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  • Chris Peoples

Our calendar has built-in opportunities for alignment

ADRIAN – Have you ever considered that our modern calendar has built-in opportunities for alignment?



It is a good chance that your answer is yes. For example, daylight Savings serves as a good reminder to change the batteries in our smoke detectors. Chilly evenings remind us to think about transitioning to our winter wardrobe. Equally, there is another clothing transition when afternoons become warmer. There are a host of other calendar dates and seasons that prompt certain action, so we are ready to jump into the next season of life.

 

These alignment opportunities are not unique to our modern calendar. We read in Leviticus 23-25 how our Lord established important opportunities for the Israelite nation to pause and be aligned before they moved on in life. In some instances, families were to gather and remember where they had been before they considered where they hoped to go. In other instances, the entire assembly gathered to honor their history, remember those who have gone before them, and to prepare for the future. Even property ownership was part of the realignment process. When Israel obeyed what the Lord established, years of blessing followed.

 

Leviticus 23-25 provides three important principles as we are launched into 2024. They apply to families and congregations alike.

 

First, set aside time to remember the previous year. 


Some people are disciplined in their ability to journal throughout the year. Some people use social media to record the events of life. Some people write a Christmas letter that recalls key events from the year. The form that one uses to record our history is not as important as being intentional about doing so. However, recording our history is only part of remembering. When your family gathers, talk about what has been exciting or brought joy in the previous year. Family gatherings also provide necessary moments to unpack the parts of our year that have been less than joyful. It is possible that Thanksgiving and Christmas had newly empty chairs around the table. It is possible 2024 will have a birthday that is no longer celebrated as it was in the past. Seize the opportunity to remember every part of your year together.

 

Second, set aside time to write down goals for the upcoming year. 


Personally, I try to make goals that require lifestyle changes in a way that will help us have a great today and a better tomorrow.

 

Third, self-care is the glue that holds all of it together. 


For about the last ten years, I have used the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day to evaluate how well I am caring for myself. During this process, I look to make lifestyle alignments that will protect myself from myself while being able to give my best to my family and my church, in that order. This process is only successful through the grace of our Lord and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

 

There are five practices that I use to determine healthy self-care and then make some decisions for the following year. Any individual can participate in them.

 

  1. I open my weight tracker spreadsheet to see how my weight has fluctuated throughout the year. Did I hit the target? Am I close? Was there a month significantly higher than other months? If so, what happened in that month that might have caused weight gain? Does anything trigger that I didn’t eat well?

  2. I open the exercise app on my phone to see how consistent I was in the past year. My target is 30 minutes of exercise 3-4 days per week, a number given to me by a nutritionist many years ago. There are many reasons why people exercise, not including weight management. Start slow. Continue consistently.

  3. I look to see how frequently I honor my time off. How rested do I feel? When is our vacation time for the upcoming year? We have found that planning vacation time in advance ensures that we have time for rest.

  4. I order a new Bible that is different from the version I preach from. My goal is to read through the Bible once every year. Using a different version reminds me to pursue personal growth.

  5. I look to see if our financial picture is better than it was at the beginning of the year. Where are the opportunities to increase saving for this calendar year? Many years, January has been a spending fast for non-essential items.

 

I believe that God has graciously given mankind natural opportunities for realignment. Even the most efficient person, family or church has regular alignments in the life or organization, which is the reason we think they are efficient. I encourage you to spend an hour remembering where you have been in the past year, consider where you are going in the next year, and make some decision to care for yourself well.

 


 





ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Peoples has been in full-time ministry since 2000 and has served Trinity Baptist Church in Adrian since 2021. He has been married to Bridget since 1997 and have four children.




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