Chances are, Santa Claus isn’t the only one carrying around extra weight this time of year. With the feeding frenzy that begins by way of Thanksgiving and doesn’t taper off until the bubbles in our New Year’s champagne stop fizzing, some of us get more than we wish for over Yuletide season.
It’s no wonder so many of us swear off sweets and hit the pavement running come the New Year. Who hasn’t added, “Lose five pounds” to their list of New Year’s Resolutions? I know I have. God wants us to take care of our body. Getting enough sleep, exercising, fueling our bodies with healthy food are ways to honor our bodies, which God has given us as “temple[s] of the Holy Spirit” (1Corinthians 6:19). But while focusing on healthy lifestyle changes is important and certainly never hurt anyone, the way we look, the number on the scale and our physical health aren’t the only things we should be resolving to improve.
This New Year, I find myself asking: How is the health of my soul? Just as I’ve logged in miles training for a marathon, it’s about time I start training my soul. Honestly, I’ve been a bit lazy in my spiritual life. Once a morning person, nowadays as a sleep-deprived mom, I’m always trying to squeeze in one more hour of shut-eye. When I do wake up, the morning rush begins and the day becomes a blur of activities: Nurse the baby. Help Madeline get into her big-girl panties, brush her teeth and get dressed. Prepare breakfast. Play with the girls. Put Rae down for a morning nap. Play with Madeline. Clean up the kitchen. Nurse the baby. Serve lunch. Read books to the girls. Try to enforce quiet time for Madeline. Put Rae down for an afternoon nap. Nurse. Make a snack. Start dinner preparations and so on… Before I know it the sky is dark and I’m heavy with exhaustion.
Once the girls are asleep, I spend a little time with Dave, hit the keyboard and work on my freelancing for a bit, take a shower, tidy up and finally collapse into bed and simply mutter a cursory prayer. Sure, I got to Mass every Sunday and sometimes during the week, but I am not regularly feeding my soul, giving it what it needs to healthy and strong.
My faith is a gift from God, but it’s not something I can ignore and then expect to flourish. When someone gives me a plant, I can’t assume it will grow and blossom unless I take care of it. If I ignore it, it will die. Then again, considering my black thumb, even if I tend to it, it may still wilt. Fortunately, my faith is a little different. Although I can’t expect it to grow without my nurturing it by reading Scripture, attending Mass and by praying every single day, it won’t die once it’s been planted. But that doesn’t mean I should get lazy about strengthening it. Just like an athlete’s muscles get bigger and more sculpted when her or she spends time in the gym, so, too, must we spend time with the Lord in order to grow in our faith and to keep our souls healthy.
So for 2008, instead of focusing (and yes, obsessing after scarfing down way too many Christmas cookies) on only exercising my body, I’m making the commitment to train myself in godliness, to pray more, to read the Bible more and to be extra aware of not only the health of my body and of my mind, but also my soul.
Happy New Year! May 2008 bring all of you infinite blessings!
“Train yourself in godliness, for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8)