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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

A Year of Knees

Is your reflexive action, like mine, to get to work? I am compulsive, I admit. A few days before we leave Toronto for the holidays, I am not doing laundry for our trip. I am not packing suitcases. I am not wrapping presents.

Instead, I am organizing my desk. Dumping out drawers, thumbing through papers, sorting rubber bands and paper clips. I hang a new $20 painting by my desk that I've bought at a local thrift store (when I should have been Christmas shopping). I swap spring-patterned file folders for folders of winter browns and muted golds.

In the overwhelming pant of Christmas, I frantically seize a small, wild corner of my world (this time, my desk) and tame it. I need mastery of something. I want control.

Some people eat when they're worried or fearful.

I vacuum. (Photo Credit)

What is it about motion that soothes me?

The beginning of a new year is raw meat for do-ers like me. We are adept at the list-making, enthralled by our own powers of resolve. We get things done, and you like us for it.

And it's true that not much happens accidentally in life, does it? Who of us falls into change, waking up to newness by surprise? I believe in resolve. I believe that bringing our best efforts and our deliberate intentions to life is necessary and good.

But I know it's never enough.

I want my reflexive action, my first impulse, not to be for work but for prayer.

The getting things done is getting it wrong without that.

Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.

I want 2012 to be a year of knees, not hands.

I admit I've already done a bit of list-making. I've written out the books I want to read this year. I've dreamed about building into my marriage and my children. I'm re-committing to the spiritual practices of accountability, confession and scripture memorization.

And I'm also committing to my writing this year: to reading great writers and sitting at the feet of their prose, to sketching out ideas for a book and plunging myself into that. To keep writing here regularly.

But I've set some deliberate limits to the work I'll be doing. I want more margin for relationships and reflection. I've made the new lists with my Bible open, with a willingness to begin by asking, "Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. See where there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in your way everlasting."

Have you gotten alone with Jesus yet to reflect on last year and plan for the coming year?

Here are some tools I've been using and would gladly recommend (from Tsh, at

Reflection Questions for 2011

Goal Setting for 2012

Here's to 2012, to reflexive prayer and relationship, to giving ourselves to what matters most, to authentic living with Jesus and with others.

Here's to 2012, a year for our desires made holy, our courage made real, our commitment made new.