2020 is here! You are probably recovering from Christmas given the short amount of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. And here we are, a week into the New Year. Eat better. Workout more. Join a Pilates class. Do you hear the resounding message we often hear around the start of the New Year?
Let me be clear. We do need to be active. God does not call us to sit around and let life pass us by. However, changing your lifestyle is not about doing more. It is about being more intentional and relational. First, let me break down the terms “intentional” and “relational”.
Living intentionally means that we will live with purpose. First and foremost, we belong to God and everything and anything good that comes from us is from God. To live with intention means that we will evaluate our lives. Why do we do what we do? This is where people get angry because they must evaluate their routines and traditions. There is nothing wrong with routines and traditions--if they yield fruit of the Spirit. You can’t eat rotten fruit! If what we are doing is not working, then we need to give up our failings to God.
Being intentional also means treating our resources as they were God’s. Our time, energy, possessions, money, and family--they are entrusted to us. Stewardship is more than proper money management. We begin to practice good stewardship when we look at all that is in our domestic church (our home). Do I really need all of these _________ (fill in the blank)? Why are my closets overflowing? Start decluttering and simplifying your life and you will have more time and energy for WHO matters.
Relationships are the key to our greatest successes and worst failures. How does one be more relational in the New Year? Let’s look at a word that makes many cringe but is important in our relationships: boundaries. Yes, boundaries! If we are going to thrive in the New Year, then we need to start setting some boundaries. Three areas of people will need to be addressed when setting boundaries: family, friends, and work.
Remember this question: Does this behavior or situation bring joy or obligation?
Here is how to tackle them….
Family---Which of your family members will take the most time and energy from you? Spouses, children, in-laws, siblings, parents---just to name a few. Everyone needs appropriate boundaries if they are going to flourish including those with poor boundaries. Be aware of generational patterns. If something has been accepted for many years, it will be viewed as ok. Remember to the question above--especially in dealing with family.
Friends--You cannot be all things to all people, and this includes your friends. Take a moment and ask yourself this: How much time am I on my smartphone and/or social media? As humans, we were built for relationship; however, we are all called to utilize margin in our lives. Margin is the act of creating space. Do you allow for margin in your life? What types of friendships are you cultivating? If you answer that you "have no time for friends", then I believe you have no time for growth.
Work--And here we are at our favorite area of setting boundaries. This is a struggle for many. If you are paid an hourly wage, this area will be easier for you to handle. If work demands more of you then you typically get overtime. For salaried employees, the struggle is messy. Know what the expectations are of your boss and those who work with/for you. You do not know if you do not ask! Additionally, make sure you guard your time off. You may need to be contacting for something urgent; however, not every matter is urgent!
I am praying for you to find joy this New Year as you focus on being more intentional and relational. God bless!