We usually roll into this time of year poised to start some things – new rhythms, new habits, new projects around the house, new initiatives at work. At the very least, we think of the new year in terms of improving things – investing in our marriage, having more meaningful conversations with our friends, caring for our bodies, stewarding our finances. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for all of that. I love this time of year with its sense of new beginnings, fresh starts, and renewed possibilities.
But we tend to overlook a crucial prerequisite to all of this starting and improving. Before we add, we need to subtract. That’s why I’m coming into 2023 wondering how I can create more space in my life for what really matters. For me, it’s easy to dream about a life filled with prayer walks, healthy eating, deep connection, and creativity. The hard part is creating the space I need to create that kind of life.
Let’s face it – none of us were all that bored in 2022. It’s not like we were sitting around with all kinds of unscheduled, undistracted, idle time and now that Christmas is over we’re finally getting around to doing something about it. We live in a world of tight schedules, limitless distractions, and physical exhaustion.
Making new years resolutions without first making space is an exercise in futility. Worse, it’s an exercise in cruelty – it’s like spending a weekend shopping for a new car that you absolutely cannot afford. Why fall in love with the vision of regular date nights, energizing workouts, and bonding around a fire pit when you’re already not keeping up with everything?
So, hold on to your thoughts, dreams, and plans for 2023. They’re important. In fact, I think those longings give you a pretty good sense of some of the work God wants to do in your life. But before you dive headlong into new plans, schedules, and activities, make some space.
That’s my prayer for us this January – make space for what matters.
Which means letting go of some of the things that really don’t. For me, making space really comes down to two things: screens and schedules. The life I want requires less time on email, YouTube, HGTV, and news websites. There’s no reason to talk about the books I want to read until I get some space from the screens I don’t want to watch. The life I want to lead doesn’t have space for unproductive meetings, constant availability, or saying yes to every request. That’s just me. You might need to make space in your finances, in your closet, in your kid’s schedules, in your social calendar, or in your social media usage.
Here’s the thing – I really want all of us to get to those hopes and dreams we’re holding on to or 2023. But they won’t happen if we don’t take the time to make some space first.
Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash