We are on the brink of a new year, and thank God.
2015 was a violent, fearful year, and most of us have no idea what to do or how to respond. In the next few days, we will be bombarded with invitations to start new things, and depending on how hungover we are from the holiday excess, we’ll make bold promises to ourselves about all the changing we’re going to do.
Let me help you sift through the noise of new years resolutions by singing a different song: Stop.
Seriously, start this new year with stopping.
What experiences of joy do you hope to have this year? How are you going to plan to live within your limits? What vacations will you take? Which delicious books will you read? How about setting a goal for napping? What subscriptions will you cancel? What friends do you most want to spend time with, and when will you schedule those dates? Which day of the week will you cease from lists and work and trying hard to measure up?
Maybe you need to stop using social media once a week. Maybe you need to stop checking work email on the weekends. Maybe you need to stop judging yourself so harshly. Maybe you need to stop thinking you can keep all the commitments you said yes to, and you need to have some hard conversations so you can find a sane rhythm of work and rest again.
On Day six, human beings are created and placed in the garden of Eden by God. But then the very next thing that happens is day seven, when God rests. The very first thing God calls holy in the Scriptures is Sabbath, which simply means to stop. Think about it: God creates human beings, then they start their existence with stopping. They learn how to rest in delight (Eden means delight).
So much can be said about why we race through our lives, why we’re allergic to stopping. I don’t think anyone needs to be convinced that they should stop; most of us simply need to make some decisions about what we will stop doing, and what we will start doing.
I don’t want to write a long post today. That somehow seems incongruous with stopping. I do want to encourage you to think about this, to talk about it with your people, and then to get serious about what stopping and resting in delight means for you in 2016. I wrote an entire chapter in my book about stopping, so you might want to start there.
Be well, my friends.
Congratulations to Joy Martin from Texas who won last week’s copy of Beginnings!
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