The clock ticks…the calendar rolls over from one year to the next…time continues as it always has. But the first day of a new year always feels special. What will define 2014? And what defined 2013?
For me, it began in January with a spiritual battle. At times, it felt like a tailspin- a close call to a crash and burn. But I experienced gradual progress- clawing my way back. I saw glimpses of hope that helped me keep going forward. Was my struggle self-perpetuated? Was it a refining fire from God to get my heart clean and righteous? Or was it an attack from Satan? I could barely take it. I don’t ever, ever, ever, ever want to go through that torment again. But what has resulted? Humility. Dependence. Intimacy. Clarity. Grace. Mercy. Love. Compassion. Joy. Boldness. Becoming engaged in God’s Kingdom once again. Understanding. Creativity. Passion for studying God’s Word. Passion for being in His Presence. Fresh, renewed spirit within me. Hope. For those things, I am eternally grateful.
I still battle nerves and a racing heart- which is so physically uncomfortable and exhausting. Not sure if it’s from changing hormones in this aging body of mine, but whatever it is, I endure and I’m learning to turn my weaknesses over to the Lord. Oh, the flesh. Such a battle.
As I reflect on 2013, what were the lessons I learned? With all the battles, it was such a rich year for spiritual growth and victory. I feel compelled to share my ‘Top 10’ with you.
10) Learn from the past and then let it go. (Replaying negative past events is counter-productive. If I’ve asked for forgiveness, trust God’s promise to forgive, cleanse and heal. Then place those things at the foot of the Cross and leave them there.)
9) Don’t waste time evaluating everyone else’s spiritual condition. I’m not an accurate and objective judge of other people, or even of my own heart. Seek and ask the Lord to reveal areas that need to be addressed and then obey what He says in His Word. (Doing a spiritual inventory is a healthy thing, but comparing my ‘good lists’ and ‘bad lists’ to others is not. God’s holy and perfect Law is my standard- and only by faith and in Christ’s grace can I be empowered to live it out!)
8) Thank God continually for His blessings- His love and presence in my life ARE my greatest reward! (And thanking Him for my trials, as well.)
7) One day at a time. Focus on what the Lord has for me, what He wants from me, right here and right now.
6) Be informed, but not consumed about world events. Look at all things from a biblical perspective, always having His eternal plan in focus.
5) Ask, “Okay, what now? How can I be a part of the solution, rather than just being a complainer?”
4) Separate ‘good things’ from ‘God things.’ There are many opportunities and time fillers available to me- even self-fulfilling and gratifying things. But what does God the Father want me to do?
3) Don’t hold on to the things of this world too tightly. Only clutch to one thing- the Lord…. and don’t ever let Him go!
2) Honor and invest in my commitments to my husband and children.
1) Forgiveness is freedom to my soul. (Forgiving others and forgiving myself.)
I’m sure there are many, many more things I could add. And each of us has our own unique list. But whatever it is, I pray that we each recognize how the Lord is working in our lives and then walk in it. God bless from our family to you and yours!