By Cally Logan, Crosswalk.com
As we all feel that subtle shift of crisp cool air emerging in the morning, we are gently reminded that we will be entering into yet another season soon, and with that season, an entirely new year. As we enter the last three months of 2023, we must ask ourselves the annual question: How can we make the most of that last bit of the current year? How can you make the most of what 2023 still holds for you?
1. Why Seasons Changing Is Metaphoric of Life
The more we study nature, the more tangible evidence we see of just how intentional God really is and how it acts as a metaphor for our lives. King Solomon remarked in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” In our lives, we must not only recognize but embrace the changes that come about. Each season serves a distinct purpose in both nature and within our lives.
For the ground to produce the fruit necessary for a harvest season, there must be a season of rest in Winter. We will see many of the same themes and occurrences in our lives played out, so rather than pushing back against the change, see what this season can teach you: grow and cultivate in the greater scheme of things in your own life.
2. Set Realistic Goals
To make the most of the remainder of the year, it would be wise to set realistic goals. These goals are not to be pessimistic in the way of not setting goals that may require great effort, but it is to be done from a place of purpose, not perfection. As the holidays approach, many of us would like to find ourselves able to say we achieved some of those New Year’s resolutions we set in January. If you have not achieved that goal, seek to establish an effort to do so. Remember that the only real comparison that matters is that of you today as compared to you yesterday, so even small steps can produce great leaps over time moving forward. Setting new goals is another great way to soak up all 2023 has left. This could be done by saving financially for things to come as we reach gift-giving season or a nice fund for a getaway in the dead of Winter. Make a short list of achievable goals for yourself, and once they are crossed off, you can enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.
3. Be Intentional with Actions
It is imperative also to be intentional with your actions as we close out this year. That is something to take into the years to come, for with intentionality comes a heart wanting to live well. You only have this one single life, so use the days, the weeks, and even the little seemingly insignificant moments so that each one is accounted for with meaningful and thoughtful purpose. Intentionally living looks like in action, investing in those around you.
From the macro of community to the micro of your pets, it is a gift to those around you when you invest in them. Investment could look like a helpful hand, a listening ear, or just a check-in when needed. Investment can also look like connecting with God to discover your role in that person’s life and then stewarding that call well. You have been placed in your community, your family, and your workplace for a specific reason, so once you realize that you can then partner with God on how to live out that call to the fullest. An intentional heart is a heart with a Kingdom mindset and a heartfelt touch.
4. Nostalgically Consider the Past Nine Months
Consider all you have done over the past nine months of this year. The past is not somewhere to embed yourself or to plant your focus, but it is helpful to consider all that you have accomplished, lived, and seen over the past nine months. Even in years where you have but an exhausted sigh to extend, it is important to see that you have survived all that life has thrown at you. The breath in that sigh proves that the storms of life have not taken you down, and there is more life to live. You are stronger than all that has sought to destroy you, and you will continue to live to testify how you made it through. On the other side, this year may have been one of great victory, triumph, and joy. Share that with those around you, for victory for one is a victory for all in this world. You have planted seeds, tended the fields, and now are in a season of enjoying the harvest of what has taken so much time to grow. Share that harvest with those around you, for it will serve as an inspiration to those who are still waiting for their crops to sprout. Nostalgically recognize that this year has been one in which you have seen more than just the rut of the day-to-day.
5. Live Present, Be Mindful of the Future
Make it a habit to live with feet firmly present but a mind considering the future to come. When your mind is too focused on the future, you will miss the gift of this specific moment in time, and if you live too present, you will not be prepared for the future. This is why it is so important to find that proper balance and much of that comes through asking God what your portion is for the day. In the days when the Israelites were in the Desert journeying for the Promised Land, God provided them each day with manna in the morning, but the day before the Sabbath, He gave them a double portion to prepare, for the manna did not fall on the Sabbath. We, too, can begin our mornings set before God to receive our manna for the day, our portion, and we can ask how to prepare for what is ahead of today as well. God loves to bless His children with this knowledge and understanding so that we may soak up every last drop of this life entwined with Him.
6. Life Abundantly
John 10:10 shares that the Lord gives “life and life abundantly,” and that is very true in how we view our lives. God has graciously given us this time, but we get to decide through Free Will and choice how we will spend or squander these precious days. Life will offer abundant lessons or experiences for the good or the difficult, but how you navigate is determined if you do so within or without God. To really spend these final days of 2023 well, navigate with God. God loves you deeply, and even through the fiercest storm or the most beautiful of days, doing life with Him is spending life well. Go forth and live life abundantly in this last breath of 2023.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/CentralITAlliance
Cally Logan is an author and US History teacher from Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys mentoring youth and spending time in nature. She is the author of Hang on in There, Girl! and Dear Future Husband: A Love Letter Journey While Waiting for God's Best. Check her out on Instagram and Twitter, @CallyLogan and TikTok Cally_Logan.