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 'Making do.' Some of you who lived through the Great Depression know exactly what this means! To you it’s not a new idea at all, but in our present day consumer culture “making do” is something of a novelty.


Weekly Reflection: Pastor Sharron R. Lucas
Dec. 31, 2007


What do we do with a New Year?

It's that time again. ’Tis the season to make plans and resolutions. Putting up a new calendar, turning over a new leaf, taking a new turn in our life’s journey are all things that do afford us opportunity to examine our situation and plot any course corrections we may feel would be beneficial.

Twenty-five years ago my resolutions were bold -- write the great American novel, go to film school -- but then hope does spring eternal, and hey, maybe that novel will happen some day. A few years later the resolutions became more practical -- lose a few pounds, save a few dollars, journal every day, and so on. Some worked well while others failed abysmally.
It all looks so easy and possible with that beautiful blank January page in front of us. But let me ask you this: How many times have you made a New Year's resolution only to have it "go south" before the birds fly back north?

In recent years I gave up on resolutions entirely under the impression that not adding something else to an already busy life was a good thing, and for the most part I still think that was a solid choice.

However, this year I’m trying something different, committing to new twist on an old practice — “making do.” I’m motivated in part by reading I’ve done in 2007. Our Lives are not our Own (Rochelle Melander and Harold Eppley), Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping (Judith Levine), and Sustaining Simplicity: A Journal (Ann Bayse) along with several other books on stewardship and faithful living.

“Making do.” Some of you who lived through the Great Depression era know exactly what this means! To you it’s not a new idea at all, but in our present day consumer culture “making do” is something of a novelty.

For me “making do” means 2008 will be the year of acquiring nothing new (well almost nothing). It’s not exactly a resolution; instead it’s more of a lifestyle plan and commitment. I’ve headed down this path before to varying degrees, but this year there’s the added benefit of a good friend who is choosing to walk this path with me. She and I will provide accountability and support to each other. Granted, neither one of us is asking or coercing our families to participate, but it will be interesting to see how they react to our decision throughout the year.

We’ve both pledged to buy nothing new except for food, services, toiletries, and certain clothing items that one wouldn’t likely buy used. Will it work? Will we last the year? I don’t know, but I certainly hope so. And now I have an even greater level of accountability by sharing my plan with all of you and providing updates in future columns.

Along with continuing my practice of tithing, being more conscious of my patterns as a consumer and resource manager is part of my own discipleship journey — of learning as I live and of trying to be a better steward of resources and time, all gracious gifts of God. Naïve? Maybe. Optimistic? You bet! Faithful to God? I certainly hope so.

Now that I’ve shared with you my New Year’s plan, what does 2008 look like for you? Any big plans? Bold new resolutions? My prayer is that this coming year will be a good one for you and yours, and that whatever you do, you will make the most of God’s many gifts with which you’ve been blessed.

 Copyright (c) 2007, The Rev. Sharron Lucas, all rights reserved. Used by permission.  

The Rev. Sharron Riessinger Lucas is a parish pastor serving the Sheyenne-Oberon Area Ministry, a four-point cooperative ministry in the Eastern North Dakota Synod of the ELCA. She came to ordained ministry after teaching secondary and college English, working in non-profit management and public relations, and moonlighting as a freelance writer. She is the mother of two wonderful daughters.