It’s a new year this week. Full of the sparkle and shine of possibility. It’s an empty book just waiting to be filled and …I love that.
Many years I’ve pondered slow and deep and filled pages and pages of my journal with reflections and intentions and plans.
This year…I’m not. At least not yet. I am a firm believer that the whole of January is the beginning of the new year and I have that entire month to reflect and plan. So I still have time to change my mind.
But this year, there’s just one thing that keeps resurfacing for me as I look ahead. And behind. A carryover, perhaps, of all I’ve pondered and prayed these last few months.
I want to ask God for wisdom. More. More wisdom. More often. I want to ask Him to guide my decisions. Big and small. I want to ask what He desires me to do. How I should be spend the precious hours He’s given me? Where should I invest energy and attention?
I don’t expect to get a message from heaven each time. Or a miraculous word of guidance.
But I do except to be guided subtly and gently. I expect to be moved, because I move. Not God. I expect my heart and mind to move into alignment with God. I don’t expect words from heaven, but I expect Him to change me as I seek His heart. And as He brings me closer to His heart, I expect my decisions, large and small, to shift.
And I suspect, that on occasion, a clear answer might come.
I’ve spent the tail end of this year completely overwhelmed by everything there is to do. And I can’t at all see how I will accomplish it’s scope and breadth. I can’t figure out how to figure out what to prioritize and what to let go of.
And yet, this stubborn heart is learning slowly. The only way to truly grow is to ask for help. And who better to ask than the God who created the universe, and me?
So that’s it. That’s my one goal. …for now. To ask God for wisdom, for guidance, for help more often. For the small things, not just the big. And to ask that He bring my heart closer to His in the process.
How can I
Morning after morning
Wrap myself in
All this glory
And not open my
Mouth to praise?
by Alesha Sinks
So often I find myself overwhelmed by the beauty of nature. And yet, so often I fail to step forward into the intended result of awe and wonder…worship.
Isn’t that the purpose of creation?
”The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
Psalm 19:1 (NIV)
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
Romans 1:20 (NIV)
In the Psalms, there are examples upon examples of the writer praising God, inspired by and in awe of the glory of God’s creation.
“How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.”
“For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;”
Yet so many mornings I hurry, feet pounding across weather pavement, stechting out to reach the sunrise. And when I get there, when I reach the oceans edge with the early light rippling across the waves, when I stand still and breathless at the beauty in front of me, I forget to do the very thing for which my soul was made.
I forget to do the very thing for which my soul was made.
I forget to take my awe of creation and let it lead me into awe of the Creator.
And that’s true of a little million moments throughout my days.
watching pure joy radiate from my son’s face
when that one shaft of light slips through the living room blinds
the first glorious sip of coffee
a peaceful moment, book in hand
a friend reaching out in love and encouragement
that one song playing right, exactly when I needed to hear it
a cool breeze stirring through the hot evening air, summoning us to rest
How often do these moements slip through my grasp, our grasp, awakening joy and peace and hope and beauty, but failing to turn our hearts in gratitude toward their Giver.
Practicing awareness in the moment. Practicing giving a practical, out-loud or a quiet, whispered-in-my-heart “thank you God” when I am surprised by joy. Praciticing reflection on blessings at the end of the day or the week or the month and practicing offering my thanks to God then. Practicing to make a seamless turn from “Wow, how beautiful” into “God, You are so beautiful”.
I’m practicing to make a seamless turn from “Wow, how beautiful” into “God, You are so beautiful”.
Will you practice with me? Will you join me in allowing the beauty around us to not just catch our eyes or our hearts, but to turn our hearts toward God?
My prayer for us today is…
Let the beauty we encounter daily lead us to worship.
So often I know, I know they aren’t. I apologize over and over. I snap and yell and rant again and again, and then must circle back to asking forgiveness.
I try this. Then that. I say one thing Then I change my mind and try a different vein of logic or type of consequence or chose a rewards system or give simply let it slide because I don’t know what I’m doing.
Maybe you hear them too? The dozens of voices. Opinions. Loud and demanding and, unfortunately, contradictory.
How do I know I’m listening to the right one?
And I can feel the them rising…the voices. Slowly louder and louder in my head. Crushing me with their volume and their weight.
Do this…not that. If you do this, you will hurt them… If you don’t do this, you teach them bad habits… This is kinder… This is wiser… This is effective… This is better for the long haul… This is practical… This is for their heart… ..and I am drowning in the voices.
But suddenly, in my head but not from within it, His voice speaks above the din. Softly. As if nearest to me out of them all.
“Don’t listen to them, listen to me.”
And I realize that somehow I thought His voice was there, in the chorus and chaos of voices in my head. I somehow thought His voice was among them, shouting at me with judgement, with fear, with shame.
I forget that His voice is different. His voice is outside of the crowd. Separate. And only in turning the crowd of opinions down, will I be able to hear His voice, firm and safe. A steady place to rest my heart and mind. A safe bottom to plant my anchor.
The steady thrum of options and opinions isn’t necessary to my parenting.
Being guided by the Holy Spirit is necessary to my parenting.
So I’ll lay my anxious heart down tonight, a little easier. My head will be a little quieter. And my mind and heart will repeat this simple prayer.
God, let me see my children with Your eyes and Your heart. Let me hear Your voice and let my heart be sensitive to Your touch. Give me Your wisdom and strength and grace as I parent, and the humility to allow myself to be parented by You in the process.