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Make a “Don’t Do” List
By Rick Warren

Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways.’” Haggai 1:5 (NIV)

After you’ve gone through a challenging season, you’ll eventually be ready to resume life again. But as you do, you should keep a few principles in mind. As we’ve talked about the last few days, you should expect to feel mixed emotions and also take time to extract the lessons you’ve learned from the hard time. And here’s another thing you should do: Evaluate everything.

Whether you’re returning to life after a pandemic, a divorce, an illness, or another time of great fear or loss, don't automatically say, “Well, I'm just going to do everything the way I’ve always done it.” Why? Because hardship changes people. You're not the same person after a trauma that you were before. 

Instead of returning to the same old patterns, behaviors, and habits, God wants to give you an opportunity to reset your life. There are likely some things you were doing before the hard times that you shouldn’t start up again.

As the ancient Jews resumed “normal life’ after being in captivity, the prophet Haggai had a message for them: Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it’” (Haggai 1:5-6 NIV).

Haggai’s words seem like metaphors of dissatisfaction: I keep eating, but I'm still hungry; I keep drinking, but I'm still thirsty. In other words, if what you did before the hard times was so unfulfilling, why go back to it? 

One way you can “give careful thought to your ways” is to make a “don’t do” list—not a “to do” list. Some things you used to do aren’t necessarily wrong—such as spending a lot of time on things like social media, watching television, or shopping. You just don’t need to resume them because they’re not necessary. So add them to your “don’t do” list.

After a hard season, God wants to rebuild your life and make it better and healthier than it ever was before. But you have a part in that too. You need to take time to evaluate everything before you head back into the world.

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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