I think I have a problem. Sometimes, early in the morning or late at night, I might be scrolling through a social media app and I will see things. They promise all kinds of wonderful goodness for my life—a gorgeous ballgown custom created for me for only 29.99. One click and it is mine. A few minutes later, I see an ad for a pill that promises it will make me fit into the said dress. Click again. Then there is the self tanner…the fitness app…the coaching plan…
Any problem in my life it appears I can solve with just a click of amazon pay, facebook pay or apple pay. One click and all will be well in the world.
Except it really won’t. All those clicks lead me to a dress that might fit a toddler in material typically seen in a costume clearance bin, cream that makes you look like a cartoon character, apps that don’t work and a credit card bill that seems astronomically high since all those clicks really cost money. It’s a disappointing shocker that can transition into an equally disappointing January. You know the feeling. The celebratory music stops. All the lights come down. The cold wind whips the last leaves off the trees and it just seems like we live in a desolate land of beige.
It doesn’t have to be this way. There is a REAL plan for the BEST January ever and guess what? It doesn’t come from questionable sources and get delayed in shipping ports.
Jesus himself has already laid out a plan for the best January of your life. Seriously. Let’s dive into Mark 5 where we see the man himself healing people right and left. He orchestrates three amazing miracle. However, he doesn’t just heal and heave ho. Instead, He lays out a plan for each that will help them through the “winter.”
We start with a demon possessed man who “tore chains apart and broke irons on his feet.” The Lord commanded the demons to flee the man, sent them into a herd of pigs and then the two thousand pigs ran straight into a lake and drowned. When the townspeople saw this man, “dressed and in his right mind” they were afraid. The man asked to go with Jesus and since his healing made others uncomfortable, you would think Jesus would agree. He does not. Instead, He tells the man to go be with his family and to tell them how much the Lord had done for him.
STEP 1—Spend time with your people. Community is a powerful thing. Family here can be anyone you choose. It’s the people who cheer for you, who believe the best in you and encourage you. Surround yourself with people that you serve and serve you in return.
STEP 2—Tell about what the Lord has done for you. Talk about it everywhere. We could dive deep into the psychology of this and how it affirms you and others, how it rewires your brain and how it literally increases you immune system. We could also just look at Hebrews 10:24-25
And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.
Next, while walking with Jairus, a synagogue ruler who had begged the Lord to lay hands upon his daughter, Jesus encounters a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. What you may not know is that during that time she would have been considered “unclean.” She was ostracized from society. Anything that she touched became ceremonially unclean. Her life did a 180 the moment she reached out. Once again, Jesus shows us that being a hero doesn’t just end in the miracle. He provides aftercare when He tells the woman to go in peace and be freed from her suffering.
STEP 3—Go in peace. If there was anything we learned over this last year and a half it is that a lot of what we were doing for the last few decades was just making our life more busy and complicated than needed. Learn to say “No.” Seek peace.
STEP 4—Be freed from suffering. The woman was no longer defined as “unclean” just as you and I are completely free from our unclean pasts. Release it. Your past sins and actions no longer define you. Walk tall and proud as a child of the King.
Finally, the Lord gets to Jairus’ house only to be greeted by people crying and wailing because the child had died. Jesus asked them to move aside, went to the child, took her hand and told her to get up. She did. I bet you can imagine all the rejoicing that erupted and if you have seen the pattern emerging, you know that He had more just for this little girl. He instructed her family to make sure they got her something to eat.
STEP 5—Get fed. Literally and figuratively. Feed your body and your spirit with good things. Countless studies show the power of nutrition in our life. There are 24 essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need and 66 books of the Bible for our spirits and one triune God for our soul. All are needed.
There you go. It’s a centuries old—that means tried and true—plan for the best January ever. Best part—it’s free.
The Lord showed me this after Thanksgiving this year. Typically the weeks leading up to Christmas are insanely busy for us (we’re photographers) as we are working 18 hour days 7 days a week. To say that tensions run high and Christmas spirit runs low is an understatement. I adopted these five steps this year and the whole family noticed. We legitimately had a Merry Christmas. I tell you friends, this plan works.
So, who is in? Who is ready for their best January ever?