It’s that time of year again! When the gym that was quiet just a few days ago, overnight seems packed to the brim.
According to a survey by Inc., about 71 percent of resolutions are focused on health and exercise. It’s no surprise that when January rolls around, everyone is suddenly all-in on their resolutions to eat healthier, drink more water, and exercise.
These are great goals; however, there might be an even more important part of our health that’s being overlooked—have you thought about your heart?
How are you nurturing the soil of your soul to cultivate a fruitful year?
The book of Proverbs tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart.”
As you set goals and resolutions for the new year, here are a few things you may want to keep in mind.
Rest is just as crucial for your health as diet and exercise. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.”[1. Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency]
In our culture that demands productivity and connection around the clock, we should be vigilant to make time for rest. It’s crucial to our mental and physical health, and our ability to manage stress.
What does it look like to build rest into your regular routine? Try to go to bed at the same time every night, eliminate caffeine after 5 PM, and avoid screen time at least 30 minutes before going to sleep. These are just a few ways to set yourself up to rest well. You can find more tips about how to rest proactively from a Christian perspective here.
As the saying goes, “show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.” Are you making time in your schedule to cultivate friendships with people who are encouraging you and inspiring you to use your God-given gifts? We all need somebody in our corner.
Many GPCC staff and volunteers are involved in community groups that they say have been a great support system. (Contact us if you’d like to hear more about getting involved, and we’d be happy to send information your way!) Moms and moms-to-be, we’d also love to connect you with our mentoring program. Read more here.
For the married folks, what ways can you aim to strengthen your marriage in 2020?
Boundaries in Dating Relationships
Marshall Segall writes in his article, “How Far is Too Far?”, that just as God drew a line in the sand to keep the depth of the ocean in its place, he establishes boundaries for dating and marriage:
“As we walk up to the edge of marriage, we draw close to something so much bigger than ourselves… It’s a vibrant picture of the love God has shown us in sending his Son for us, a love wider and deeper than the Pacific Ocean….He drew a line in the sand for our safety, and to secure our greatest happiness in marriage.
Setting good boundaries in dating will rest on recognizing and even appreciating God’s one massive boundary.
God intended for one man to be joined with one woman in the promises of marriage, and he intended for us to enjoy marital intimacy and pleasure, especially sexual intimacy and pleasure, only in the context of those promises. Sex is reserved for the ocean deeps of marriage, not the safe wading depth of dating.”[2.How Far is Too Far? On Boundaries and Christian Dating. https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-far-is-too-far]
Rather than seeing boundaries as a fight against temptation, the boundaries we set are really a fight for something. Through this lens, we see the freedom that comes from having healthy boundaries in dating.
It’s important to note that even if these boundaries have been broken, it is never too late or any less valuable to start setting healthy boundaries. The New Year is a great opportunity to start making changes in our relationships, and to take a stand for what is good.
Even if you do not come from a Christian perspective, there is much wisdom in establishing healthy boundaries within relationships to protect one another physically and emotionally. All it takes is one moment of a lapse in judgement to change your life forever. 1 in 4 pregnancies are unplanned. By setting goals and boundaries for yourself within your relationships, you can avoid the risks of STDs and make sure that you start a family when the time is right.
If you think you might be pregnant, or need STI testing or treatment, we’re here to help. As one of our clients put it, we are a “judgement-free zone” where you have “somebody in your corner.” Contact us to hear more about the free resources we can provide.
Focus on What Lasts
”Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
Of all the goals we have in mind for 2020, as Christians we believe we won’t get far without allowing ourselves to rest in the love of Jesus. Let’s resolve to show love in 2020 in greater ways.
“We love each other because he loved us first.” 1 John 4:19