As we begin a new year, I want to give you some specific challenges over the next few days, specifically in the form of behavior patterns that I believe will be extremely beneficial as you pursue your aspirations and goals. You see, in order to fully allow God to take control of our lives, we must let go of the things that hold on to us, and I want to share some of the things that have helped me do so in my own relationship with Jesus. The first is to take a break.
Americans, as a whole, don’t do well at resting, and when we do, we usually find a way to still keep ourselves busy. Even if we’re not necessarily doing anything constructive, we stay in motion. This is why it’s so important to take time to rest. I recently took a short vacation, and with Hannah and the kids gone, I had the entire house to myself. I went into my office, not knowing what to do, and immediately went on Facebook, then Twitter, then Instagram, and finally checked my email. As if once wasn’t enough, I ended up checking all of my social media a second time — that’s when I realized I needed to do something different. I stopped and asked myself what I was doing, and I realized that I had been busy doing nothing for the past 30 minutes! That’s when I decided to make a different choice and set aside time to rest. I turned off the computer and sat down with a cup of tea in front of the fireplace. Then I set a goal for myself to see how long I could go without reaching for my phone, which I had purposefully left upstairs. Surprisingly, I got the temptation to grab it after only around 10 minutes, but I refrained. Instead, I continued to sit and drink my tea, reflecting on life and praying for Hannah, my children, you, and my church. Although it was difficult not to squander energy on busy nothingness, it taught me that it is entirely possible with intention!
Friend, I would like to encourage you to unplug from your electronics and create the practice of intentionally relaxing. When you have spare time, instead of filling it with meaningless knowledge, clear your thoughts; force yourself to slow down and pursue God’s things. Allow your mind and imagination to wander as you ponder, reflect, and pray. As a result, I guarantee you’ll feel cleansed and invigorated, and this year will be even better than the last!