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I feel like every year, I hear people say things like, “It’s hard to believe this year is almost over!” or, “Wow, the new year is almost here!” This leads me to believe a couple of things, but mostly it seems that the years fly by. Obviously, one year is not shorter than another, apart from leap years adding an extra day, but it often feels like time is passing us by faster and faster each year. I think this is largely in part to our degree of busyness.

Usually the term busy is associated with negative thoughts. People often say, “I’m so busy that I can’t even sleep,” or, “Life is so busy that I barely have time to think anymore.” While that’s clearly an issue, I don’t think all busyness is bad. Some can be very good. I feel like a lot of my busyness was really good in 2015.

This year, I…

Celebrated a new year with my youth group students and leaders.
Celebrated six years of marriage with my amazing wife.
Went skiing a couple times in some fantastic snow.
Lived through record-breaking snowfalls in New England.
Went to PAX East, met some cool gamers, and learned some new card games.
Completed the first year of our new ministries to 5-8th graders and 9-12th graders.
Served at our church’s summer arts camp.
Hiked a couple mountains.
Led a group of high schoolers on a mission trip.
Went white water rafting with some of our high schoolers.
Camped out with our middle schoolers, and got a bit lost on the way there.
Visited friends Houston, TX.
Took a trip to Washington DC for the first time.
Went to Philadelphia for the first time and visited some of our college students.
Visited another college student in Vermont.
Started a mentoring relationship to help our marriage improve even more.
Recorded 12 podcasts.
Wrote 18 posts on my blog.
Went to a family ministry conference with our entire church staff.
Launched a new website for our church.
Started putting together a smartphone and tablet app for our church.
Helped our church switch to a new database.
Ran a 5K race and participated in a 5 mile fun-run.
Saw U2 in concert.
Visited two zoos and saw a panda.
Served needy families in our area with Serving Salem Together.
Visited family for Christmas.
Read about five books (still haven’t finished one or two of them, but will soon).
Prayed with my wife over 600 times between meals, devotions, and nightly prayers.
Baptized three people.

I’m sure there are many many many things I have overlooked, but those are the ones that stick out to me. Obviously some are way more significant than others, but they were all important to me. As I reflect back on 2015, yes, I was very busy. In fact, it might have been one of the busiest years I’ve ever had. Did that mean it was bad? No, not necessarily. Yes, I did not get much sleep this year, but I loved every bit of it.

With that being said, one of my goals for 2016 is to reprioritize my calendar a bit. As you could probably tell, 2015 was very eclectic. While this represents me well, there are some things that I feel God is calling me to focus on more than others. So, in effort to really do well in those areas, my resolution for 2016 is to refocus. I’m going to try and cut out the things that don’t matter as much and focus more on the things that matter more.

Among many things I hope to repeat from this year, at the end of 2016, I hope I can say that I…

Wrote a book.
Began speaking at area youth & youth ministry events.
Grew our church’s youth group to 50% its current size.
Helped 75% of our students to get involved in the church and their community.
Began volunteering with the local high school soccer team.
Hiked Mt. Washington (personal goal of less importance, but still really want to do).

I think 2016 is going to be a great year. As with any year (or day, for that matter), there is always potential for greatness. It’s really up to us what we do with it. Will we choose to waste it on things that do not matter, or will we use every opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people around us? God wants to use us, and He has great plans for you, me, and everyone. Yes, 2016 has a lot of potential, but so does tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and the next decade. How will you use it?

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