PCA News

Habits for the New Year

Happy New Year!  We hope and pray that your Christmas break was full of family time, laughter, rest, and memories that will last a lifetime.  As we enter into 2023, everything feels fresh and new.  The old is behind us and we have a whole new year ahead!  With that comes the glorious freedom to make it whatever we want.  We can keep the habits that cause us to thrive, cast off those that pull us down, and create new ones to make this year one we long for.  That said, here are a few considerations that you and your student can ponder and discuss as you plan for this year.

First, what can you do as a family and individually to grow spiritually?  Would you like to read through the Bible in a year?  If not the entire Bible, would you like to read the Bible together in some form or fashion?  The “Holy Bible” app has many different plans that you can read individually or share as a family.  Is there a new devotional book that you could read and discuss together?  If memorizing more scripture is on your list of goals, consider getting the “Bible Memory” app.  It is fantastic for scripture memory and fun for teens.  Another idea is to spend focused time praying together daily or weekly…for school work and tests, for each other, for friends, for family friends, for your church, for PCA, for ministries you support, etc.  If you received Christmas cards from family friends, you can hold onto them and draw one from the pile every day or each week and pray together for that family.  Spending time in the Word and prayer is the most important thing we can do each and every day and will bring peace and joy despite anything else that may come our way this year. 

Second, what can you do as a family and individually to grow in physical health?  Maybe you can plan some fun hikes as a family, shoot hoops together in the driveway, and have fun being active together.  Focusing on diet is also a popular topic this time of year after all the Christmas goodies.  Maybe you can challenge each other to see who can eat the most servings of fruits and veggies in a day, drink the most water, or spend time exercising.  When our bodies are well rested, hydrated, and fed properly, we are able to do so much more in every other area of our lives, including learning in school.  

Third, what can you do as a family and individually to grow mentally?  Do you want to read a book each month? Take time each day to do brain puzzles?  Find a topic of interest to study this year?  Visit a museum?  Taking time to grow mentally helps keep our brains young, healthy, and working optimally. One fun idea is to read the literature book your child is assigned so you can discuss it together.

Lastly, what can you do as a family and individually to encourage emotional health?  Do you want to plan regular date nights?  Kids feel most secure when they can depend on the stability of their parents.  Family fun nights?  Sometimes these are hard to fit into the schedule with all the obligations but they pay huge dividends.  Another idea is to take time each day at dinner to share highs and lows from the day with each other or take time for each person to encourage or compliment another family member.  The world can be a tough place where we receive negative feedback.  Making our home a haven of encouragement and a place where we have each others’ backs allows us to unwind and breathe a little easier. It is also important to take time to focus on gratitude.  Research has shown it is vital to happiness and life satisfaction.  Take time each day to share what you are thankful for.  You can make it a game and start with A and go to Z, coming up with something for each letter.  You can have your kids keep gratitude journals.  Or, you can write down a fun memory or something you are thankful for each day or week and tuck them in a jar to revisit at Thanksgiving or at the end of 2023.  

Taking time to be purposeful to plan for what we want to achieve helps us choose the life we want to create instead of life just passing us by.  Then we put our plan into action, adjusting where needed, and bear the fruit of better health spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Whatever goals you decide to make for this year, we hope 2023 is the best year yet and that you find peace and joy every day and know how great and wide is His love for each of us. (Ephesians 3:18)