I’m not exactly sure why New Year’s Day feels like a reset button. Whatever the cause, it has arrived 10x stronger this year. We are entering not only into a new year, but a new decade. For our family 2010-2020 brought sweeping change (some great and some not so great) and I’m under the weighty realization that a decade is a powerful time frame. Seriously. Take a moment and think backwards to all the things that had not yet happened in 2010. It’s eerily cumbersome and hopeful all at the same time. Nevertheless, 2020 is upon us. Are you ready for the coming decade?
In 10 years, what will have changed? What will have remained the same? Where will we be? Where will we have been? What friendships will have lasted? Which will have faded due to circumstances? What university will my children have chosen? Will sickness be a part of our story? Will we have more or less body fat? Which books will we have read? Which books will we have written? What technology will shape our everyday lives? Who among us will still be living? Who will have entered into eternity?
All of these questions are hauntingly imminent as we begin a new decade together. The truth, of course, is that change is the only constant. Our lives will see many changes one decade from today, that is for certain. With that in view, I’d like to offer a few principles that might help each of us push reset and live in such a way that we will arrive at January 1st, 2030, without regrets.
Principle #1: Look Forward. You can’t safely drive forward staring into the rearview mirror. This one is obvious but also commonly backwards in our lives. If I’m honest, there is so much I would do differently about the last decade. Maybe it’s true of everyone, but I have lived with myself for the past 3,650 days and I know well my mistakes, sin, and missteps. I wish I could count them on one hand. Although I think it’s wise to glance into the mirror from time to time, especially if you are shifting lanes, it is impossible to enter into the coming decade with eyes on the rear view mirror. Our memories can never outsize our dreams. The same is also true of victories. Even these, especially these, must be glanced at only occasionally as they will not provide an accurate compass for directing life into the future. Victories and failures of the past must both be left behind if we are to navigate clearly into the fog of the future. This is what Paul had in mind in Philippians 3 when he wrote about forgetting the past and setting his sight and energy towards the prize that Christ had promised for the days ahead. New Year’s Day, especially this one, brings a reset opportunity.
Principle #2: Garden Your Heart. The seeds in your heart are the prophetic portrait of the future you. Seeds are futuristic. Your heart is like soil that hosts the seeds. What you allow in your soil will grow. What you plant will find expression. What you root out will produce no fruit. “Show me your seeds and I’ll show you your future.” The great news is that we are the gardeners of our heart. We decide what our future selves will look like. I could name a million seeds that need to remain far from the garden of our heart and a million that would provide a rich abundance of goodness if planted. Since I don’t have space to name them all, allow me to suggest an overarching “gardening” principle that I believe the Holy Spirit has been speaking to me over the past few months. I am coming to believe that hurry is the greatest enemy of a healthy heart. Hurry cost me dearly several times in the past decade and although I’m not focused on those days, I must learn from them. Great gardeners don’t hurry. In our fast paced society, productivity has become the master virtue. If it produces fruit it must be good. Sadly, that’s not the case with this generation. Studies have shown that due to a hurried lifestyle this generation is the most over-connected, overwhelmed, overstimulated in history. Literally the stress level of Gen Z students is equivalent to that of a psychiatric patient in the 50’s. “Our commitment to integrity can easily be eroded by our love for progress.” Hurry must be replaced with Hustle. Hurry exposes our faith in self. Hustle uncovers our faith in a good Father who always keeps His promises. Hustle is a byproduct of hope, based on a promise. Think of Noah after he was instructed to build an ark. He was a man of hustle not hurry. There’s a focus on God’s promise and His word that causes energetic movement. We hustle because of our hope. We hurry because of hopelessness. A little activity done with Jesus is more beneficial than any amount of activity without Him.
Principle #3: Go LĪVE. Don’t settle for a pre-recorded faith. Doesn’t it kill the vibe to watch a big game after the fact? It does for me. I honestly can’t do it. However when you’re watching live, you realize that anything can happen. It’s exciting and brings people together. I can’t even stand to watch games in one room when the other room is a few seconds ahead of me. I feel like I’m getting second hand information. Maybe that explains why some are bored out of our minds in our walk with Jesus. We feel like we’re living a pre-recorded faith that has very little to do with right now. Going LĪVE causes us to be more alert and more accountable. On social media we realize when we are LĪVE that everything we say or do will likely be observed by our friends and family. In other words, my actions matter. If I pre-record something, I have as many takes as possible to get the look I want, etc. There is no editing with live videos and streams and not much can be done to pull it back once it’s out there. Going LĪVE also changes our view of time. If we’re not LĪVE we’re just in practice mode, and practice mode can be boring. Going LĪVE makes me aware of the clock. The clock gives me wisdom. The Bible says: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Going LĪVE produces obedience and LĪVE obedience makes us game changers. In reality, we are already LĪVE. The question is whether or not we realize it. The enemy and the world would love to send us a message that we have as much time as we want. It’s a lie. Paul said: “Make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Going LĪVE is saying yes to Jesus’ instructions for you today. It’s listening to His instructions moment by moment and deciding in advance to say yes to whatever he asks from you. This principle alone will define the next decade of your life.
It’s time to push reset.
Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. The beast of the field will honor Me, The jackals and the ostriches, Because I give waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My people, My chosen. This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise.Isaiah 43:18-21
- Look Forward.
- Garden Your Heart.
- Go LĪVE.
What are your principles going into a new decade? I’d love to hear them.