As I sit here, a fire is burning and soft, relaxing music is playing in the background. I am preparing to say a few goodbye's to what will not be serving me in this new year. But first, I want to just sit here, and count a few simple blessings. I just built a warm fire to enjoy and I have soft, relaxing music playing in the background. Ah ... Simple pleasures. I am enjoying a hot and delicious cup of coffee and I am beginning to smell the sweet aroma of pork ribs I placed on low in the oven filling the house with what will nourish our bodies in a little while. I lit some candles and placed them around the house to simply enjoy the smell they are producing and to stare at the the tiny flames that seem to be dancing to the music playing in the background. Simple things seem to bring the most pleasure because I feel so much gratitude in moments like these.
I was reading earlier in my "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young. The first sentence reads, "Come to Me with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed." I had to simply sit a moment with those words. I felt a slight conviction as I came to realize how many times in the past year I did not have that teachable heart and how I resisted the change He was so patiently waiting to show me. I was stuck in a place we all find ourselves from time to time ... It's called, "Familiar." It's is a comfort zone many of us spend our entire lives, fearing changes. Only later, we find ourselves asking, "What if I had ...." as we fill in the blanks of regrets. So, I took some time to say goodbye to all of those regrets.
I continued reading and the next couple of sentences read, "A close walk with Me is a life of continual newness. Do not cling to old ways as you step into a new year." This created a sense of challenge for me as I looked back at the plans I had made for the previous year. I made some extremely high plans for myself and how I was going to change the world around me. I sat here and a giggle came from the inside of my inner soul. I changed nothing in the previous year. Yet, somehow, the previous year had indeed changed me. It taught me that I really have no control over what life will throw my way. It taught me the art of surrender as I came to the truths that the only control I had in my life was to learn how to surrender it fully in prayer. In return, I was shown a set of footprints ahead of me. So, out of curiosity, I began to simply follow where they might lead.
I smiled as I read the next sentence, "Instead, seek My face with an open mind, knowing that your journey with Me involves being transformed by the renewing of your mind." SNAP! I quickly realized that despite the failed plans I had made, Jesus was hard at work, full of love and grace, walking me through a process of renewing my mind. Let's face the cold hard facts and just admit we are all guilty of stinking thinking at times. Again, I reflected on how I heard my own voice inside my mind, criticizing myself, as if I had created my own being. Always telling myself I couldn't do this, and not really loving myself at all in many ways. Those self-defeating thoughts left me empty and sad by the time I got finished beating myself up over things I never had any control over in the first place. I knew it was time to say a few goodbye's to that kind of thinking.
The reading continued with, "As you focus your thoughts on Me, be aware that I am fully attentive to you. I see you with a steady eye because My attention span is infinite. I know and understand you completely; My thoughts embrace you in everlasting Love." This one really deeply hit the core of my spirit. I instantly felt a sense of guilt as I knew I was guilty of not focusing my thoughts on Him. It was more about me and what I was planning on doing within the year. I had to pause for quite a while as He gently showed me that his understanding surpasses all understanding. I was merely a human in the flesh and truly had no power of my own. I felt so small and helpless, yet I was comforted by a Love I didn't fully understand. I was, after all, a filthy rag in His sight. Yet, His infinite love wiped the filth away in an instant. I sit here trying not to lean into my own understanding because I simply don't possess that kind of understanding. So together, He showed me how His love would enable me to say goodbye to one of the most hardest things, and that was my own guilt. He gently reminded me again as I had to reread those last words, "I know you and understand you completely. My thoughts embrace you in everlasting Love." I must have read those words ten times before it truly sank into the deep depths of my inner soul, and washed away that guilt. I was trying to say goodbye to that guilt, but I discovered that I couldn't do that on my own. He took that guilt from me. Now, tell me, what kind of Love is that? It's timeless, and infinite just like He said it was. I simply had to learn to receive it as a free gift that I didn't have to earn or work for. I felt small again in that tender moment with Him.
Lastly, I discovered I was feeling so much Lighter than when I first awoke this morning. I continued reading the last words in my devotional, "I also know the plans I have for you; plans to give you hope and a future. Give yourself fully to this adventure of increasing attentiveness to My Presence." As I read those words, looking outside of the window at the trees that have lost their leaves, I suddenly felt naked. I was completely engulfed in a Love that no human on earth could offer me. Humans simply do not possess a love like that towards one another as we all fall short of it. Why is it so hard to trust in His words? He knows the plans he has for us ... Plans to give us hope and a future. Yet we fight against ourselves to simply trust in His truths. Maybe it is because some of us has lost our ability to trust because we've been hurt and betrayed. Again, all due to our own experiences with the flesh. I soon realized it was time to offer some forgiveness and say goodbye to those types of offenses. So I did. I took a deep, cleansing breath and peeled back a few more layers as He gently brought up the things that would no longer serve me in the journey ahead of us. Just He and I would walk in complete peace together.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Period. That's all I know to do at this time in my life. It's really not me after all who is serving others. For I am merely a vessel to represent Him and trust me when I say I fail daily at it. Yet He forgives and continues to show me the way as I continue to learn the art of trust and surrender. I do believe He is taking me into The Valley of Vision as I am beginning to see for the first time. I mean really see His plan and purpose. No, it is not completely revealed to me as I write, but I do believe He just gave me a quick glimpse. My heart rejoiced. I'll leave it at that. But it made me say, "Hmmmm" and my heart smiled at the thought of it all.
I usually start my year with a bunch of resolutions I never really fulfill anyway. I have made vision boards in the past that have shown me how small my vision really is in most cases. I fill my planner and calendars with a bunch of stuff to keep me busy each day. Only to find myself exhausted and depleted at the end of each day. It's time to say goodbye to some old habits as well.
I do believe this will be a year of bravery as I learn to say goodbye and embrace some new hello's. When Jesus sees I am ready to fly, He will lift my spirit upwards and release me into the plans He has for me. My only wish for this new year is to simply offer Him my time each day with a teachable heart. To look for the footprints that go ahead of me and follow them instead of trying to blaze my own trail. To ask Him to search my heart each day and help me unload everything that is not from Him. Too much baggage will only keep me grounded. Oh, and that Valley of Vision I mentioned earlier, I caught a glimpse of a glider that was free of the weight of this world. It was a sign that it's time to soar!
From my heart to yours,