I'm not one to make resolutions. This year I just want to finish something. Instead of starting a new bible study workbook, I'm going to work toward finishing one of the three I have started in previous years. Instead of starting over in Genesis in an effort to read through the Bible this year, I'm going to keep going right from where I left off last year and pray that I circle all the way through over the next 12 months. I truly just want to move forward and draw closer to God.
Paul tells us to keep on in the race. To press on and persevere. Don't quit. Although God's mercies are new and sufficient every single day, I don't think God wants us to keep going back to the starting block when we fall or get off track or get tired and just stop. Get up! If you can't get up, call out to God for help.
Just like people who make resolutions to eat healthier, exercise, etc., I need discipline in my life. Spiritual discipline. I become spiritual mush when fasting, prayer, bible study, memorization, worship, solitude and other disciplines are not a regular part of my life. Anxiety sits at the edge of my life waiting to take over when I am not grounded in the Word of God. I know this and I know that I can't rely on my own good intentions and actions to get me through.
In the last month God has also allowed a series of things to happen in our lives that have made me give up control (like I actually had it anyway!) and to rely on Him. In December I had great intentions of taking this blog in a new direction, but I confess I hadn't really prayed about it or sought God on His plan for it.
Then my husband became extremely busy at work and was working very long hours. The long and stressful hours started and his back went out. Our morning devotion/prayer time together was the first thing to go. There just wasn't time if he was going to get through the day. He wasn't sleeping, he was in pain and rest seemed more important than getting up early and spending 20 minutes in prayer together.
My husband's back gradually got better and within less than 24 hours a previous shoulder problem that I have suffered in the past came back. Preparing for Christmas and just sleeping through the night seemed to be huge mountains to overcome. Our morning prayer time still hadn't returned.
One trial after another then surfaced in our lives only days before Christmas. Trials which made me realize that perhaps this year our Christmas gifts would be under the tree in the store bags and that Christmas cookies would not be found in this house. I had to let go and refocus on what mattered and what was important. And I am thankful for God's timing in it all.
All this to say, that New Year's resolutions will come and go. Lord willing, our lives will be filled with joys and trials, with difficulties and blessings over the next twelve months. There will be days when I will wonder why I can't hear God speaking and days when I am overcome with the sheer joy of His presence in my life. Days of suffering and days of abundant blessing.
My desire is simply that each day of this year is one in which I draw closer to God. I want to seek Him more, spend more time together with Him, enjoy the practice of spiritual disciplines and seek to please Him. When my life is grounded in God and His Word, my life will change without a single resolution being made.
Commit to the LORD whatever you do and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3
May your year be filled with the presence of the Lord in every single day!
Grace to you,