significant internal changes. Every new year comes with new hopes and dreams, goals, and plans. People all across the world stay up until midnight on December 31st so they can celebrate and start the new year with their friends and family - this year mostly at virtual or socially distanced get-togethers, of course. As we all reflect on the past year and look ahead at possibilities that come with the new year, we make our New Year's resolutions, such as:
1. Deepening Our Faith
Due to the lockdown, many of us took the time to develop a stronger relationship with God. For some that included praying to God, reading the Bible or a daily devotional, spending time thinking about and applying God’s wisdom to our lives, participating in online services, and more. When life was 'normal', we might have been too busy to take the time to do these things, but now, we have all the time in the world to build our spiritual health. And as we enter the new year, for so many of us, this need to strengthen our connection with God has turned into a firm new year's resolution.
2. Love for the Community
Pandemic or not, we should love and care for one another, especially our neighbors. As Jesus would say, our neighbor is anyone in need, and right now there are so many people in need. Every day we can see some beautiful examples of people putting this into action, helping their family members, neighbors, friends, and anyone in need by performing acts of compassion and doing good deeds. This need to put our faith into action is currently one of the strongest (and let's dare to say trendiest) resolutions for the year 2021.
3. Avoiding Recklessness
These are unsafe times that we live in and reckless behavior is not a behavior of faith. Caring for ourselves is part of the Judeo-Christian great commandment that instructs us to love others as we love ourselves. No faith tradition supports recklessness. We should not expose ourselves or others to the coronavirus. We should care for others enough to keep a social distance, or any other things that can prevent the spread of this virus. This new year's resolution is certainly one that should be on the top of the list in our notebook.
Even though times are still uncertain, this doesn't mean we shouldn't start working on bringing more light into our lives and the lives of others. All it takes is hope, faith, and some unbending NY resolutions written down in our planners.
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