Successful Re-entry

This post is all about re-entry.  From the previous year.  Or a retreat.  Or into a new season of life.  How do you keep new resolutions?  How do you take what you learned on a retreat and actually live it out in real life for more than a day?

Obviously, a lot of ink has been spilled on topics like these, and we can’t cover everything here.  But, this blog is built around the conviction that the bible is incredibly relevant for ‘real life’, and I want to share a few thoughts from Hebrews 12.

So, how do you re-enter your life successfully?

  • It’s OK to admit that life is hard.  I know, “duh.”  Sometimes, though, we act like it shouldn’t be.  Or, that we should be up to handling it with only minor struggles.  But verse 1 says, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  Races are hard, long, and exhausting.  Healthcare (as well as pop and corporate culture) will tell you that you’re smart, talented, etc. (and you are), and that you should be able to ‘do life’ pretty easily.  It isn’t, and that’s OK.  That’s actually comforting.  (There is also this issue of “sin” that verse 1 mentions).
  • Keep your eyes on Jesus.  Verse 2 talks about “looking to Jesus.”  It’s so easy, when life is hard, and you feel like you should be doing better, to beat yourself up and feel like a failure.  And merely try the same things with more intensity (one definition of insanity).  But, the author of Hebrews would say, “That just makes things worse.  Every time you start focusing on you, turn your attention back to Him.”
  • You may be thinking, though, “So what does it mean to keep my focus on Jesus?”  It can sound like another cliché.  I wish we had the time to unpack all of Hebrews 12 here, but I’d like to highlight something verse 2 points out.  Even though Jesus was about to face the cross, his focus was on “the joy set before him” that eventually led him back to be with his Father in heaven (“is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”).  So one part of focusing on Jesus is – especially with whatever re-entry challenges you’re facing – focusing on the good that lies ahead.  For Jesus, that was being with his Father again, and, knowing that his death meant we would be there with him, too.  Absolutely amazing.

And so, as you ‘re-enter’ life in this new year, what does your “race” look like?  Where do you need endurance?  And, more importantly, how can you keep your eyes on Jesus in ways that are practical and real?

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About Bryan Stoudt

On my personal website (bryanstoudt.com), I help Christians follow Jesus in a noisy, broken world. I also have the privilege of helping Philadelphia's healthcare students and professionals do this as Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA). More information at cmdaphiladelphia.org. On a personal note, I'm fortunate to be married to my wonderful wife, Sharon. Together, we have four fantastic children. In my spare time, I enjoy roasting coffee, running, reading and learning foreign languages.
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