Once more, Unto the Breach: Thoughts on the Old Year, and into the New Year

Life has a way of taking your attention away from the things that you always mean to do, but never seem to find the time to do. I started this blog ages ago with one purpose, and now I hardly ever update it. Partly because I’m older now, and work does take up my time. This blog is a great sermon dump!

However, I am noticing habits that come back. Every year around this time, I tell myself I’m going to turn things around. I’m going to write for myself. I’m going to eat healthier I’m going to get fitter (as fit as a fat man can be!) And for the most part, I do my best to aspire to those goals. Sometimes, I have things that help me along. Sometimes, I fall back on these promises I make to myself. All in all, I have to remind myself to keep moving forward. Years are arbitrary measures of time, but sometimes measures can help us keep track of ourselves, our personal progress and our lives. So here’s to 2017,  the 2,017 arbitrary measure of the common era. Let’s do some cobweb dusting in the old brain.

Mountains behind me

There is a lot to be said for this year in terms of good things. For one, I got my career back on track in a good way. Things were very sketchy at the beginning, and it was looking like I might be in for a major life change. However, thanks to the help from a lot of people, not the least of which is DeSay, my wife, I’m back on track. I’ve been given a second chance, one that isn’t often given. I have great mentors in my life. I have a vision of what things might look like in my future, and that’s a great thing. I started out the year in a dark valley, and now I’m climbing my way out, and I could not be more grateful.

I’ve become a better pastor. I feel confident in being able to say that, and that is a huge deal. My wife has helped me gain the confidence I’ve needed to become that better pastor. My churches have been willing to help me along in ways that I never dreamed. I’m far from perfect, but I’m on the way there, to crib a note from Wesley’s writings.

My writing has changed a bit. I want to say that it’s simpler, in a way, but that’s probably because I’ve come out of the academy for a little bit. I’ve had more conversations with people. I’ve met people I would never have otherwise if I wasn’t a pastor in the rural church. People will change the way you write, for better or for worse. I feel that sometimes simplicity can mean a lot more than fancily constructed sentences with 5-dollar SAT words. Shut up, younger me, you can write well without showing off.

Other good things? The podcast, Silly Robots, is still going strong, even though since I live out here I often miss out on major pop culture landmarks than I would like. (I live an hour from the nearest movie theater, so sue me.) However, our podcast is fun, so give us a listen on iTunes and Google, and if your feeling generous, check us out on Patreon.

Mountains before me

So, here’s the dreaming part. These are the things I’d like to do in the next year.

  • As ever, I want to make writing for myself a bigger part of my life. I love writing, and I always feel better when I do write. It does give me anxiety though–what if I’m unoriginal? What if what I write is bad? I’m getting to the point where I’m beginning to not care as much about these things. I’m turning 30 this year. My novel won’t write itself–if that is indeed what I write.
  • Joining the gym and getting a bit more fit. Eating better. Treating my body better, in general. I feel better when I exercise, so I just need to get up the determination to do it.
  • Listen to more good music. The last album I really listened to well was David Bowie’s Blackstar and there was so much more to this past year I missed out on.
  • Read more. Not just fiction either. As much as I ragged on my old writing style, I do want to get back into academia and read some more mentally stimulating non-fiction. If anyone has any recommendations, leave them in the comments below!

Well, that seems like a good list. Lot’s to chew on and pray on. If I don’t accomplish it? No sweat. But these are my goals for the year. So as we sit on the edge of that great cliff that is the new year, let’s plunge together and try to make this year better than last year.

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About grantimusmax

Grant Barnes, aka Grantimus Maximus, aka The Nerdcore Theologian. He is a graduate of Perkins School of Theology with a Masters Degree in Divinity. He is also a commissioned elder in the United Methodist Church, and Senior Pastor at Hemphill First United Methodist Church and Pineland United Methodist Church. He graduated from Texas State University Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in English, minor in History. He watches way too many movies, reads too many books, listens to too much music, and plays too many video games to ever join the mundane reality people claim is the "Real World." He rejects your reality, and replaces it with a vision of what could be, a better one, shaped by his love for God.
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