January- The Month of Rest

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

After the hustle and bustle of December, we are expected to charge into January, guns blazing, our lists of resolutions tucked firmly under our arms. We make grand plans for personal growth and wellness: exercise more, eat less, cease smoking, stick to the budget, get organized. However it only takes us a few hours, days, or weeks (if we’re lucky) before we crash and burn. Why is this?

We never took the time to STOP. January isn’t the time to add stress upon stress. No matter how minimalist you are, December takes us all by force in some way. Whether it’s the challenge to say “no” to consumerism at every turn or “thank you” for gifts that we don’t really want or need, we are constantly trying to maintain the precarious balance between our internal beliefs and the external expectations around us. There is also the stress of relating carefully with loved ones who think differently from us through the holidays.

For those who jump into the shopping frenzy full swing, the stress is more blatant. We’ve all seen the Black Friday videos of humans gone mad over the greatest deals: stampeding, screaming, hitting, weeping in the aisles. Perhaps that’s not you exactly. But still, exhaustion and expectation hound us from store to store until every last, perfect (or good enough) gift is wrapped and under the tree.

Finally, it’s all over, and we breathe a week-long sigh of relief before we disrupt our schedules once more with a last hurrah: the New Year’s Eve all-nighter. And we wake up on January 1st, with our list of resolutions before us, and no resolve to begin. Sleep deprived, hung over (possibly), and behind on all aspects of normal daily life, we are told that today is the time to add new routines and drop our familiar, comfort-giving and de-stressing measures.

It’s simply too much to ask of any normal human being.

So don’t. Stop. Wait. Relax. Let January be your month to . . .

Reflect

Recharge

Renew

Reset

Reconnect

Rest.

Life has enough troubles of its own for you to be adding more to it. Do you really want to beat out all the other newbies for a turn on the elliptical at the gym? Do you want to be another new face lost in the Weight Watchers crowd? Do you want to be fighting over that last organizing tote at Target?

Let everyone else jump in to the New Year with their resolution madness. Give them a month to wear themselves out and feel defeated before returning to their old ways. You can take a better, different path.

This month on the blog, I will be talking about how to make goals that last. Trust me, I will be writing to myself too here. 🙂 I will share a bit of prose on embracing the quiet of January, as well as introduce the concept of “slow goals.”

But, for today, as you prepare to welcome 2017, take out a piece of paper and write down 10 things (or more) that you are thankful for from 2016. Rejoice over what went well and acknowledge what didn’t. Think about changes that would bring more joy and purpose to your life in the coming year.  Dream. It doesn’t cost you a thing, and it buoys the spirit to remove the filters (thanks, Brian Dixon) and imagine, “What if I . . .?” or “What I’d really like to do is . . .”

Let these thoughts of gratitude and anticipation simmer this month. Soon, we will put together a framework to set up goals that last not just for one year, but for a lifetime. Not just yet, though. For now,

Cheers!  To a January of “Rest.”

To help you get started with your time of reflection, I am giving away a copy of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling.  It is a lovely, rose-colored, imitation leather gift edition for women.  To enter to win, please leave a comment below, sharing one thing you are thankful for from 2016. The contest ends at 11:59 p.m. CST, Monday, January 2nd. Good luck!

(Update:  Congratulations to Carmen at A Simple Homestead, who won the Jesus Calling book.  Thanks to all who left a comment whether here or on the Facebook page or via email- you were all included in the drawing.)

(Disclaimer: I have not read and therefore do not personally endorse this book.  I received it in error from a company I placed an order with, and they permitted me to keep it. I do know many people who love Jesus Calling, though, and thought perhaps one of my readers would like to own this beautiful gift edition.)

 

9 thoughts on “January- The Month of Rest

  1. Thank you for the challenge to be thankful. I really don’t want to be thankful about 2016 at all. It was one of the toughest years yet. Through it all, though, I see God’s patience and faithfulness, and I am thankful for that.

    1. Ginger, I am sorry to here that last year was so difficult for you, but I love that you were able to see God’s goodness even in the hard times. I hope that this year you will experience more of His joy and peace!

  2. Wonderful Aimee!! Dovetails so well with my thoughts throughout the holiday season. Try as we may, it is difficult not to feel torn. This is a beautiful reminder!

    1. Jim, thanks for commenting! 🙂 I agree, it is a struggle for me, too. I want to do both nothing and everything during the holidays. I want to give both lavishly and simply. I want everything to be both meaningful and fun. It is hard to find the balance and to stick to it!

    1. Isn’t it a relief when they finally put it all together and start to really read on their own?! I have one more to go, and she is taking her sweet time. Congratulations, and Happy New Year!

  3. Oh, and I’m thankful for the many MANY friends who have shown us such unparalleled unconditional love and support during a season where we really havent even been able to give back at all! (Thanks for being part of that!)

  4. Aimee, this is probably my favorite of any blog you’ve written. YES. Rest. I’m giving myself permission to REST this January. We were kind of forced into rest for Christmas (with sickness), and thus ended in some disappointment and failure to meet obligations. God created rest for a reason. He knows we need it. In fact, we force our children to do it, why don’t we force ourselves? Thanks friend. God is a good, good father, isn’t He?

    1. I’m so glad this spoke to you. I definitely needed it, too. It’s funny how we write what we are still learning ourselves sometimes. God is sweet to allow us that privilege and to grant us rest for the journey, if we will take it. 🙂

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