A new year brings the hope of new beginnings, fresh starts and… adding to your to-do list. A new year can mean new goals, hobbies, meal plans and budgets. Before you start your 2023 list of to-dos, think about the things you can leave behind instead. Here’s a list to help your new year get off to a fresh start (with a little less).
1 – Trying to do it all
You can’t – and it’s nothing against you. No one can do it all. Influencers, celebrities, the Pioneer Woman and your pastor…they are not ‘doing it all’ nor can they. Our insufficiencies make us human, level the playing ground and (best part) bring glory to God. When you admit that you cannot do it all, and rely on Christ’s strength, His power is made perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9).
2 – Believing lies
The devil is really good at telling lies. He roams the earth seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). The reason he’s good at telling lies (and why we are great at believing them) is because his lies sound pretty similar to the truth. They may even have a partial truth tucked in there (sneaky, right?). His lies might make you feel good – they may bring up a good point or seem not-so-bad. For example, “Did God really say…?”(Genesis 3:1) or “If you’re not hurting anyone, it can’t really be bad.” But the truth is, if Scripture says it, you can believe it – and you can believe it is the best thing for you (Romans 8:28).
3 – Bitterness
Ouch. This one is going to hurt. But if you can let go of trying to do it all on your own strength and learn to tell lies from the truth, you can (and you’ve really got to) let go of bitterness. See Ephesians 4:31-32. Here’s where it can hurt: most of us don’t consider ourselves bitter, but we do consider ourselves right. You know, you don’t deserve how that person treated you. You deserve respect and what they did was wrong. When they come (crawling) back to you, you’ll forgive them. After all, that what Jesus would do, right? Wrong. Philippians 2:5-8 says Jesus humbled Himself. He didn’t hold our sin over our heads and wait for us to beg for Him to come down to forgive us. If anyone has the absolute right to be bitter, Christ does. But instead, He made that first step and reached out to us.
You may be thinking, ‘Cool. But how do I practically do this?” Thanks for asking. Let’s start with three things to help kick 2022’s junk to the curb.
- Scripture is the best tool you can use. You knew we’d say this, didn’t you? It’s the absolute best way to beat the lies, though. When Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness, He had all the power to send Satan straight back where he came from, but instead, He answered the devil’s lies with the truth of Scripture (and that got Satan out of there). Read Matthew 4:1-11. The only way you can answer with Scripture, is if you know it. So begin, or continue, spending time in God’s Word.
- Say it out loud. What are you struggling with? Put words to the struggle and share it with someone who loves Jesus and will lovingly speak the truth back to you (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). If you don’t allow anyone to get close to you, it’ll be easier to aim for a false sense of perfection, believe lies and become bitter.
- Worship. Worship Jesus wherever you are – tell Him what you know about Him and how you love Him. Worship Him with other believers at church, too. The encouragement you will find worshiping with other believers will spur you on – and it’ll help with that accountability, too (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Happy New Year – let’s live in the light of His truth in 2023!