I don't do resolutions. For me they are just failed promises to myself but I don't want to leave 2008 without learning from it.
So, I looked back at all the struggles and joys, the ups and downs, the arguments and celebrations. What did I learn from each experience? Was there something that I needed to start doing? Something that I needed to quit?
New attitudes to develop and old habits to break abound. If I were to sit down with a pen and honesty, there would be a list a mile long that I would need to change, begin, end, enhance, trim down, cut out or nurture. I begin looking for a common thread. What could I do that would address all the things that I learned and yet not become so overwhelming that I wanted to give up before I began? Sure, losing weight and getting fit is important, but more important than developing patience and understanding with my son? Is my relationship with my children more important than my marriage? Maybe I should focus on strengthening that and learning how to truly submit, in thought and attitude as well as deed. But my marriage isn't as important as my relationship with God and, let's face it, most of the time I put God on the back burner to take care of the things I should be giving to him in the first place. Oh, but wait! I forgot about my ministry in the church. I also need to work on developing my friendships.
So I looked. I thought. I looked some more. How do I decide what to work on and what to put second, third or fourth place? Then, like a nudge from heaven, I hear a little voice asking me how much of this could be improved, fixed or completely avoided if I only knew God's thoughts on it.
Sure, i love me my Biblegateway, but when I am arguing with Bob, or tempted to overspend, or so frustrated with my children I could scream, Biblegateway is too far away. My Bible is usually in another room, if I even think to go to it first at all (hey, just being honest).
So where did all this thinking and nudging take me?
uh huh. The Bible.
The scriptures I know by heart are very very few. I have coasted along the last few years with an idea of what the Bible says, and a vague confidence that I know what part of the Bible to find it in. I have tried to say I don't know scripture because I just can't retain and memorize. That's a lie and we all know it. I am being lazy by not putting forth the effort to memorize. Sure, I would have to repeat little fragments over and over, write phrases repeatedly and work work work. But wouldn't it be so worth it to be able to look at my husband and instead of telling him why my idea is better, (and thus start a fight) to be able to instantly think to myself
"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything".
Or when I am tempted to buy a new outfit instead of keeping the funds in the bank to pay on our debt like we should, I would instantly know
"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
I struggle with feeling lovely. Not pretty or thin or attractive, but lovely. I struggle to believe that I have anything that is valuable to be loved. I need to be able to instantly remember that
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."Zephaniah 3:17
Matthew Chapter 4 begins with the temptation of Jesus. In each of the instances we read about, Jesus responds with "it is written". Because of his powerful knowledge of scripture Jesus instantly knew what the TRUTH was. THAT is the power I want in my life. To instantly know the truth and be able to use it effectively.
So, I have resolved to begin hiding the Word in my heart. How did I know where to start? Well, my prayer life is really not intentional. I have conversations with God all day but I don't give Him my time. I don't put aside part of my life that is for Him alone. So, to help me begin to remember that, my first scripture was:
"The Lord is near to all who call upon Him". Psalm 145:18
It was on a bracelet that I bought at our church's women's winter event. That verse took me three weeks to memorize. Oh yes it did. That memory thing? Not a lie. An excuse.
So, my new verse is:
"Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord". Lamentations 2:19a
I picked this verse because I love the imagery of pouring my heart out like water, just letting it all tumble out, not holding anything back or sifting through for only the things I am willing to let go of.
I am determined to cut my memorization time as well. I would love to be able to get at least two verses a month memorized. After this verse I have no idea what I will learn next. It may apply to my life at the moment, or just be a beautiful reminder of God, or it may be something that God is using to refine me. I am excited to see where my new resolve takes me!
I invite you to join me in my new resolve. Here are a few verses to inspire you, they may even be the first verses you commit to learning.
Happy New Year!
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.