This is Pastor Tim’s article that appeared in the Evening Leader on Monday, Jan 3, 2022
On December 26, I preached the same sermon as every other pastor on the planet preached: New Years Resolutions. I closed the service with the question: “What are you going to do in 2022?” Made me feel like I had things together to close the service on a line that was not only timely but also rhymed. I felt like I was owning it that day.
But the question is a pertinent one. What are you going to do? You are going to do something, what is it? Have you thought about it? Have you prayed about it? Have you talked with anyone about it? That is how good decisions get made is by thinking, praying and talking them through. That is a great slogan, but I have a tough time doing it.
The more I try to look ahead, make plans, and really go for a goal, the harder my life right in front of me gets. It is so hard to have any energy to think about the future when the present won’t show me any mercy. And I know that I am not alone in this. This world can get to be noisy place! It is hard to even hear thoughts inside my head sometimes because I am bombarded with so much stuff.
As a rule, I share very little personal information. But I will let you in on one of my resolutions for this year. I have resolved to turn the noise down in my head. I have a job that requires me to think a lot because most pastors will tell you that second only to being faithful to God’s call, our jobs are about navigating problems and coming up with creative solutions with limited resources. That is what we do and, as easy as we pastors make that look, I assure you it is not. Pastors are some of the most thought out and intentional people on earth because we know we will be the most scrutinized. That is why everything we say is well considered and thought through and every time we are in public, we are extremely high self-monitors.
All of that comes with a price of occupying a lot of space in our brains and I know this is not a problem unique to pastors. There are a lot of you out there who are very careful and well considered in your life. But all of that consideration running through your mind can force you into a place in life where you spend more time thinking than you spend doing.
I am all for well thought-out decision making, but if we spend all of our time considering and deciding to the point that we have no energy for doing, then nothing is going to happen. All you end up with in this scenario is a well thought out resolution that is well articulated and then forgotten. In order to prevent myself from falling victim to this trap, I have made this resolution: To do what I can to limit how much information I consume.
I devour podcasts, news articles, and editorials from a variety of viewpoints. I do this because I have always felt it was my role to be informed, and this resolution will not let me off the hook for that. But I want to offset it with some quiet time. During Advent, we had some quiet times set aside at Wayne Street and I found those to be extremely helpful. I honestly slept better on the days we held them because all of the static noise in my head and all of the stuff flying through my mind on fast forward seemed to fade away in the quiet. Even though one of the quiet times was at 12:30 in the afternoon, it seemed to help the rest of my day go better.
That is what I am offering to you for 2022. Introduce some quiet in your life, take a break from the constant stimulation from your phone, TV or the frantic pace of life. You don’t need to unplug from it completely, but you do need a break from it in order to be healthy. It is amazing what some quiet will do for you in the midst of our noisy world. I hope that you will take the chance this year to find out! Give your brain a chance to rest and recuperate rather than continually filling it with constant chatter and distraction.