With all the Christmas hub-bub flying by my calendar, I find myself buzzing with nervous anticipation. Pinterest entices me into believing I can- I really can- learn to knit and sew and bake and cook gourmet- all while saving money of course. Making quality time for the kids. Finding quantity time with the kids. Ultimately, hiding from the kids.
That’s when I give up the super mom act! I go into hibernation mode, throw out all the “have to’s” and “shoulds”. I marvel at the incredible gift of salvation and how God has changed my life. Initially it’s all positive, but as I continue to reflect on the past year I gravitate toward over-analyzing my many failures. I ponder the year ahead and determine what will attain more of God’s favor. It’s not that I’m being completely selfish, I do genuinely want to please Him. Perhaps if I worked harder in ministry, or found more time for that service project. Maybe if I took this class or joined that prayer group I could get that heavenly A plus. I want to accomplish everything He’s called me to do, but I suspect I’m missing the point…
And probably you are too. Most of us make goals for ourselves each new year. I’m no mind reader but I bet yours are similar to mine- you want to improve your health (read lose weight), your finances (save money), and your relationships (spend more happy time with the family-emphasis on happy). Most importantly, I want to grow closer to Jesus than ever before.
The Message Bible translates Romans 12:1-2 : “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
Sarah Young, author of “Jesus Calling”, the hugely popular daily devotional, is changing the way people view their prayer time. I find her so interesting because she was a Super Christian for 16 years before she understood devotion. I mean she was PERFECT! She went to seminary and earned her master’s degree in counseling and biblical studies. She was a missionary in Japan for 8 years. Got married and had children. Earned yet another degree in counseling at University. Even moved to Australia and started a church!
Yeah, I would think she deserves a heavenly pat on the head…
And yet, as she looks back on her life, she reflects,
“I cherished my experiences of helping deeply wounded women find healing in Christ. I was also thankful for my kind, loving husband and our two delightful children, who were the main joys of my life. However, not once during those sixteen years did I vividly experience the Presence of Jesus.”
As she was preparing to pack up and move down under, she began searching out God’s Presence like never before. And she discovered her previous devotions were pretty much one-sided. Formerly, her time with God was mostly HER praying, HER reading, HER asking and thanking, and HER writing down HER thoughts. Now she practiced the art of waiting:
“I began seeking God’s Presence in earnest. My days started alone with God, equipped with Bible, devotional book, prayer journal, pen, and coffee. As I waited in His Presence, God began to reveal Himself to me. An hour or two alone with Him seemed too brief.”
Of all the experiences she’s had, of the many soul’s Sarah has won for Christ through counsel, prayer, both in her profession and in service as a missionary, she cites her quiet time with God to be the most personally victorious she has felt as a Christian. Hmm…
Let’s experience absolute victory in our walk with our Creator this year. Jesus has much to say to me and you, and I resolve to listen.