It’s the beginning of a new year; the time when many of us make resolutions and think about what we want to accomplish in the year ahead. Many of us are probably thinking about the new goals we want to achieve: eat healthier, exercise more, read more books, take more roadtrips, spend more time with family. Or perhaps one of the resolutions on this great list from Crosswalk.com.
These are all great goals and worth pursuing, but what we may not be thinking about (but should be) at the beginning of this new year is what things we need to do less of.
In his article for Relevant Magazine, Joël Malm gives us “4 Things We All Need to Do Less of in 2017.”
These are things that not only will likely bring us greater joy and deeper relationships, but will strengthen our walk with God. And in order to make room for the new things we want to tackle this year, it just makes sense to leave behind some others.
The first thing Malm points out that we can do less of is sharing our opinion. We’ve all likely found ourselves being more concerned with letting our opinion on politics, music, the Bible, or a current controversy be known than we are with actually engaging in conversation. Especially in our highly individual-centered culture, it’s common to feel as though airing our opinions solidifies who we are. However, this isn’t helpful for building relationships or engaging in genuine conversation, especially online. Instead, suggests Malm, let’s take the Bible’s advice and be quick to listen, but slow to speak (James 1:19).
This next one is likely convicting for many people--I know it is for me. Malm says that in this new year, we would do well to complain less. “Complaining is a lack of gratitude,” he writes. We’re all familiar with the concept of counting your blessings when you feel inclined to be discouraged, but perhaps we hear this kind of positive attitude outlook on life too often for it to have the impact it should--or perhaps we forget the reason why we can count our blessings in all circumstances: because God is good all the time, no matter what. It’s easy to forget; it’s easy to brush over and find what we believe are legitimate reasons to complain. Instead, let’s strive to follow Malm’s advice and remember that in “Whatever circumstance you’re facing today, you’ve got a ton to be grateful for when you have Jesus.”
Complaining is tied very closely to comparing, which is the third thing Malm suggests we do less of this year. When we complain, what we’re often doing is saying that we believe we deserve to have things go as well for us as they seem to be going for a lot of other people. We tend to think we are entitled to a life that always goes smoothly. Choosing not to compare your circumstances, struggles, finances, or looks to someone else’s can be particularly difficult with social media. We need to constantly reorient ourselves to focus on what God has blessed us with, rather than what he has blessed someone else with.
Lastly, we may need to cut back on the time we spend on social media. It’s so easy to check Facebook or Instagram first thing in the morning, and there is nothing inherently wrong with doing so, but when this becomes a pattern, we easily come to rely on social media to provide us with the human interaction that would be better cultivated through in-person relationships. This may involve something as simple--yet as difficult!--as choosing not to be on your phone while waiting for a friend, standing in line at the store, or waiting to be seated in a restaurant. Instead, we can use these moments as opportunities to interact with others. We may be surprised with the unexpected conversations and relationships we are able to form when we are open to them.
What about you? What are your New Year’s resolutions? What do you want to do less of this year?
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: January 4, 2017
Veronica Neffinger is the editor of ChristianHeadlines.com