What Good Things will you give up in 2024?

 Somone once said, “the enemy of the best is not ‘the bad’ but ‘the good’”; and “the enemy of the important is the urgent.” Would you agree with these?!

As we start this year of 2024, I am sure like me, you are wrestling with all the different good things that you could be doing in the year ahead and the urgent things calling for your attention. In some ways we are blessed to have such problems with the many things we can do……..many people in many parts of the world have no options to choose from in the first place. But where there are many things vying for our attention, the big question, as we plan our hopes and aims for the year ahead, is what is the best that we want to do not just the good, and how can we do what is most important not just what is urgent?

If you might have a method that has worked for you, I would love to hear about it, but as far as I can see the only option that can help is first, good diary planning for what is best to do (so it gets into the diary before the good things) and then second, discipline (with help from others) in carrying the best things out. Whether you use a paper or digital dairy, we have great tools to help us in our planning and living of our life.

To identify what is most important, I do find the ‘Jar of Life’ picture a helpful one. If we have let the water of ‘what comes at us’ go in first, there will never be any room for the priorities represented by stones, pebbles and sand that are the important things. Another way of putting this is that in our life planning, we need to make sure ‘we make the main thing the main thing!’ But what are the main, best and important things? I find that if I am not to be washed away by all that comes at me, or get side tracked by my own thinking, I need to keep in mind the truths of God of what is most important and the best so I might flourish in life.

To help me decide what are the best and important things, and jus the good and urgent things to leave out, I am currently using these bible verses as ‘touchstones’ which you might find helpful too:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And Love your Neighbour as Yourself” Mark 12v30-31

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5v22-23

“Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5v25

“Fathers do not exasperate your children, instead bring them up with training and instruction in the Lord.” Ephesians 6v4

“Greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15v12-13

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for God.” Colossians 3v23

As you start 2024, I hope all this might be helpful as you work out the good things you need to give up so that you might do the best and the important for yourself, your family, friends and for God.

With my prayers for February

Revd James Hunt – Rector of St Peter’s and Blessed Mary

24th January 2024

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