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January: A Time of Reflection


Written by Brooke Gray


January is an interesting month. As we enter into a new year usually one of two things happen. One, we’re filled with the motivation to start the new year off strong. You have your New Year's resolutions ready to go, the Christmas decorations are down, and you’re ready to hop back into work. Then there’s scenario two. Maybe the holidays weren't restful, the house is still a disaster, and you haven’t even begun to think of what goals you want to carry with you into the new year. Or maybe it’s a mix of both? 


Jesus says “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 


However, in the midst of preparing for the new year, I often have a hard time going to him for rest. I’ve had to take a step back and be reminded if I’m in a state of hurry I can’t experience the true rest the Lord seeks to give me. As I’ve begun to slow down, I’ve made an effort to sit and be with Jesus. He’s helped me to see January as a month to rest, to reset, to reflect, and to thoughtfully prepare for the year ahead. It’s almost like if January was a day of the week it’d be a Sunday!


In my reflection and preparation, I always get overwhelmed with resolutions in the new year. It seems like this big thing looming over me and I don’t know where to start. Also, how can we possibly make goals and plan ahead for certain things that we don’t even know could happen this year! As I reflect on this conundrum, I am drawn back to a conversation I had with a college mentor. She shared with me how to invite Jesus into creating intentional goals that are meaningful and attainable. In college I’d write them by the semester, but I’ve since transitioned to doing them quarterly. I like to start my time by sneaking away for a “coffee date with Jesus” as I invite him into this space as we brainstorm together how I want to be growing.


I break my quarterly goals into 3 different sections.


Personal Goals. This can be anything you want to personally accomplish. This is probably the most open-ended goal. It could be something like a workout goal, a reading goal, doing something you’ve been putting off, or for me, writing this blog post (among a few other things)!


Spiritual Goals. This can look like challenging yourself to read a certain book of the bible, trying a different approach to your prayer life, attending a Waypoint Academy class, or thoughtfully thinking through how you want to be growing with the Lord over the next few months.

Who you want to be intentional with. This category can look like a variety of different things. It can be praying for a certain person, spending more time with a group or certain friend you want to be more intentional with, or inviting neighbors over for a meal. However, this is a goal you have to be careful with especially if you find yourself regularly overcommitting yourself. It is important to stay realistic and be mindful of your capacity.


As the new year is upon us, I hope this encourages you to use the rest of January to thoughtfully prepare for the year ahead, to invite Jesus into that space, and be reminded that it is only through Him that we can experience true rest.

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Jim Gray
Jim Gray
Jan 23

Wow! True wisdom for all ages found here. Grateful for a God who patiently awaits. He truly has revealed to us how he is gentle and lowly. Why wouldn’t my natural inclination be to surrender to a God such as this.?

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