Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year's Redirection

I hate the term New Year's Resolution. Have I mentioned that already? I like the idea behind a resolution--something you commit to do. The problem with the New Year's kind is that I commit for a couple weeks, or at best a couple months, then I forget and my committment . . . well . . . isn't. I've tried all kinds of things to allay the guilt that comes washing over me at the end of the year, as I realize that once again, my resolutions weren't exactly resolute, but to no avail. This year, I have been praying about my direction in 2009. What God keeps pressing on my heart is that all my striving and working are useless if they are powered by anything other than Him.

I'm fallen into a subtle trap. I'm doing some things--some very important things--and I say they are for Him. But the truth is, although I do believe they are His will for me, I'm doing them all in my own strength. I have yielded to a culture of over-communication. Information is seconds away, at my fingertips. I have inundated my brain with Google and Netflix and Facebook. While there is nothing wrong with these means of communication, God's Word . . . and worse yet God's presence have fallen to the wayside in my life. Communication with Him is hard, because it requires me to stop . . . to be still . . . to wait. I don't like waiting. Heroes don't wait. Successful executives don't wait. And well, mom's don't get to wait. Waiting requires an intense amount of self-discipline, and I'm not exactly that.

In our spiritual culture, we live in a mindset that has washed away the seriousness of our relationship to God. I have grown up in the church, and sometimes I sense that "Jesus loves me" and "Jesus saves me" and even "God is soveriegn" are washed out phrases that have become bland. Shame on me! Shame on us! Christ's love and sacrifice to save me are world-changing!!! If the idea of men I don't know fighting and dying on a battlefield half-way around the world humbles me into reverence for their sacrifice, the idea of the holy God of the universe CHOOSING to put Himself at risk and die for me should level me to my knees. Prayerlessness--the casual neglect of the relationship with that very God--should be considered a travesty instead of excused by my own weakness. It is sin! Chasing after all the things of this world is adultery, not mere choice made in freedom! Am I being hard on myself? No, I don't think so.

So my goal this year is a hard one. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness." I only have one goal, one "resolution" this year. I want to seek after God's kingdom harder . . . more intentionally . . . . I feel certain that if I work at this one thing, with Providence's help, everything else will fall into place and I will see progress in more areas than I can imagine. Or at least, those other things bugging me? They won't matter, because my goals and desires will be more shaped by God's concerns.

I'm not off to a good start. But I still have 364 days to work at it. And ANY progress toward this goal is something to be pleased with! What have I got to lose?

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