graphic with rabbit and chinese symbols
Jim Jensen
SG Executive Director
January 4, 2023

Here Comes 2023…
It’s here. The new year. Like most of us, we make resolutions and dream big for the year ahead. Have you given any thought to the kind of year you would like to experience in 2023? It’s certainly a given that we all want to be safe, happy and successful. Let’s hope and pray for that! What are you doing to prepare for the new year? 

The Chinese calendar names 2023 the Year of the Rabbit. The Rabbit? Not really the image I want in my head as I plunge into 2023. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to throw off any lingering pandemic blues and, well, roar like a lion instead of running and hiding like a little rabbit in 2023.  

Let’s get beyond the obvious for a few moments and leverage this metaphor to look at three concrete ways you can thrive this year. 

Ditch the Lettuce 

My granddad used to say salad is “rabbit food.” He didn’t think much of it. I like salad just fine! But think about the difference between nibbling on lettuce and sinking your teeth into a delicious burger.  

There’s a big difference in the options we have in terms of daily content as well. News, social media, and endless video options are always available and clamoring for our attention. So much of it is basically “rabbit food” in the sense that it’s not very nourishing to our souls.  

Have you ever thought of adding some spiritually uplifting content to your daily routine? If you are looking for some good material, I suggest the Bible. There is a ton of great, life-changing content in the Bible, but it can be hard to know where to start. One way to start is by getting a Bible verse or two delivered to your email daily. Subscribe On This Webpage. The You Version Bible app is also a great place to get carefully curated Bible content, including daily readings you can share with friends and family. 

Bet on the Turtle 

Remember the parable of the Turtle and the Hare? “Slow and steady wins the race.” I’m not sure I totally buy into the truth of that. Personally, I enjoy being busy and active.  

On the other hand, our bodies and minds were created to thrive in a healthy rhythm of work and rest. Get too far out of balance on either end and we expose ourselves to serious problems such as anxiety and exhaustion on the one hand, laziness and lack of productivity on the other.  

Check this out from the book of Psalms in the Bible:  

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.  Psalm 127:2 

What a great reminder at the end of the paragraph that sleep is a gift from God, not an interruption or inconvenience!  

How about you? It’s a pretty good assumption that most of us are on the “anxious toil” side of the equation. An earlier bedtime is an easy place to start. Many smartwatches have built-in apps for mindfulness, breathing and exercise. And if you find yourself scampering around like a rabbit…take a deep breath, get on your calendar app, and create some intentional space for rest. 

Roar Like a Lion  

Rabbits are good at running away. They survive by avoiding confrontation and conflict, preferring to hide and wait it out. Have you ever tried to win in life by using an avoidance strategy? It might work for rabbits, but let’s be honest, it doesn’t work for humans.  

What’s the deeper truth here? I think it’s fear. If the pandemic taught us anything, it taught us to be fearful by showing us nothing in this life is certain and could change at any time. 

But guess what. That was always true. We just got good at building lives of “certainty” with layers of protection and comfort. The truth is we were never guaranteed a pain-free, risk-free life.  

So, how do you roar like a lion in the face of fear?  

With faith. The Bible speaks of a God who is completely reliable, infinitely loving, and a giver of peace (see John 16:33, 1 John 4:9-10) Believing that He knows me, loves me, and has my best interest at heart helps me interpret life differently. Not through the lens of fear, but through the lens of faith. For me, that makes all the difference! 

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1-5 

If you haven’t considered a spiritual solution to fear before, I’d encourage you to look into it. Try finding a local church and watch their services online or visit in person. Shepherd’s Gate has a welcoming community where you can explore your faith. Check out this whole Christian thing…there’s much more to it than you might think! In fact, it’s transforming. 

May 2023 be safe, happy and healthy for you and your family. And if you can avoid the rabbit…even better!