“Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders, the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.”
I saw an exercise inspiration video on social media the other day saying that there were 8 weeks left in 2022. I’ve heard before, and you might have to, that it takes 8 weeks to see and feel a noticeable change in your fitness journey. So, if you started today, by Thanksgiving, you should start to feel the change, by December 8th, you should start to see the progress, and by the first week of the new year, others will start to see your transformation. To achieve this, of course, you need to be consistent and dedicated to the end goal and to bettering yourself.
It’s so easy to let the last few months of every year go by without focusing on yourself. It’s typical to get caught up preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas family events, school breaks, and filling your work calendar to the brim to try and get a head-start on the new year. It’s also the time that healthy habits like exercising and daily meditation get put on the back burner which is ironic because it’s those things that help us pace ourselves through the stress of everything else.
Hebrews 12:1-2 has been my favorite Bible passage for years. The simple visual of this race, concentrating on the finish line and easily ignoring everything that gets in our way, makes it feel like getting through every trial is attainable. Like we can see Jesus up ahead of us and that he will carry us while we must catch our breath. Learning how to pace yourself through the varying seasons of life is challenging but there are a few easy steps you can focus on to help simplify the process.
Throw off everything that hinders: what’s been weighing you down recently? Take intentional time to journal, pray it out, and talk with a loved one about the things that have been heavy on your mind. At work, be honest with your team about how you’re feeling about projects, timelines, and ideas, and be intentional about creating a space where your coworkers can come to you with their own heavy thoughts. Make this a frequent practice so you’re not carrying around extra baggage that isn’t serving a Godly purpose.
The sin that so easily entangles: take some time to sit down and be honest with yourself about sin that you may be struggling with. It could be something blatantly obvious or maybe it’s something small you know you shouldn’t be allowing in your life but is inching in to create fault lines that will be much harder to repair in the future.
Run with perseverance: strengthen your relationship with Jesus by keeping consistent in reading the Bible. If you’re feeling overwhelmed trying to keep up with projects and goals, take small breaks to read an encouraging verse and say a short prayer. Being confident in the knowledge that God has a plan (that we’re living out by running this race) and that he loves us and has the most incredible gift to share will give you the life-giving energy you need to keep up with everything the world throws at you.
Fixing our eyes on Jesus: keep Jesus’ love at the forefront of everything you do. Are you thinking about God with every decision you make? Are you spreading love with every interaction you have at home, work, and out in the wild? When you concentrate your entire future on God and keep your eyes forward, distractions and temptations must work that much harder to get in your way.
Work on incorporating healthy, deliberate, God-driven choices into your daily routine this holiday season so that when the new year comes, it will be second nature. You will feel the change in your life and others will be able to see the light shining through you. It’s okay to take breaks to figure out how to pace yourself. It’s okay to ask for help and to feel overwhelmed. When it feels like the breather you’ve been taking has been a bit too long, don’t forget that God is not only in front of you, but he’s behind you, too. Rooting for you every minute of every day.
There’s no first-place ribbon in this race. The only way to lose is to quit and never try again.