Seems like every New Year as I pack up the tree, I am moved to super clean out everything, organize every thing from my home, my calendar, my school schedule, our menu plan, our exercise schedule, to any other schedule I use. There's something about starting a fresh year that makes me want a clean slate. Not just external things, but internal things as well. When I take a true gaze inside, I am usually not too excited about what I see. I am definitely still a major work in progress. The older and "wiser" I get, the more I know that I don't know. Yet, (praise the Lord), I am not what I was. I may get disappointed in my actions/thoughts, but I no longer dress in a coat of shame that I did my younger years. Instead I will keep my eyes on the Lord and try to keep that inward hook that focuses only on myself packed away.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Although I am not a person that suffers from ADHD, you would think my cleaning and writing habits suffer from it. I started this 15 days ago and have got distracted by legitimate life in a big home schooling family things. Then my cleaning usually goes like this. 1) Take down the tree. 2) Nope, get down the boxes from the attic. 3) Nope, lets go through the boxes and decide what we will ever use again and goodwill whatever we won't. 4) Okay now we will put the Christmas stuff in the boxes. 5) Did the dryer go off? Let me get the clothes out and fold them. 6) Is it 11:00? Before I get the clothes away let me get things ready for lunch. 7) Me: Hey guys, put away dishes so I can make lunch." Then I fill the sink up with warm water so I can wash as I cook. Things are started. Let me check on how the tree is going. 8) Back to packing up tree until the next step in preparing lunch unless I heard the washer stop. If it's sunny, let's hang out the laundry. 9) Start hanging laundry, but before I go in I better pick up this trash the dog must have found. Then they may end up with me cleaning off the back porch. 10) Wait a minute, it's lunch time. Hey guys, let's put away laundry so we can eat. When you add this to my school days....well I'll just let you imagine how that could go. I have to stay intentionally focused during school days or my guys would all still be in 2nd grade at the rate I could wander. Anyway, every year I make goals. Family, school, personal goals in all kinds of areas. I have found even if I don't come close to meeting them all, I accomplish more than I would have if I hadn't dreamed so big. So this year's goals are almost identical to last year's goals except I replaced the books I wanted to read, my children needed to read, trips we went on, etc. with new books, different trips, etc. Most of all I want the Lord to be foremost in my life. More than checking off another accomplishment off my list (or being neglectful of the many duties I do have), I hope to press into Christ and draw nearer to Him this year.
The truest lengthening of life is to live while we live,
wasting no time but using every hour for the highest ends.
So be it this day.
While reading Pastor Wade Trimmer's New Year post (that you can find here), my heart just rejoiced and resonated with the truths he shared. I hope this little paragraph that I borrowed will encourage you as much as it did me:
Negativity says the best is behind and the worst is ahead. Faith says yesterday ended last night
and there is no time like the present. In fact today is God’s gift to me that’s the reason why it’s
called the Present! Negativity lives by the TGIF view of life (Thank God It’s Friday). Faith lives
by the TGIT philosophy (Thank God It’s Today!). Faith lives each day as the first day of the rest
of my life and it lives each day if it were the last. If you live as though each day were your last,
someday you will wake up to discover that you were finally right!
The sermon at Kiokee from Pastor Steve gave a few weeks ago also spoke to my heart about what my desires should be this coming year and always. He asked us do we want to thrive, strive, survive? What is my greatest desire? What will be my passion? Paul's singular passion was Jesus. He would endure all things just to have Jesus. We don't need Jesus AND, we JUST need Jesus. He then gave 4 points about what will happen when Jesus becomes our singular passion from I Cor. 3-4:2. 1) God is explained. (When Paul saw Jesus for who He was, He saw God for Who He was....and of course, is). 2) My life is transformed from glory to glory, a work of the Holy Spirit, not earned. 3) Thanksgiving replaces entitlement (4:1). Paul never carried a sense of entitlement, instead in all things he told us not to lose heart. Why? The mercy of a gracious Father who doesn't give us what we all deserve. Hell. 4) Truth Matters. It doesn't matter what you think it says. It matter what it says. The foundation IS his Word. It keeps us accountable and is our guide.
So as I clean out, plan, and move forward I discover once again amidst my striving, my planning, and struggles that the singularly most important thing this year and every other is that I want and I need Jesus to be my magnificent obsession. Although I may have piles of papers to sort, children's clothes to put away, a pantry to clean, good books to read, weight to lose, exercise to fit in, and loads of school to teach and do with the munchkins, it all doesn't really matter if my priorities are out of whack. They are as filthy rags says Isaiah (64:6). OUR righteousness means nothing, nada, zilch, kaput. Again I must be reminded that the things that need the most decluttering is my mind and heart. Lord Jesus, let it be so! Be my magnificent obsession.
“If you don't feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God,
it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied.
It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world.
Your soul is stuffed with small things,