The end of one year and the start of a new one is always a great time for reflection; to think about your present; and to plan how to make the forthcoming year a good one.
Here are some tips on how to make 2023 an enjoyable, fulfilling and purposeful year — with God at the centre.
LOVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE, LOVE YOURSELF
Jesus said the most important commandments are to: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,” and “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Luke 10:27). In 2023, aim to show your love for God by building a relationship with Him and serving Him with a pure heart, doing good to others and loving on yourself.
FOSTER GOOD RELATIONSHIPS
It’s so easy to love and build a relationship with God. Not so easy to do the same with people, though, especially when they purposely hurt, betray or malign us. However, having a deep relationship with God makes it easier to love others. If the people we’re trying to show love to are toxic or just plain obnoxious – and we don’t live with them — it’s best to keep our distance. If they are family, pray. Hard! And remember, if you want friends, it’s important to be a good friend.
Scriptures state that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Build your faith by studying God’s Word, believing it, and reiterating it when you experience times of difficulty and challenges in your life. It’s during such times you’ll experience God as your Comforter, Provider and Protector, and also as the One who answers prayers.
LEAVE THE PAST IN THE PAST
We can accumulate feelings of shame, regret, pain and hurt as the years go by, and if not dealt with, they can foster resentment, disappointment, depression and even inertia. As we move into 2023, we should resolve to leave our past in the past. This may entail forgiving ourselves for our wrongdoing or poor decision-making, and forgiving others or making things right with those we have wronged. If we find it hard to leave the past behind, it might be worth receiving counselling, which can help us offload our burdens and trauma, so we can go through 2023 feeling emotionally free.
TRY NEW THINGS
The phrase ‘stepping out your comfort zone’ is a well-worn one but so true. Life gets boring and stale when you do the same things all the time, and it’s good to participate in activities you’ve never done before. Leaving your comfort zone behind will inspire and uplift you in ways you never dreamt possible and open new doors of opportunity for you.
STEP UP AND STEP OUT
God is always inspiring us to either step up higher to pursue His purposes or our God-given dreams. When that time to step out arrives, we have to stand on those Scriptures that say ‘Fear not’; pray and ask God for guidance; and surround ourselves with wise counsellors who will give us the confidence to get out there and do what we feel led to do. Doing something new can be daunting but exciting; however, there’s nothing like building our confidence in God and in our self-belief by stepping out.
SEE THE WORLD
Travelling to different parts of the world remains a great way to enjoy new experiences and see new things. Some can travel alone, whereas others want to travel but can’t find anyone to travel with. If that is the case for you, why not go on trips organised by either a church, a social club, a ministry or mission outreach? Not only will you have fun, but you’ll also meet new people and find the experience purposeful and spiritually meaningful.
FOCUS ON YOUR HEALTH
Your health is your wealth. If you lose it, you will struggle to achieve your goals and your God-given purpose. How do you maintain and improve your health? By having a healthy diet with fruit, vegetables, protein and healthy fats and not too much sugar or carbohydrates. Exercising is also important, even if it’s just a 30-minute walk each day. And take advantage of free NHS health checks for various illnesses — most diseases, if caught early, can be treated effectively.
God is desirous to build a relationship with you, which you can do via prayer. Consider it as communication: you speak to God; He speaks to you. Share your hopes, fears, wants and needs. He’ll hear your prayers and answer them – and not always in the way you want! Be aware, though, that however God answers your requests (whether with a Yes, No or Wait), He will always have your best interests and spiritual growth at heart.