M-Note 1.4.2022

3 Questions to Ask in the New Year

By Matt Miofsky
The beginning of a new year is a natural time to take stock of life, where we are headed, and what changes we might want to make. It is healthy to take time to assess where you are and where you want to be. Of course, we can do this reassessment anytime. God is constantly inviting us to change. Think about the biblical language. Confession is a recognition that something in our life is not how it should be. Repentance means to turn around and reorient in a new direction. Jesus invites his followers to be “born anew”, to start over and to live in a new way, guided by new principles. We can do this work anytime, including at the beginning of a new year. As we kick off 2022, let me offer three questions that can help you turn an intention to change into action.
 
1.  What change do I want to make?
This sounds pretty simple. But before our life can look different, we have to identify what exactly we want to change. Some of you may not have spent much time thinking through the changes you need to make. Others might think they know the answer, but remember, often your first answer is not the real answer. Spend some time identifying the gap in your life between where you are and where you think God is calling you to beName it, be specific, and share it with someone. Work on a picture of one change you want to make right now in your life.
 
2.  What is getting in the way of this change?
This next question is about realistically naming the obstacles that are preventing you from making this change. After all, if you want to make a change it is worth asking why you haven’t done it yet? Are you too busy, unmotivated, easily distracted? Does the rhythm of your day allow for the change you want or is there something that needs to stop in order for something new to begin? Whenever we want to generate energy to make a change in our life, there are forces that pull us back to the status quo. Naming them allows us to see more clearly how to deal with them. Which leads to the last question.
 
3.  How can you address what is getting in the way of change?
This may sound strange, but to make changes in our life, we often need to focus less on the change and more on the obstacles getting in the way. Is life too busy? Start the new year by subtracting nonessentials from your calendar. Having trouble making faith and worship part of your life? Simplify your weekend so that you aren’t trying to cram so much in. Want to exercise but find it hard to get up? Go to bed earlier and start a habit of waking up earlier. As you address the things that are getting in the way of change, you will find an opening for something new.
 
As we take stock of our lives at the beginning of a new year, I will leave you with a prayer that I have been reciting – one that reminds me that no matter what I did (or didn’t do) yesterday, each morning is a new opportunity to start over with God. I invite you to pray it today and each morning this week. Happy 2022, and I can’t wait to see you in church.
 
New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us the desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors, and to devote each day to your Son, Our Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

Peace,
P.S. This weekend, I am kicking off a new series, Loving People You Don’t Like. Learning how to deal with people we disagree with is a goal for many of us in the new year, and we will look to Jesus for how to do this. Watch the preview video below. This weekend, I will also be announcing the result of our Christmas Eve offering, 100% of which will fund wells for clean water in Mozambique. It is going to be an exciting weekend, so I hope to see you and as always, share the word with someone else. You can join us in person or online. Check out the link below.
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