Wow, I cannot believe it’s 2023! It feels like just yesterday we were celebrating the start of 2022 and eagerly awaiting what the year would have in store! And now, seemingly in a flash, 2022 is behind us and the calendar has turned to 2023.
I know this phrase borders on the cliché side nowadays, but the phrase “the days go slow and the years go fast” really does ring true. It really does feel like our day-to-day doldrums of life could be the longest thing ever, but then you look back and see how much time has passed and are shocked by the result.
For you reading this right now, I don’t know what 2022 entailed. Maybe it was the best year ever. You got the job, your team met its goals, you got married, or you met your first grandchild. If this is you, congratulations! May your 2023 continue to be prosperous.
Or perhaps it was quite the opposite. Maybe 2022 was so terrible that you never want to talk about it again. If so, I pray that the Lord blesses you with hope as we enter 2023.
More likely you find yourself in the middle of this spectrum. Your past year had some highs and lows, some moments of excitement, and others of defeat.
Regardless, the events, experiences, and learnings of 2022 are now a part of us all. The only choice left for us is whether to learn from these experiences or let them fade into our memory, never to be remembered again. Often, that decision is made for us if we do not take the time to sit and reflect.
The truth is that life has gotten faster and faster as technology advances. We are always trying to do things faster, do more things, and make more money while pushing our bodies to keep up. While our bodies tend to adapt and keep up the best they can, our souls are another thing entirely.
You see, if we go too fast in our day-to-day life, we simply don’t have the time to process what is happening around us. By forcing ourselves to go at such a fast pace, we limit our ability to properly process emotions, celebrate successes, and make good life decisions.
“But I’m so busy. I have so much to do, I don’t have time to sit and process things.”
Life is definitely busy. Each of us has responsibilities in so many different areas of life. So, maybe we should look to see what Jesus did? I mean, Jesus led the most important ministry we could ever imagine. Surely he was busier than any of us could ever imagine?
“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sickness”
Luke 5:15 NIV
During his ministry, Jesus was constantly traveling, preaching, and serving people. Multitudes of people came to Him with their problems, seeking healing, advice, and miraculous works. Not to mention the constant attention His movement was receiving from the likes of the Pharisees. That sounds like a lot for anyone to handle.
So how did Jesus, though fully God He was also fully man, manage it all?
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
Luke 5:16 NIV
Jesus Christ, the Son of Man and our Messiah, spent much of his time in lonely places praying. He recognized the power of stepping out of the busy flow of life, pausing, and praying. He also encouraged us to do so as well. In Matthew, Jesus says:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
Jesus is here for us. We can go to Him any time for rest, reflection, and restoration. He cares deeply for each of us and for what is going on in our lives.
So, as we embark on the first few weeks of 2023, find time to step back and reflect on what took place in your life in 2022. Find the time to go somewhere restful. Jesus often visited the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Find your garden, your solitary place, and go there, even for a little while.
I recently heard a friend say it like this: “A change of place + A change of pace = A change of perspective.”
If you can take an hour out of your day to go on a walk and reflect, do so. If you can take a little mini-retreat over the weekend to somewhere quiet, do that too. Give your body and soul time to catch up to one another by returning to the Good Shepherd, He who promises us rest.