Swinging Into the New Year

By on January 1, 2015

By Sharon V. King–

Recently, I read about an exercise craze called “swinging.” Actually, it appears to me as just a throwback to the old playground rings I grew up with. Now, swinging is a trendy exercise adventure for the very fit. The most famous public swinging park is on the beach in Santa Monica, CA, where agile people with strong arms have been swinging since the 1930s. You can learn more about swinging at http://www.swingaring.com/.

Perhaps, you’re familiar with this sport, and the analogies between swinging and the New Year already may occur to you. If not, consider these aspects of swinging and see if you can relate to them as you get set to start 2015:

  • Warm-ups are essential: Before you go swinging, you need to warm up your arm muscles. Otherwise, your limbs will ache for days. It’s best not to just walk up to the rings and start sailing through. Similarly, setting out in a New Year takes some preparation. Most of us like to start fresh on New Year’s Day, but New Year’s Eve may be the most important day—and not just because of the parties! It’s a time to reflect on the grace of God that has sustained us through the year just ended and prepare to trust Him for the year ahead. Consider preparing a New Year’s Eve Blessings List and think of the last day of the year as Thanksgiving Day, Part Two.
  • Begin with your dominant hand: If you’re left-handed, start your swing by grabbing the first ring with your left hand, not your right. You have to initiate the swing with your dominant side so you can build enough momentum to propel you through the rings. We often start the New Year focusing on our deficits—the weight we need to lose, the smoking we need to stop, the money we need to save. This New Year, try starting out by listing your strengths and make resolutions to expand upon them. For example, instead of focusing on losing weight, think about what a good cook you are. Resolve to learn more about cooking “light.” Experiment each week with a new, low-calorie recipe. Think of the weight loss as a side benefit of your excellent cooking skills.
  • Use your whole body to propel your swing, not just your arms: The momentum so necessary for a successful trip through the swinging rings requires engagement of all your muscle groups, including your abs, legs, and back. All your muscles need to work together to propel you forward. We will have to live through the whole New Year as whole persons. We’re physical, social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual beings. All those components of our lives need to work together if we want a Happy New Year. Resolve to nurture all dimensions of your living. Try making a resolution for each area of your life, and weave a spiritual thread into each one. God is available 365 days a year to support us and provide for us in all aspects of our lives.
  • Be prepared for a few calluses: All experienced swingers develop hand calluses—they come with the sport. The goal is not to avoid the calluses or get rid of them (swingers need them!) but to take care of them so they help rather than hinder your swing. It doesn’t take much to see the link between this aspect of swinging and going into a New Year. We all bring last year’s calluses with us into the New Year; and, we all will pick up some new ones in 2015. Admittedly, it’s not easy to view the hurts, disappointments, losses, failures, and unresolved problems of the past year as building blocks for the future. And, when things go wrong in 2015, we will weep first and seek meaning later. That’s when it helps to remember that God works all things together for good (Romans 8:28). He can make good use of all our sore spots and blisters.

So get ready for a wonderful 2015. God has your rings all set up, and He’s ready to swing along with you. Happy New Year!

 

 

© 2014 Sharon V. King
Photo credit: By Bogaert
Sharon V. King

About Sharon V. King

Sharon is a retired gerontology professor who writes self-help devotional books for 50+ women. In addition to her academic journal articles about religion and aging, Sharon has published several inspirational ezine articles and Christian Education curricula. Her new book, Aging Gracefully with the 23rd Psalm, will be published later this year by Anaiah Press. Connect with Sharon on her blog at www.yearsfullofgrace.wordpress.com.

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Swinging Into the New Year