A Remedy for the New Year’s Overwhelm

Walk Into 2024 Without Feeling Overwhelmed!

Twenty twenty-four.
A fresh start.
A blank page.
A clean slate.

A collective excitement permeates the air every year about this time. You can feel it, right?! There is something appealing about new beginnings and endless possibilities that sparks renewed hope. We are inspired to write goals, try new things, and unleash our potential.

Eat better. Exercise more. Be on time (Ahem, I see you rolling your eyes at me. This year will be different!). Stay on top of laundry. Save more money. Read through the Bible. Do regular one-on-one dates with each of my kids. Read those books. Write that book.

I find it so interesting that every single year, with the changing of the calendar, this same phenomenon occurs. Clearly, human beings are hungry for better and hardwired to improve. And regardless of how the prior year went, we are eager to turn the page and forge ahead to a better version of ourselves.

I have to say that I appreciate and applaud this spirit of initiative and improvement. I think it’s a great thing to evaluate how we as individuals can be our best and then set goals accordingly.

Yet, as I consider my aspirations for the coming year, I realize that a lot of them are very ME-centric. How can I be better so that I can feel better about myself? How can I try hard enough and muster up the discipline and fortitude to reach my goals? How can I elevate Sarah?

And, if you’re like me, the list of what you want to improve starts getting really long…like, overwhelmingly and irrationally long. This is the point when I usually decide to sum up everything with one word.

Yes, that’s it, a word for the year! It’s usually something like “discipline.” Brilliant! That encompasses just about everything that I hope to achieve this year.

You can do it, Sarah! Just be more disciplined in EVERY SINGLE AREA of your life! That’s it. And 2024 will be a smashing success. You got this!

So here I am, turning my excitement for the fresh start of a new year into a crushing weight by putting a lot of pressure on myself.

That’s probably why every year about three months from now, I decide that I’m just not really a New Year’s resolution kinda gal. (Until next year, of course.)But this year, I would like to take advantage of the fresh start in a more realistic way. In praying through what that looks like, the Lord has given me a couple of things to focus on.

1. Instead of Living in Fear of Failure, Ask God where He wants me to be and what He wants me to do.

Rather than making a long list of all the things I think I should be doing, I am going to ask God what He wants me to do. I’m going to ask Him to guide me, and then rely on the Holy Spirit to follow where He leads. I am going to make the most of what He has already put in front of me. Yes, I am still going to aim for better eating and more exercise. But rather than making it all about me or how great I can be, I am aiming to make it about Him.

2. Instead of Living Under Pressure, Remember that I’m here for His Glory and Not Mine.

It’s great to have goals; it’s great to want to be my best. We should want that. But ultimately, the point is not to prop up Sarah. Everything I do should be done for the glory of the One who made me. My desire is that my actions point to Him and cause people to applaud Jesus and not me. And I will have to remind myself of this over and over, because my human nature always makes everything about me.

You know what? I actually feel relieved! If I’m following the Lord, I am right where I need to be, whatever that looks like. I can let go of the pressure to improve everything all at once, and let the Lord of the universe be Lord of my everyday life.

That may all sound simple, but I think I could use some simple in my life. I’m going to try to filter my decisions through these two focal points, and not sweat the details quite so much.Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a bike over in the corner calling my name.

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