It’s too late to ask you if you are ready for Christmas; you’re probably just exhaling. But in case you think you’re off the hook, let me ask you: “Are you ready for the New Year?” Have you thought about a resolution or resolved not to make one? Have you already started your new diet – or are you bulking up in anticipation? I don’t mind if it’s a diet you have in mind, but I would like to suggest a few more meaningful changes for the coming year.
Your body is precious and holy, but it’s probably the least important thing about you. Your heart, mind and will are going to belong to you in eternity, so why not give them some consideration in 2016, too? Here are a few suggestions to get you started, but I’d love to hear your ideas. Hit reply above or use the comment section at the bottom of the page (depending which page you are on).
- Learn one new thing and stick with it for a year. Whether it’s art, knitting, language, scuba, history, yoga or cooking, take a class. You can teach yourself something like calligraphy or gardening, but you lose part of the benefit without other learners. Here’s an example of a lovely, little place with some interesting classes in the Orlando area. Check out classes at your local community college. Your library or local craft store may offer classes, too.
- Read through the Bible on one of these plans – or make your own.
- Read through the Old Testament in a year. (This one is hard to find.)
- Memorize Scripture. You have a whole year, so memorize an epistle or a psalm or one verse a week – or something! Do it with your kids or a good friend. If you find this very difficult, use songs to help you.
- Humility – resolve not to defend yourself for a whole year. You’d be surprised how often this comes up.
- Gratitude – keep a gratefulness journal every day.
- Grace – confess one sin every day and record what you learn about yourself.
- Generosity – give something away every day, a word, a favor, a piece of clothing, a bus token.
- Encouragement – encourage someone verbally every day.
(Here’s where you get to list that diet.)
- Exercise. Good for your heart, mind and will. Develop a realistic plan, and make a chart you can check off.
- Eating habits. Instead of dieting, you might want to eat less fast food or eat one meatless meal a week or stop drinking sodas.
- Driving. Love others well: don’t text or email and drive. Get a hands-free phone device if you don’t have one. Get someone else to keep you accountable – it’s SO tempting!
- Addiction. If you are struggling with anything in this category, join a 12-step group in your area. Nothing has been proven to work better, and nothing is cheaper.
- Prayer. A forgotten art, a neglected power. Use a journal if it helps or read a great book by Tim Keller or Paul Miller to get going.
- Bedtime. Many people suffer from poor sleep hygiene and some measure of sleep deprivation. Change your habits for the better.
- Missions – make a plan now to go on one mission trip by the end of the year. Research; save money. Or support a missionary you know or a child overseas. Be actively involved.
- Counseling. For all the issues and problems you don’t know how to tackle, find a good counselor and let them help you work through it. If your problem isn’t too serious and/or you are a hard-worker, you may be able to make real progress with only one or two sessions a month. If your problem is marital, suggest this to your partner. They might just be delighted, but go, even if they don’t go.
You are God’s instrument. Don’t try to play the flute if you’re a trombone. And you can always play a better trombone. I’d love to know what you are planning for 2016. Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Col. 3:17)
An interesting book by Jen Hatmaker with a few more ideas. You could read this one with a small group of friends.
Start Now! By Paul Tripp