The new year is about priorities, who has the right to take precedence and what is most important. It’s about who will hold our attention and what will hold our tongues.  

It’s about who will hold us back and what we will hold back no longer. It’s about speaking up and giving voice to lofty purposes. It’s about stepping up, requiring us to step back to see what is required.  

W.E.B. DuBois prayed, “Give us the grace, O God, to dare to do the deed which we well know cries to be done. Let us not hesitate because of ease, or the words of men’s mouths, or our own lives. Mighty causes are calling us—the freeing of women, the training of children, the putting down of hate and murder and poverty—all these and more. But they call with voices that mean work and sacrifice and death.”

To be sure, it’s about life and death, what will live on or through us. It’s about no longer feeling our way through life, hitting a brick wall or being backed into a corner.  

Instead, it’s about turning the corner. It’s about moving on so that purpose can move over and the Spirit can scoot closer to us.

It’s about open and closed doors. It’s about the ones we walk through and the ones that are slammed in our faces. It’s about the God who whispers through the cracks and who has a knack for tight spaces.

It’s about taking up space and claiming our rightful place in life. It’s about trying again when we lose our way. 

It’s about resilience, perseverance, strength, and endurance to keep going. One foot in front of the other, it’s about first and last steps, going in circles and coming full circle.   

It’s about time. Because time’s up for excuses, for sentences that include should of, would of and could of. It’s about getting it done and over with, cutting our losses and the cord.  

It’s about me and you and us and them. It’s about everything we have ever dreamed of and the nightmares we hope never to see again. It’s about living with our eyes wide open and being fully aware in this moment.  

At the start of a new year, we are thinking of getting our lives on track, our priorities together, our ducks in a row. It will be the year of improvements.  

We visualize our success because this is the year and our time. There is no shortage of mantras and motivational quotes.  

James K.A. Smith writes in You Are What You Love, “Jesus’ command to follow him is a command to align our loves and longings with his—to want what God wants, to desire what God desires, to hunger and thirst after God and crave a world where (God) is all in all—…”  Which begs the question, “What does God want and more specifically, what does God want from us?”

Christians are baptized believers and confess that we have been given a fresh start. Often focused on souls scrubbed clean, I must highlight the importance of baptism as flood. The water of baptism drowns out all competing voices so that we can hear what God wants from us.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive,” Howard Thurman said.

“God made you alive,” Paul told the church at Colossae (2:13, NRSV). So, what is first and foremost in your life? What are your priorities as a Jesus follower? 

“The greatest single problem that ministers face is the problem of priorities, not only in the allotment of time and energy to specific tasks but in the allotment of life itself. We need to soak our souls in the priorities of Jesus and be reminded constantly that persons come first,” Leonard Griffith wrote in We Have This Ministry. While his words are addressed to clergy, I believe this to be the case for most Christians. 

We have a new beginning, but not because the clock strikes twelve and a ball drops from the sky. No matter what we resolve to do this new year, may we get our priorities straight so that they fall in line with the Jesus way.

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