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Journal

A Chance For New Habits

Mark Junkans

There is something about the coming of a new year that gives hope. Even though our life situation doesn't change automatically, nor do our problems simply go away, the new year is a chance to start fresh. There is a sense that things can be done differently.

Prayer
I personally don't make new year's resolutions, however, I do try to bring some new habits into my life. My first focus this year is a renewal of prayer in my life. I, as a lot of people, find it hard to concentrate for too long in my conversations with God. I was the kid that couldn't keep my mind focused in Sunday School, church and school. My mind wanders, other thoughts creep in, and pretty soon I am not talking to God but solving my next problem. In an attempt to remedy this, I am experimenting again with physical posture while in prayer in order to keep my mind focused on talking with a God. It may seem counterproductive, but if I can keep my body doing something else, my mind can be free to converse with God longer. This is kind of like going to a coffee shop to get work done, the noise and activity around me actually helps me focus on the task at hand. I hope that my time with God in improves this year.

Family
As a husband and as a father, I tend to zone out quite a bit and focus solely on what I am currently doing. I think that this is a struggle for most men because of how their brains are wired to single-task. It takes a lot for me, sometimes, to shut everything else out and concentrate on my wife and daughters when I am home. I know I'm not alone in this struggle, however, I want to make sure that my family gets a lot of my quality attention and time. I am making it a habit to put my phone away when somewhere when I get home. My phone is much more than a calling device, it has my email, my social media, my calendar, my notes, etc. It is such an important tool for my ministry and life that it's hard to put down. My daughter will sometimes tell me to put my phone away when helping her with her homework. She can tell I'm not concentrating on her. I don't want to give her or her sister half of my attention. This year I am really trying to put my phone/laptop/ipad away until my wife and daughters are taken care of and loved for the night. My family is worth it.

These are the two areas of focus for me this year. There is a lot that I have to accomplish this year and I am dedicated to making sure that my relationship with God and my family don't suffer because I am not giving the proper attention to them.