3 Ways 2024 Can Be Better

Medical science and secular sociologists all realize that the American pace of life isn’t working; in fact, it’s detrimental. Sleep scientists are telling us there’s a sleep epidemic in the West. Adam Grant and Cal Newport, and other vocational sociologists, tell us our hurried pace at work is less effective, and more hours don’t equal more performance. Physical trainers tell us our body needs to recover in order to strengthen.

It’s as if woven into the rhythm of the universe is this universal reality that everything needs rest to become what we truly are.

Eugene Peterson’s translation of Matthew 11:28-30 is inviting as Jesus calls us to his pace of life:  

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” 

Step 1: Confession – Own Your Life

A reality check is in order. We are producing the very fruit in our lives that our way of life is designed to produce. If we regularly operate at a low-grade anxiety, in stress, angry, burned out, emotionally incarcerated, relationally struggling, and feeling far from God, then something is off. My disciplines and rhythms and morning routine and nightly practice and work habits and kids sports — my schedule, my budget, my relationship with my phone, the decisions I make — something must be off.

We are producing the very fruit in our lives that our way of life is designed to produce.

The Spirit has been gently haunting me on this lately…that I would only do what the Father tells me to do. I can’t do everything — and I shouldn’t. I have more control over what I do in a week than I think. Walking more and picking up my phone less is possible. Turning down a couple of events a month doesn’t seem like much, but amortized over the year, it saves me a ton of emotional and spiritual and relational withdrawals.

Step 2: Prayer – Spirit-Led Vision

In communion and prayer with God, grab a journal and ask for a vision of what 2024 could be.

Vision – Who do I want to be? What do I want to be able to say about myself? What is God inviting
me to become? Write a one-sentence vision statement. It can be short-term (“I want to be in a
year.”). Or long-term (“God is inviting me to become __
in the next five years.”).

Start/Stop – What should I start and/or stop doing? Start = Think about one or two things that are
keystone habits or practices. They will bring the most change and health to this part of your life. Stop
= It might not be a bad thing you’re doing, per se. Just something to stop for now. Perhaps so you can
start doing something else.

The goal isn’t perfection; it’s communion with God.

Centered on Jesus – Be with Jesus. Become like Jesus. Do what Jesus did. As you write down your
rhythms, ask yourself if it is being with Jesus, becoming like him, or doing the things he does with
him. This will help keep your habits and rhythms centered on Jesus.

Step 3: Consecration – Whole-Life Obedience

Consecration is dedicated your whole life to God in faith that a life unto the Lord leads to flourishing and joy. Jesus is better.

So consider the habits and rhythms of your life:

● Spiritually – growing in maturity in Christ (Colossians 2:6-7)
● Emotionally – living out the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
● Relationally – loving others because God loved us first (1 John 4:11-12)
● Physically – glorifying God with our bodies (Romans 12:1)
● Financially – stewarding our earthly wealth for eternal and Kingdom priorities (Matthew 6:19-21)
● Missionally – spending our lives making disciples of Jesus (Matthew 28:16-20)

For example, Jesus has led me to:

● grow spiritually by growing my prayer life
● grow emotionally by journaling more
● grow relationally by scheduling regular lunches with two friends
● grow physically by committing to earlier bedtimes
● grow financially by increasing how much we give by 1% every year for 13 years now
● grow missionally by prayer walking my neighborhood

Use the following template to write down your own plan for 2024. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You’re going to make adjustments as you go. The goal isn’t perfection; it’s communion with God. It’s a life finding its orbit around the Son. “Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

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