Well friends, I have taken a long break from writing. Part of the reason was the fact that I wanted to focus on Jesus during the Christmas season. I don’t know about you, but it always feels like a fight to find the time to be with Him during the season that should focus on Him. I also needed time to read and learn and listen to God. I have been able to do that and it has been so good for my soul.
But now I am ready to tackle 2019 and I am asking the Lord what He wants of me this year. “What changes do I need to make in my life? Who do you want me to be?” I am trying to focus on looking to Him first instead of jumping into things that He might not want me to do.
I recently read this by Priscilla Shirer. “Every good thing is not a God thing. You cannot do 1000 things for the glory of God. But you can do the few things that He has divinely designated for you. So….Wait. Pray. Seek His assignments for you and then give yourself permission to say “no” to good things so that you can have the time and energy to say “yes” to the things God has actually called you to do.”
I don’t know about you, but this has always been hard for me. I want to say yes to “good things” because they are good, but sometimes that isn’t what God wants for me. He might want me to say “no” because there is something that is far greater for me to do. So, I am going to concentrate on consulting Him first before I say “yes” to anything. At least, I am going to try to do this. Sometimes, I honestly forget to ask Him. I just go ahead and jump in. My hope is to change this year!
There is something else I read that really hit home with me by Ann Voskamp that I would like to share with you. “The most important life skill to have in 2019 is paying attention to Jesus—nothing else is worth spending your one beautiful year on. And the soul solution that we really need is preaching Jesus to ourselves.”
“Preaching Jesus to myself.” I know that I really struggle with bad self-talk. I can tear myself to shreds in seconds. The words of Jesus go right out the window. I forget what scripture says about who I am. In case you need to be reminded of who you are in Christ, here are some examples. “I Am Accepted. I Am God’s Child. I Am Christ’s Friend. I Am A Saint. I Am Secure. I Am Free Forever from Condemnation.” If you want the full list go to Neil Anderson’s book “Who I Am In Christ.”
I also need to be reminded of the fact that Jesus lives in me. 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you?” How often I forget that fact in my life. I especially forget it when my emotions get the best of me or a trial hits that seems impossible to get through. I need to stop and pray and remember that He is right there with me. He has the strength to endure, so I have the strength to endure. He possesses everything I need to help me. I am not on my own. He is right there equipping me with everything I need.
Ignatius said, “My dear Jesus, is so deeply written in my heart, that if my heart were to be cut open and chopped to pieces, the name of Jesus would be found written on every piece.” Oh how I long to be like that this year! I want Jesus to be written on my heart deeply! I want Him to be the source and strength of my heart. I want Him to flow deeply from me. I want to get out of HIs way and let Him do what He needs to do in my heart and in my life! That is my deepest desire.
The only way that is going to happen is for me to spend time with Him daily. I want to listen to Him. I want to read His words. I want to learn from Him. I want Him to be the most important thing in my life. I want to want His ways more than mine. I want His plans to be my plans. But, I must always remember to consult Him first before I forge ahead.
I have struggled most of my life with being a performance junkie. Ann Voskamp states, “There is only room in us when we are done with us.” Well, I am done with myself. I am done with trying to please by performance. I am so done! Did I say I was done? I am done, done, done! I have almost killed myself doing this! Is it worth it? NO!
I have wanted love and acceptance so much that I was willing to do whatever it took to make people happy. And, not just people, but also myself. “Doing things” made me happy. I wasn’t getting my happiness or my identity from Jesus. I can picture Him just sitting there looking at me, waiting for me to turn around and look at Him. All He wants me to do is stop and look. I have been so busy running around thinking I was doing the right things that I didn’t take the time to even look in His direction.
“There is no need to produce or perform or perfect — simply become a place for God. That is all.” Voskamp It sounds so simple. Just be a place for God. How do we do that? I think we need to be still. We need to read God’s word. We need to pray and listen to Him. He will tell us what the plan is for us. I also know that I need to be a better receiver. I have always preferred being the giver— but I can tell that God wants me to focus on receiving this year. I need to receive His words, His power, His love, His forgiveness, His wisdom and His strength. I just want to sit and receive.
So, God has been speaking and I have been listening. There are so many changes that I want to make that I get overwhelmed at times because the “performance” in me gets stirred up. Voskamp says, “It’s never about wanting more time to be far better—its about wanting more of Jesus who is far better than anything you could ever imagine.”
My hope for 2019 is more of Jesus in my life. I love Him so much and I want to receive all He has for me. I want to find myself in Him. He knows who I truly am and I want to be that person. I have had to wear so many masks throughout the years and I think it has caused me to lose pieces of myself. I think we all do to some degree.
So–here’s to more of Jesus in 2019! I am praying that I become less so He can become greater in me. “When I long for nothing else, desire nothing else, hope for nothing else, but Jesus—I have everything I ever hoped for.” Voskamp
Until next time dear friends…