I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. It isn’t that I don’t think they are useful. My life can always use some work. But resolutions have a reputation as being temporal, easily broken. I am looking for permanent change. And today seems a good time to start. But I don’t want them to end in the same place as most people’s resolutions. Left somewhere along the way to rot. I want to keep up the change.
I guess I have been doing it for a few years now. January is a cold, dull month after the excitement of the holidays. And what better way to start the new year with a new plan. Most of the time the January blahs will send me searching for a lift at the hairdressers. It is time for something different this year.
I have known quite a few people who have embraced the whole idea of a word to carry them through the year. Something to focus on during the next 12 months. I felt “rest” was my word a couple of years ago. 2014 was the year of “grace” for me. The year I finally understood just how deep and wide and huge God’s love was for me. And I realized how much Jesus did for me. And this blog was conceived. This year I have a different word to focus on.
A focal word can come in different ways. In the past, other godly people have given me my word. “Rest” came like that. I feel like I got the word “grace” from a whispering inside me after Arlynne died and I saw it all around me during the last year. This year is no different.
I woke up yesterday morning with a worship song in my mind. It happens to me quite often. I believe it came from Divine Inspiration. The Holy Spirit revealing something to my slumbering mind. This time it was the song “Greater” by Chris Tomlin (Love Ran Red, 2014). The words kept running through my head over and over again. I love that song. Mostly because the words ring so true for me. God is so much greater than anything in my world. Jesus’s sacrifice, His great love for me makes Him so greater. I am so grateful that He is so great. While I was allowing this song to play through my mind and then listening to it while I worked in the kitchen I felt like the Holy Spirit gave me my word for this year. The word is “More”.
“More” can mean a lot of things to different people. “More” can mean more stuff. Personally, I feel like I have too much stuff so that isn’t what it was about. “More” could mean a bigger family. I don’t think that is it either. We are pretty much at capacity around here so it would be a stretch. But if God chose it for us, we would do it. He would give us everything we would need. When I told Pete he said more blessings. I didn’t even let my mind go there. It might, but I’m not counting on it.
What “More” said to me was more of my Father God. I want to be more close to Him. I want to know Him more. To know Jesus more.
To love Him more.
There has been a lot of things distracting me for the last couple of weeks and I am a bit disappointed in myself. After a fall in Bible study and almost daily submitting myself by spending time on my face before my Father God, I have felt pressed on every side. I guess having 5 kids running around the house would be a good reason for me to be distracted. Especially with the stress and hectic-ness of the holidays. I felt so desperate the other day that I shocked my kids by finally just falling onto my face on the dining room floor. They were all somewhere else and I thought I would escape their notice. I had been feeling all morning that the Holy Spirit was urging me to take the time and just recommit to submission so I did. My kids noticed. Sarina asked what I was doing. I told her I was having my face time. We are an “Apple” family so, of course, they were a little confused. Sarina thought I just loved the hand-knotted rug that my dad had made that I was lying on. I did manage a quick prayer before all the kids were on high alert because their mother was losing her mind. After going back to what I was doing I heard a conversation between Sarina and Karissa. Sarina had decided that she loved the rug too. So she was lying on it. On her face. From the mouths of babes…
I had not intended on letting Christmas distract me. I had intended the absolute opposite. But my plans had fallen by the way side. As I thought about “More” and how I wanted this to be a year of being “More” with God, I realized that I needed another word to go with it–“deliberate”.
I am of the belief that God has everything in His hand. He is aware of my every thought. My every action. All my plans. And I surrender them all to Him. Regularly. Routinely. I have to. Letting Him have it is the only way that it works. But I have also become less deliberate. And that is what I desire to change.
Physically, I want to be more deliberate about what I put in my body. Living in a house full of picky eaters can leave me unmotivated and unhealthy. They prefer chicken fingers to, well, anything. Vegetable is a bad word. I want to be more careful about the fuel I put into my body. I am anxious for Heaven and I am not aiming to live to 100 but I want to be able to effectively do what God has called me to do. He has asked me to be a good steward of what He has given me and my body falls into that. I want to be deliberate about planning good meals so my husband and kids can be healthier too. They have been warned.
I want to be deliberate about getting rid of stuff. My house can drive me crazy. We have 6 people living here and another who uses our house to store some of her stuff. It can be a bit much. Add on all the toys and trinkets that kids get nowadays and we are soon drowning in plastic. Not to mention all the stuff that we can’t seem to live without. I think about kids in other countries who don’t even own a pair of shoes and the dozen pairs that litter my front hall feels like overkill. Yes, we live in a harsher climate. Yes, we would not survive through a Canadian winter in bare feet but how much is too much? Do I even know?
I want to be more deliberate about how I spend my time. I can be very guilty of whittling away hours watching t.v. Mindless t.v. Even when there isn’t anything good on. I also want to spend time with people. I haven’t been doing that enough lately. I need to reconnect with people. People who add to my life but also with people whose lives I can add to. I don’t only want to take. I want to give too.
I need to be more deliberate about setting time aside for the things that God has called me to do. Like spending time in His Word. Praying. But also things like writing. Allowing others to see God and His work through me. I am not the perfect example and I never will be but I want to reveal Jesus to the world. I need to plan on it. If I don’t it won’t happen.
I want to deliberately work on writing God’s Word on my heart by memorizing it. I always memorized verses for Sunday School and girls’ club as a kid but I don’t do that anymore. But the verses I learned as a kid have stayed with me. We learned Psalm 199:105 in girls’ club and I still know it by heart. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light onto my path.” It was so long ago that I even learned it in the King James Version but those words, ancient sounding or not, are still true. The Bible does have the words that will guide me on the roads of this life. I believe that with my whole heart.
This fall, I heard anew a verse in Phillipians 3:10 and I want to make it my verse for the year. I love the way the Amplified version reads.
“For my determined purpose is that I may KNOW Him, that I may PROGRESSIVELY become more DEEPLY and INTIMATELY acquainted with Him PERCEIVING and RECOGNIZING and UNDERSTANDING the wonders of HIS PERSON more STRONGLY amd more CLEARLY.” (emphasis mine)
That is my prayer for this year. It is my heart cry. I don’t want to do it for a couple of weeks, fail and quit. I want it to be my determined purpose. I will fail. I may not always reveal my Saviour to the world but, unlike a resolution, I will get up, dust myself off and start over. And I have people in my life to keep me accountable. To encourage me when it gets tough.
As my father-in-law always says “Isn’t it good that we don’t know what’s coming”. I don’t know what is coming for this year. There are changes on the horizon. Some I know about. Some I might not. Life is like that. With my Father God I can handle them. He has this. Even when I don’t.
So I stand. Planning for “More”. Deliberately. Waiting for it. Watching for it. Ready.