We’re just 11 days into 2019, and I don’t know about you, but this year is off to a wild start for me….but a good one. People talk about it all the time, but a new year is truly an incredible opportunity to reflect on what worked last year and what didn’t…and make some changes.
But sometimes that process can be overwhelming! That’s why I’m sharing with you five important questions that you need to ask, to both maximize and simplify 2019. Last week I shared the first three of those (find that here. Today, let’s dig into the next two.
So here’s question four of five: ask yourself, “What is one thing that I should stop doing right now that would make my life better?”
This question really makes us get honest with ourselves and de-clutter our lives…My wife Lynn and I were talking about this because we do a big clean-out of our house twice a year. There’s something so healthy about reassessing the closet where you just toss stuff day after day, and it piles up year after year – and actually disposing of stuff you no longer need.
We need to go through the same process in our personal lives too. We need to spend time asking ourselves the hard question of why we’ve been holding onto stuff. When we have a lot of clutter in our lives – whether that’s emotional baggage, too many demands on our time, or ways we’re living that are unhealthy – that clutter takes our energy away from doing the things we need to do. I think that’s an important piece to our life…we have to learn how to declutter a little bit.
I saw a living example of this that broke my heart when I was driving to work the other day. There was a woman who was homeless, and I noticed her as I sat at a light. She had two shopping carts full of her stuff. I watched as she took one of the shopping carts and walked across the street with it, then she walked back and pushed the second cart across the walkway. And my heart broke for this woman as I realized, “Wow, that’s all of her earthly possessions.” And the amount of aggravation she dealt with, handling two shopping carts…it took her two full cycles at the stoplight just to get her stuff across the intersection.
And then I heard the Lord say, “That’s all of you.” Even though we have homes or apartments…how much clutter do we all have? And I don’t just mean the “stuff” clutter, but also the life clutter. So what’s one thing you could stop doing right now that would make your life better? And would you be so bold as to stop doing that thing? It’s not easy, and it might seem counterintuitive…but we only live into the full and abundant life Jesus promises us when we get rid of those things that are cluttering our lives.we only live into the full and abundant life Jesus promises us when we get rid of those things that are cluttering our lives. Click To Tweet
Whenever you say “yes” to one thing, you say “no” to something else. And so whatever that thing is that’s taking up that space in your heart, in your life, in your reality that isn’t helpful, that isn’t edifying, that isn’t needful…the beauty is once you remove that thing, then you can do the work of expanding your life in ways you’ve never dreamed. So whatever that is for you – say goodbye to it.
Question four leads us naturally to question five, because once we make some space in our lives, we want to say, “What’s one thing I can start doing right now that would make my life better?”
This is super straightforward…There are certain things for all of us that if we were to start doing them right now, they’d be good for us. Simple, right?
Maybe the one thing you need to start doing right now is you need to get a good night’s sleep. That’s a really important thing because the Bible says that God will give His blessed ones rest. Nowhere in the Bible does it say you need to be “on” at a million miles an hour, 24 hours a day. So for some of us the best thing for us might be to just go to bed at 9:30 every night. Or for some of us, it’s joining a small group. Maybe you need to go back to church, to commit to worship Jesus and sit under the Word of God, with God’s people.
….And that’s it. Those are the five questions we all need to ask to get the most out of 2019. To recap, here’s our homework:
- One way to grow my relationship with God.
- One way to become a healthier person.
- One way to have the greatest possible impact in the world.
- One thing to get rid of, because it’s just not necessary anymore.
- One thing to add to my life that would make me a happier person.
Growth happens when we keep turning up the volume on the tension in our life. Once you get comfortable in a certain spot, you just have to up the ante a little bit. And in the same way, whatever things you put into practice in 2018, now can you take it to the next phase so that you get a little sore, you feel a little uncomfortable again. And when you do that, eventually that becomes your “new normal,” and you’re growing again.
If we can live our lives constantly turning up the volume, it’s amazing what God will do. If we can live our lives constantly turning up the volume, it's amazing what God will do. Click To Tweet A friend I work with always says, when Jesus invites us to come and follow him, we always have to leave behind something first….We’ve already left 2018 in the past, and we can’t go back and relive it. We can’t go back and redo 2018 – unless, of course, someone designs the flux capacitor. And that’s actually a beautiful thing…because now we get to move forward into what God’s doing next.