Experts say it takes anywhere from 21 days to 66 days to form a new habit, depending upon what you read. Bottom line – it takes time to phase out with the old and in with the new. As you read this, we’ll be in the third month of the year and close enough to consider any new habits solidified. That’s exciting! Or is it? It all depends on what those new habits are. Perhaps you’ve made some progress towards achieving your goals, but things still don’t seem to be flowing as smoothly as you thought. Springtime is right around the corner. Maybe now is the time for a little “Spring cleaning.”
The beginning of the year is the traditional time for deciding what areas you want to work on in your life. Setting goals, of course, is productive. But so is a time of pruning. John 15:2 of the New Living Translation says, “He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” Simply put, after a couple of months of effort, it’s a great time to examine your progress, and any changes that need to be made. Here are just a few areas you can review to determine if you are doing all you can to move towards achieving your goal, or if a little tune-up might be in order.
I was recently approached with a legitimate consulting opportunity that seemed very lucrative. It was a chance for high visibility, to rub elbows with movers, shakers, and celebrities. What’s more, I would have been excellent at it. My organizational and production strengths would have served me well to complete the task. It looked like a no-brainer. Yet I turned it down. It looked great from the outside, but inside of me I felt God’s leading to say “no.” Have you said “yes” to any opportunities because of how they looked on the outside, without listening to the God inside of you for His response? It’s time to re-evaluate and ensure you’re on the right path – His path.
Volunteering is not only noble. It’s necessary. Jesus paid a dear cost for us to have eternal life. And to whom much is given, much is required. It’s only right that we give back to others in some way. Whether it’s in your church, your community, your child’s school, or a local civic organization, giving of your time is a worthy endeavor. But are you giving your time in the right places? Or are you making yourself so busy that you can’t think, can’t focus, and can’t hear from God? Maybe it’s time to clean out some of those activities and direct your efforts in a more productive fashion.
My Pastor often says that friends are like the buttons on an elevator. They will either take you up or down. Simple, and true. Have you made a decision to complain less, be more positive, commit to living your life for Christ, yet find yourself constantly swayed from your commitments by friends? You need to re-examine your friendships. Surround yourself with individuals who think like you, want the same things as you do, are supportive of you, and continually encourage you. The Bible tells us not to be unequally yoked. While I do not believe that statement is saying you cannot communicate or spend time with unbelievers, I do believe it’s urging us to carefully consider those we invite into our inner circle – and allow the privilege of speaking into our lives.
I have a friend who is generous. He has a huge heart and truly desires to help people. He’s a giver. However, he has an issue with knowing when to stop. He gives to the point he’s unable to pay some bills. He puts himself in financial jeopardy. And he makes unrealistic financial promises that he cannot keep. This is a bad precedent and a bad testimony. Yes, you trust God and walk in faith. But also be sure to use wisdom. If you’re involved in a detrimental financial entanglement, a little Spring cleaning may be in order.
As you take the time to clean out your closets and set your home in order for the upcoming Spring season, be sure to examine critical areas of your life. It’s always a good time for an internal Spring cleaning.