Joan's January Reflection

What would I do without a calendar? Yes, it holds the doings of my days and without it I would not remember all my commitments. Yes, I still work better with the paper kind I can hold in my hand, the whole month at a glance, my pen quick and easy. But it’s more than that. The turning of the months gives me the chance to look back and say “Thanks!” and to look forward and pray, “Help!” And the turning of the year is so much more exciting than a month.

You take down your old calendar and give it to Cheryl for her boxes and you put up a new one, for me...a Nikki McClure. Each month has a word and an illustration. In 2013 they were: Make Plans, Support, Vow, Perfect, Forget, Comprehend, Delight, Prepare, Barter, Abandon, Age, and Start Over. Surely the past year has been about all those things in our life together up and down and all around. This month the word is Vibrate. To move back and forth, to swing, to thrill. Bless us this month, this new year, bless us all. Bless the new ideas that will emerge for our attention.

When a new idea is floated, some will oppose it immediately because that is what they do to preserve equilibrium. Others will voice opposition because they think the idea is wrong in some way. Which is it? Stirring opposition might mean you are doing your job as a church leader. Or it might mean you need to think again. Same is true when an idea or plan is greeted by silence. Is the silence approving, uninterested, currying favor or prelude to some passive-aggressive gotcha down the road?

This year imagine success and see whether the idea we have is big enough to change anything for the better and thus is worth fighting for. Imagine failure and see if anything irreplaceable would be lost. Track your feelings. Do our ideas/plans energize us and continue to energize us as we develop them?

There are two requirements for good ideas: skills of discernment (we don’t just spew out ideas to see which ones stick to the wall) and reliable truth tellers (those people you need who can evaluate, ask good questions, give useful feedback...those who can give a faithful and reasoned response and enough passion to press onward).

As always, I’m sure there will be some push-pull in this new year. We’ve had enough practice with it that I’m guessing we can deal with it even more confidently, God being our helper.
Glad to be your pastor,
—Joan