7 Practices to Savor Life in the New Year
Slow down. Laugh More. Wait on the Lord. Know God. Listen More, Speak Less. Grow!
Here they are. A top seven guide that God's been laying before me to pray about. While the list feels hard, I am aiming for progress, not perfection, and will seek to remember that nothing is impossible with God--for you and me.
So here goes, let's surrender and grow together.
1. Halt the Hurry “Be still, and know that I am God; Psalm 46:10
Slowing down. Saying no to the hurried frantic lifestyle. Taking a Sabbath. Sitting in moments of silence. Resting in God. Listening for him. This doesn’t mean doing nothing all of the time (will still be keeping in mind the Proverbs 31 woman), but I’ve been entrenched in the do more, try harder mentality especially trying to maintain what I was doing before adding children to our family.
We need to learn to dump the extremes and expectations imposed by today’s culture that demands hurry. It's a disease making us physically and emotionally sick. As a mover and production oriented person, this will be a challenge, but I’m learning that Jesus moved slowly. It’s His way and rest was part of God’s design from the beginning. A few books have helped me change my perspective on this and yearn to halt the hurry. Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God's Transforming Presence by Ruth Haley Barton The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World John Mark Comerand John Ortberg
2. Laugh more. Appreciate my limits.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25
My kids have told me that I don’t laugh enough with one telling me she wishes she had a mommy who laughs more. Part of me wanted to be defensive and argue, but then I know this verse has been on my heart and know it’s a message from on high. So I will aim to laugh more and leave the thoughts about an unknown future (which can weigh on my mind I wholly admit) to the One who knows it all and is working for our good. I may tap some ideas from this book which was a pretty good read. And I will aim to appreciate my God-given limits of not being able to do it all.
3. Wait on the Lord
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalms 27:13-14
We’ve listened to a song often this year called Wait on You by Elevation Worship and Maverick City. It’s been a much needed guide over recent unknowns with God’s word and reminders to trust his goodness woven throughout. God promises in Isaiah 40:31 to renew the strength of those who wait on the Lord. Again, this is the recurring message to me to rely on him, not hurry in my own strength which is actually a weakness.
4. Receive the Love of God
“….and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19
God is love. We may hear it and think it, but do we feel it? Do we really live in the extravagance of God’s endless love for us? Not because of what we do but because of who we are? Stephen Hill in Freedom from Religion argues that we do not and that results in being religious but not really knowing God. It is an eye-opening book that I highly recommend. He ends it with this statement: “Lie down, relax, and receive the beams of the Father’s love!” And if you ever wonder how God can still love you despite the mistakes you make on repeat or after you've been saved, Gentle and Lowly is a must-read. It speaks powerfully to who God is and his love for as sinners before and after giving our lives to Him.
5. Fill with Joy
“And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 13:52
This is one that I thought depended on me to work on. Thankfully I’ve learned, but still struggle at times, that we can’t work on filling with any of the fruits of the spirit. We need to depend on God to fill us. We have to ask him and the spirit and then obey as they work in us. This certainly relieves the pressure but doesn't always make it feel easy still. However, I’m confident that he who began a good work in me will carry it through to completion. Philippians 1:6
6. Focus on What Matters
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2
Time seems short and we will not receive more in a day which is actually a gift! Solomon lays this out very well in Ecclesiastes and a favorite scripture study this year has been Ecclesisastes commentary-linked below. It lays out the ultimate purpose for our lives – living for God while still on Earth. And the best practical tips I’ve encountered for doing it daily are held within this life-changing book called: She Works His Way. It’s a must read! Conversational Commentary on Ecclesiastes: Wisdom to Live for Heaven While on Earth by Michelle Myers , Liz Patton She Works His Way: A Practical Guide for Doing What Matters in a Get-Things-Done World by Michelle Myers and Somer Phoebus
7. Listen More. Speak Less
“Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger” James 1:19
Enough said. Praying earnestly on this one for my children and I both and our future generations.
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