Its here. Christmastide. There is a hush that seems to fall over the world the week after Christmas. After we've gathered with our loved ones, after we've whispered and tiptoed to fill every stocking and seen the delight of our children on Christmas morning, after we've napped and eaten and hugged and taken in the light of the tree.
After we've welcomed the Light of the World, we have all of Christmastide to bask in His glow.
And I've been asking myself this week, what will my New Year look like in the Light of Christ? What will pursue, what will I purpose to do and learn? Christ is our Immanuel- the name that heralds the reality on thousands of lips and hymnals all of December: God is with us. He is here! So, in the power of the Holy Spirit, what is possible for the season ahead? What would it look like to dream with God about 2017?
Do you take time to dream with God? Do you take time to talk to Him about what He may dream for you? About what He wills, what He longs to inspire and Equip? Even about what He wants to prune or protect you from? This week on the internet, there is going to be a lot of talk about how to set goals, how to lose weight, how to be more productive, advance in your career, kick a bad habit or stick with a new one; but in the midst of all that noise and all the advice, you can hear the still small voice of your God whispering to your heart, "Come away with me, my love....."
I'm convinced that taking time to retreat with God Himself is essential to being healthy, whole, inspired and intentional in the new year. One of the marks of of a woman who has spent time with Jesus is that she takes responsibility for her own heart, cultivating joy and thankfulness as she serves and blesses those in her life.
If you can in the coming weeks, try to get away for a couple of hours. Maybe it will be for a morning or an afternoon, or a series of 15 minute coffee breaks spread throughout several weeks, but in whatever stretches of time you are able, would you imagine with God about your life this year? Would you allow Him to bring fresh vision to your days?
As you sit with Him, here are some questions to help shape your time together:
What are the things God has clearly called you to cultivate and steward? Honestly assess how you are doing well, and where God would like to help you grow. Are there things you are expending energy doing that God has not called you to labor in? Are there things you need to let go of? What needs to change for your calling and stewardship to be sustainable?
On Your Unique Puzzle of Life
Yourself: What are some of your unique gifts? What circumstances, experiences, convictions or personality has God given to you in order to serve others? What are some of your personal limitations and drainers? (These could include relational or financial stress, a sick child or aging parent, big life changes, etc)
Your Marriage: Where is your marriage strong? Where is it weak? What is one thing you can work on in your marriage this year?
Your Parenting: Where are the hearts of each of your children? What do you want to give them this year? Where are the areas you see them flourishing and what are some character qualities you would like to help them to strengthen?
Your Commitments: What activities do you want to continue and which do you need to cut out for yourself or your children? What do you want to have established as the anchors of your family and the way your spend your time? Do you have other interests you'd like to pursue if you could make the time? Make a plan that brings joy!
On Cultivating Your Heart, Mind, Soul and Strength
How will grow in your relationship with God this year? When will you spend time in the word? What books will you read? What great thinkers and writers and artists will you expose yourself to? How will you rest? When and how will you help your body to be strong?
My mentor and friend, Sally Clarkson and I have just recorded a podcast about one more aspect of intentionally walking in to the new year: Decluttering your soul and learning to take your burdens to the Lord as you seek His will and plan for your life. I would love to have you join us if you'd like more encouragement about heading into 2017.
In all that is before us, may God be glorified,