Sometimes my computer gets stuck. Cursors and pages and files all sit still while this pinwheel-looking thing finds a comfortable space on the screen and just…well…spins. (My technological savvy is showing, I know.) This typically leads me toward two options: force-quit or restart. Alt-command-escape is my force-quit recipe, and that little apple at the top left hand corner of the screen is my path to restart. (If these are inappropriate solutions to the pinwheel, don’t tell me. I can’t handle a third option.)

January is the time of year that most of us think about force-quitting and/or restarting. We are well into a new year. And while I rarely spend energy on resolutions, I do inherently ‘quit’ some things this time of year and restart some things as well. With a fresh calendar before me and a jammed calendar behind, I try to decide how to avoid some of the jam in the future. What do I need to quit in order to free up my time and rescue my life? On the other hand, there are actions and affections I need to restart. I often find I’ve laid aside activities and delights in exchange for a multitude of less-valued distractions.

I’m wondering what we (you and I) need to force-quit and restart this year? I’m going to quit the late-night snacks (I’m having to run too much to keep up in this new era of metabolism.) and quit overdosing on the news (network, print, social media, etc.). I’m going to restart swimming and biking (Running has been steady, but everything else? Pinwheels!), musical practice (The bass is coming along…adding ukulele this year.), writing (I have three manuscripts that are ‘in process.’ I need to get them ‘out of process.’), home visits (My first year here, I visited in almost 100 homes. This past year it was just over 40. I think I’ll pick up the pace a tad.) and practicing generosity (I give a lot of time, a lot of energy and a measure of money to the church and other causes… I want to give a little more).

I’m not sure what you need to quit or restart, but I’ll tell you what I tell all our new members: restart your commitment to worship and be here on Sunday mornings; restart your involvement in some small group – Sunday School, choir, mission circle – and enjoy the friendship and growth these afford; and restart your financial support of the church – intentionally give a little more than you gave last year and experience the joy of generosity. Keep those weird little pinwheels off the computer screen of your life – force-quit… restart…

— Jim