This is part of a blog tour hosted by Flight Patterns about goals and productivity in the new year. New Year’s resolutions and vows of self improvement are common in January, but so often they fizzle out.
Follow along this tour to read about how and why to set achievable, godly goals and increase the productivity in your life.
2023 is finally here! And 2022 was quite the year (read to the end of the article for good things that happened in 2022!).
With a new year comes New Year’s resolutions. If you don’t have any yet, or just want an idea of goals to set for the next year, here are five New Year’s resolutions that relate to school and shining Jesus’ light as a public-schooled Christian.
- To evangelize or pre-evangelize.
One of my favorite Bible stories is the story of Esther, a Jew who marries a non-Jewish king and saves her people using her position as queen. When Esther’s uncle asks her to help save the Jews, he says, “Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). God put Esther in the right place at the right time, and she was faithful and helped save the Jews because of it.
God also puts us in the right place at the right time to serve Him. You are in a specific seat in your specific classes at your school for a reason.
Everyone around you has a soul that matters; a soul that is going to spend eternity in Heaven or Hell. It isn’t our job to save anyone, but it is our job to witness to people if it is the right time.
Recently, I came across the term “pre-evangelism” in the book Conversational Evangelism. Evangelism is sowing a seed of the gospel in someone, but pre-evangelism is tilling the soil and making someone more willing to receive that seed.
We can pre-evangelize by simply living our lives to glorify God. When other people see that we live our lives differently, they may be more open to hearing what makes us so unique. Others notice when we speak kind words, help others out, and reflect Jesus.
We can also pre-evangelize by bringing Jesus into the conversation gradually. Asking someone about their religion and talking about ours can be a step that points them towards Jesus even if we haven’t shared the gospel.
Sharing the gospel matters, but living in a way that makes people more open to the gospel matters just as much.
- To study hard and manage time well.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” We should live for the glory of God in school, too. This not only means cultivating good relationships with our classmates, but also doing our school work well.
Working hard certainly glorifies God more than slacking off does. And working hard in school matters for more reasons than getting good grades; it matters because it glorifies our Father in Heaven.
We should also be careful to manage our time well. We have a finite amount of time on Earth, and we should want to use it well to glorify God. This means we not only work hard in school, but we work efficiently.
School work should not consume our lives and keep us from spending time with God and our family. Though working hard at school does glorify God, spending too much time on school and neglecting other things does not glorify God.
Most of us don’t think, “I’m going to spend way too much time doing my homework today.” I certainly don’t. It just happens that way because we get distracted, or sometimes we put our homework off until the last minute and scramble to complete it (or don’t complete it in time, sometimes). We need to get our work done efficiently without becoming distracted.
- To read your Bible and have a firm foundation in the truth.
There are many things we may hear or learn at school that contradict the truth of the Bible. Take the theory of evolution, for example. The theory is usually taught in biology classes but the story it teaches about creation is not accurate.
Even if we aren’t outright taught something that contradicts the Bible at school, the worldview around us is not usually very biblical. School is a place where the world and Christianity meet, and the atmosphere around us is not going to be completely (or even remotely) Christian.
We need a way to know what and what not to buy into or believe. Is what our science teacher says about evolution true? What about what our World History teacher says about Christianity? Or what our classmate says about Jesus?
We can figure out what is and isn’t true by studying the truth. We will know the truth better if we take time to learn about it and understand it.
This not only will help us discern right and wrong, but can help us defend our beliefs if the time comes if we take the time to learn why things like macro-evolution aren’t true.
- To improve your mental health and give yourself more rest.
We tend to overwork ourselves during the school year (or, if we don’t, our teachers sometimes do).
If we see ourselves losing our focus on God because of the busyness of school, we should take a step back and rest. Even Jesus had time when He stepped back from the demands of His ministry and rested. He made sure to consistently spend alone time with God.
When we take time to rest, we need to make sure we are actually resting. I recently read a great article about the difference between rest and leisure. Sometimes we do leisurely activities that don’t use our mental energy… but don’t replenish it, either. When we unwind by scrolling on social media, playing a game on our phone, or watching TV, it might help us relax, but it usually won’t give us more energy.
True rest comes from doing things that will replenish our mental (and often, physical) energy. For me, that means spending time with family, reading scripture, and getting enough sleep. Are the things you’re doing to rest actually restful?
Additionally, we shouldn’t wait to take time off until we get burnt out, but rest so we don’t get so tired in the first place. If we don’t take time to slow down regularly, we will eventually be forced to take a step back from life’s busyness.
- Simply to shine Jesus’ light more.
All of the other points I’ve mentioned are ways of shining Jesus’ light or growing closer to Jesus. They all fall under this blanket point, and many other things fall under it, too.
What is something you’ve wanted to change about your spiritual life or the way you live in school?
I want to make more friendships that last outside of school. Often, I make convenience friendships that last when I have a class with a person, but fade afterwards.
That’s part of the reason why sometimes I struggle to go deeper in spiritual conversations; because I haven’t always taken the time to become good friends with someone. I don’t want to become best friends with everyone, just make some friendships outside of my main friend group that last.
I want to spend my time better in the new year. I sometimes push writing and spending time with God aside until the last minute. I sometimes put things like playing piano, watching YouTube, and reading before more important things. Piano, YouTube, and reading aren’t bad activities, but they are when they take away time from better activities.
There have still been many times when I felt God was calling me to talk to someone or do something this year, but I backed away because I was scared or shy. Though I will fail sometimes and must give myself grace, I want to be bolder.
Overall, I am a lot more comfortable starting conversations with people, but there are still people I am uncomfortable talking with – I’m less able to hold a conversation with boys and adults. This is something that I’m sure a lot of teens struggle with, but I still want to change it.
School is not the only place I meet with nonbelievers; I’m around nonbelievers at swim practice, sometimes in my family, and many other places. I want to focus on sharing the gospel anywhere I go, not just at school.
God can help me reach those goals and fix those problems in the new year. I know I cannot do things on my own, but through Him.
Good things that happened this year…
2022 was a great year–I’d say the best year of my life yet. Some cool things that happened in 2022 were…
- I started this blog! The Public-Schooled Christian has come a long way, thanks to you =D.
- I had many conversations about my faith in school. A lot more than last year, in fact. Even though I want to go further with sharing the gospel, I’m proud of how much I’ve grown.
- Christ has given me confidence. Last year I was a lot more shy than I am now. I’m comfortable starting a conversation with a stranger now, and I wasn’t before.
- I became more connected in church. I started going to more church events this year and met new people.
Here’s the rest of the blog tour schedule:
Read the other posts here:
How was your year? What were some good things that happened? What are you looking forward to in 2023?
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