“Recalculating.” When GPS navigation systems were first invented it was common for people to hear the statement “recalculating.” This happened when a person took a new direction on the way to a destination not programed in the GPS. It happened to me a lot!

Once, while I was returning from seminary to Wichita, I came upon a traffic jam on I-70. It was obvious that traffic was backed up for miles. Well, I didn’t particularly want to wait; my car needed gas and I needed a pit stop anyway. So, always up for an adventure and eager not to wait for traffic to clear up, I turned down the nearest exit ramp and started for a gas station. It was several miles away, in a small country town, on some back roads. As I turned off the highway, low and behold, the female voice on my Garmin said, “Recalculating.” Ignoring the voice, because I knew where I was going, I made another turn and the Garmin said again, “Recalculating.” Again, another turn was met with another statement, “Recalculating.” This exchanging of turns being met with protests from my Garmin happened at least 10 times, until my Garmin (and I am not making this up) actually said in its female voice, “There is a better way” and then stopped talking!!! I kid you not! My Garmin gave me lip and then fed me the silent treatment! Now, let me tell you, it isn’t too often that a celibate man gets the silent treatment; but it happened to me! HA!

So this little story (which I am sure will make an appearance in some future homily) came to mind as we are approaching the New Year. The NEW YEAR! I want to put my hands on my head with an anxious look on my face and clenched teeth and say, “What happened to the OLD year?!” But, ready or not, here she comes… the New Year.

Even though the past year may have flown by, the best part about the New Year is this: it is NEW… a new chance at a fresh start… a new opportunity to ask ourselves if we are set for the right destination… a new calendar to reshape the rhythms and habits of our life. In short, this week more than any other week in the entire year is a time for us to hear the Holy Spirit say to our soul, “Recalculating.” As we look back on the worst, better, and best of the past year we are instinctively “recalculating” our life; redirecting our course; renewing our resolve. Why? Because mediocrity is the enemy of our soul. This is why, at a certain point in the next week, the Holy Spirit, whose voice should be directing us, will whisper within our soul, “There is a better way.”

In what way will you better yourself this New Year? And, more importantly, what voice are you going to listen to as you “recalculate” your life? Will it be the voice of anxiety, fear, or despair? Or will it be the Spirit’s voice of peace, confidence, and hope? Let us strive to listen to the Spirit’s voice and to adjust our life to His “recalculations” so that His voice will never go silent in our soul.

Happy New Year!

Father Jarrod Lies, Pastor