Reflections and resolutions as a new year begins

By Tom Hallsworth, Animate Youth Ministries team member

Well, it is January, so it wouldn't be right to start without some kind of reflection on the year – or at least on our working year to date.

One expression I like is "Life is like driving – it is quite important to look at the rear-view mirror from time to time but you can't stare at it for too long." It is certainly true that you cannot go forward if you do not know where you are coming from.

So, as Christians, reflecting on our lives and our work should be very important as we strive towards bettering ourselves – likewise acknowledging the good we're already doing. And I must say it has been a good few months since September and the school year started.

In fact, it has been a busy period, working with two schools most days. Casting my mind back to last year, I would say we are definitely busier this time around. But the new team have thrown themselves right into working with young people. We had a brilliant end to our first half-term with an exciting mission in Wales, and we signed off before Christmas with an excellent mission at Our Lady Queen of Peace, Skelmersdale.

Of course, you cannot always look backwards; we have to look to the future too. We have a lot of work booked for the rest of the academic year, and I cannot wait to get right into action at some new schools as well as some of the schools I am familiar with from 2014/15. There is another mission looming at Saints Peter and Paul High School in Widnes, in addition to extra bookings with primary schools.

One downside to being so busy is that you can struggle to keep your focus on the key things. You can spend so much time talking about God to others that you forget about the importance of your own relationship with Him. I think this can be true of everybody and we have to make time to connect with God because that is the most important thing. While we have just spent December marvelling over the birth of Jesus, our relationship with God should not be confined to Christmas or Easter.

I am not really one for setting New Year's resolutions but one resolution that I do commit to constantly is a renewed relationship with God. I try to find more time in my day-to-day life and not allow secular concerns to bog me down. A resolution for us all in 2016 could be to let our religious beliefs shine through at all moments. That might well be a difficult task – I know that I struggle – yet we can always aim to be more in line with, and more like, Jesus.

So what’s your New Year’s resolution?