Friday, 4 January 2013

Seek ye first...

Thankyou for your help with the New Year thing, God.

I've been reading bits and pieces that people are writing about New Year resolutions and I've been getting increasingly bewildered. Other years I've leaped with confidence into the new year and this year I feel as if I'm hanging back. Actually, that's an exaggeration. I don't generally tend to leap with confidence anywhere, let alone into the unknown. But still. You get my drift. 

What does a New Year mean to you, Father God? Years after all are our construct; you're outside time. Our blocks of 365 days, while meaningful to us, are just blinks to you. You are eternal. I don't even know what eternity means. 

Do you look at our New Year ponderings and resolutions and smile? Do you laugh at the gap between aspiration and reality? Do you poke about amid the selfishness and ambition, 'This year I will only care about people who care for me,' and 'This is the year that I will be promoted,' and hunt for grains of truth? 

When you unearth a flicker of self-awareness: 'This year I plan to spend more time with God,' or 'I need to stop being critical and seeking perfection in all that I do,' do you and the angels celebrate the honesty? 

On New Year's Eve several people asked me if I had any New Year Resolutions and I was floored each time. Had I got any resolutions? Nope, not really. I didn't know what I should focus on. 
I had many areas to choose from. 

Should I restart a fitness regime? (definitely)
Should I cut out all carbohydrates? (possibly)
Alcohol? (probably)
Always go to bed before 11pm? (maybe)
Get up earlier? (please - no)

Or perhaps I should focus on being more patient with the children. 
No more shouting. 
Tolerate mess with better grace. 
Play more games. 

Clean the house more often and more thoroughly? 
File paperwork more regularly? 
Do more weeding? 
Clean the car occasionally? 

Should I try to be more disciplined with my writing? 
Choose a project and stick to it and see what happens instead of jumping about doing so many things? Should I aim to achieve something (what?) this year instead of bimbling aimlessly on my keyboard? 

Spiritual goals. What of them? I know that my devotional habits leave much to be desired. Maybe I should commit to a midweek group. Get the idea for a women's ministry off the ground. Write more for the church magazine? Volunteer more, do more, pray more, join in more?

See what I mean?  There are simply so many areas that I need to get sorted that I can't get them in any kind of order at all. I have so many New Year's Resolutions that I don't have any at all. 

So along came 1 January and I was woefully unprepared. And for someone like me, not being prepared is unnerving. I felt as if I'd missed a deadline; Not Got It Right. 

For Christmas I got a page a day calendar. One of those desk ones with a quotation from the Bible and an inspiring picture for each day of the year (and the weekends share a page - always wondered why don't they get their own page - do you know?). Anyway, my calendar uses the King James Version, which I rarely look at, being a fan of the NIV and the NLT, with an occasional look at the CEB and The Message. I'm out of practice with the KJV and it's going to be a lovely year rummaging around in it. 

The first verse of the year, 1st January 2013, and here it was:
'But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.'
Matthew 6:33
It sort of crystallised in my head. So many things need doing that I don't know where to start. I don't know how to prioritise. Everything seems worthwhile and I don't know what's important. Then the King James let me into the secret.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God.

Not anything else. I need to seek you where you are.

New Year Resolution 2013:  Look for God.

After that?  Who knows? I think it might be a lifetime's resolution - but I have my first step into the New Year.

The funny thing was that once I got this, it all began to fall into place. I sat propped up with pillows on the evening of the first of January and I read the entry for the day in Sarah Young's 'Jesus Calling'.* You must have been smiling, God.
'Come to me with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed... Do not cling to old ways as you step into a new year. Instead, seek my face with an open mind, knowing that your journey with me involves being transformed by the renewing of your mind.'
Haha! A teachable spirit. I'm doing my best, Lord. I had so many plans for this year that I had none, and I asked you what I should do about new year resolutions. You told me.

  1. Seek you first
  2. Have an open mind; a teachable spirit
  3. Be transformed by the renewing of my mind
Lord, there's so much about my mind that I would like renewed. My ability to talk myself out of the good things and into the bad things. The way the voice in my head is so often discouraged and defeated. How I tend to dwell on yesterday ('If only...') or tomorrow ('What if...?') instead of getting on with the day I've been given. The way I constantly allow the sparks of you that should ignite and blaze away to be dampened down by the constant drizzle of me-me-me.

The renewing of my mind. Transformed. Oh yes, please. 

And then, slightly lower on the pillows, I flicked to a devotional on my phone. Today's verse? Guess what. You hammered it home:
'Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.'
Romans 12:2
  1. Seek you first
  2. Have an open mind; a teachable spirit
  3. Be transformed by the renewing of my mind
  4. Then I will know your will. 
Yes, Lord. I'm saying yes, please. Give me a teachable spirit. Transform me and renew my mind. Give me wisdom and discernment that I might recognise your will in my life, and courage to act on what I discover. 

I was made to seek you, Lord. I believe that you made me to get to know you, to enjoy you and to bring you glory. 

That is what I am for. 

Lord God, my New Year's Resolution this year is to seek you, and seek you with all my heart. You have promised that when I do this, I will find you. 
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, ' declares the Lord."
Jeremiah 29:11-14a

So - here's to this year. Father God, help me with this, because there's no way I can do it on my own. May I sit propped up on pillows this time next year and look back and say, wow, this was the year that I looked for you and found you.
'But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.'
Amen.




*Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Thomas Nelson, 2004

6 comments:

  1. Amen! I've been struggling with the whole resolution thing as well, and you've nailed the only one that matters: Seek the Lord first.

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    1. That's the plan. Just got to try and find out what that means...

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  2. Beautiful, awe inspiring and amazingly close to what God has been saying to me too! I have a draft blog prepared on a topic scarily similar to this that I planned to air next week. What is it with us? Apart from the fact that I began my new year reading a Christmas gift of 'Jesus Calling'(a wonderful gift and an awesome read), our lives are so dissimilar. Yet God is continually reflecting in your voice here what He is already dealing with in my life. Sisters in the faith indeed. Message heard, received and understood once more! Thank you, Helen, for this timely word. :)

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    Replies
    1. Joy, I don't know! But sometimes even your tweets take the words out of my mouth. I have much to learn from you.
      Thankyou for the encouragement and the 'Me too!' moments. Best foot forwards for 2013, hey?

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  3. Thank you for this inspiring blog!

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  4. Thankyou for coming and for the encouragement. That means a lot. :-)

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