I had mentioned a couple of posts ago that I was going to blog about three possible resolutions to pursue for 2014–here is the first!
Sadly, the word “resolutions” already seems like a word from the past, since it’s already February. In the past, I would have trailed off into my old habits by the end of January if I hadn’t made radical changes by this point. Not this year! We still have almost the whole year ahead of us to grow and thrive! God gives us a new beginning EACH DAY to put the past behind us and take control of positive growth in our lives.
Today I want to share about spiritual resolutions and three ways I am trying to accomplish growth in my own life:
1. Resolve to Put In Effort –yep, just do it!
In my relationships with friends and family, if I don’t move toward them and give at least an equal amount of effort the relationship struggles. I often have to be intentional about those relationships–date nights with my husband, quality time with my kids, or coffee with my friends whose lives don’t so easily intersect with mine anymore.
It is the same with God–we need to be intentional in setting aside all the distractions of life and giving time to Him.
I don’t know about you, but it is extremely easy for me to get distracted as soon as I walk downstairs each morning in my fuzzy robe and slippers. I have the full intention of sitting quietly by the fireplace with my bible and a steaming mug of coffee in my hands (just kidding, I don’t drink coffee, or tea for that matter) and all of a sudden I find myself with honey stuck to my fingers from the sandwich I hurriedly made, children shoving permission slips to be signed in front of me, frozen chicken to be thawed for dinner, a load of “emergency” laundry to be thrown in for the kids theme day at school, etc.
Not to mention the bright shiny distraction of the EMAIL INBOX.
The truth is, I must be intentional (and disciplined) in how I want to grow–and use discipline to seek God first and my inbox later. I need to plan into my busy schedule how to make time with God (quiet times, church, bible study) a reality amongst the distractions.
In other words, I will not feel any closer to God through osmosis.
2. Discover God on His Terms, Not Ours.
The pastor at our church has challenged us on this way of thinking, which has been so enlightening! Ask yourself this question: “Is the bible about humans or God?” Think about it. Humans, you say? After all, the bible is about the human experience with God, shared in heartbreaking and exhilarating stories. But, Pastor Cuss explains that actually, the bible is about God. It is about His character, His plan, and His will for humans. It is about His desire for relationship with them and the sacrifices He made to make that possible. God created humans to be in relationship with Him–not for Him to be in relationship with us….subtle difference, think about it.
As Christians we need to discover God on His terms (we are a part of His greater plan) not ours (He exists to help us with our plan). We need to remember that we are set apart for the purpose of glorifying God and to fulfill His will for the earth.
How does that become a resolution? In my daily attitude, and my heart in seeking God. Is it self-serving? Or do I humbly surrender to God, asking Him to fulfill his plan in my life? I’m working on the latter.
3. Rinse, Wash Repeat.
Developing my spiritual habits come from repetition. To have a time and a place each day for my quiet time (6:30 AM on the bean bags by my fireplace), gives me consistency and structure. During this time I read my passages out of the Daily Bible, do part of my bible study for the week, and spend a few minutes in prayer.
I am the first to admit this does not always happen the way I would like. As I mentioned earlier, there are many distractions that happen in the morning, and many days my younger two get up earlier than I’m expecting (during my quiet time) to work on homework or go to school early for an extra-curricular activity. So, I just try to get back on the horse the next day (when they actually stay asleep until 7:00). The point is the pattern is established so I can get right back into it when the opportunity is there.
Whether it’s bible study, church, prayer, or listening to worship music, repetition is the key. I know it is good for my soul and my closeness to God to walk with Him consistently. As I “practice the presence of God” in my life, my attraction grows toward Him.
These three spiritual resolutions; putting in effort, discovering God on His terms, and rinsing, washing and repeating, help us to thrive in our spiritual lives each day! Let’s do it!
The next post will be on physical (health) resolutions and some tools I’ve found to help us keep those.