I don’t want to be one of those people who write out a list of impossible resolutions that never happen. I don’t want to be one of those people who make a list of generic things they want to change at some point in the next span of 365 days which they have never changed before. I don’t want to be one of those people who write a blog about all they are going to change and then find themselves in the same place a month later. But guess what… I’m going to be one of those people for a moment.
My parents were visiting for Christmas and New Years, and they left this morning. I love them dearly and wish they could have stayed longer, but it was good and necessary to find some quiet space in our tiny apartment again this morning. There have been lots of changes God has made in my life in the last few months. He has begun speaking a new destiny and purpose over me, and He has helped me to eat healthy and get healthy. As we rode out the 2016 landing pattern, I began to think about how I want to make these a part of my every day life and what other changes I should make. So in the quiet of the morning, I wrote a few goals into my journal that need to become routine and habitual.
- Start my day with God not Facebook: I have a tendency to “wake up” by scrolling through Facebook. I don’t want my day to start there. I want it to start in the Word of God with an ear tuned to Holy Spirit.
- Make time for Holy Spirit Listening and Learning Time: There are things I feel God instructing me to do that take time and sacrifice, and I need to stop pushing it aside saying “I just don’t have time,” and simply obey. I must make time.
- Spend time with Stephen (my husband) and not with my iPhone: I also have a tendency to neglect my husband, especially when we watch TV, to play games and scroll Facebook some more. This is the key to an unhealthy marriage, and I need to break that habit. I want my husband to know I love him because I cherish my time with him, not just because I say the words.
- Make time for Daily Cardio and Strength Training: I discovered Christian Zumba on YouTube, and I need to utilize it for my health. God already began the transformation by giving me the strength and desire to go (mostly) paleo, but I want to kick it up a notch and pursue a full healthy lifestyle. The gym is hard to get to, but I need to try to commit to strength training at least three times a day.
- Spend my “free time” constructively: Instead of wasting the day away playing games, scrolling Facebook, and binge watching Netflix, I need to transfer my inflow to podcasts, sermons, books, writing, song writing, piano practice, etc.
As you look at making goals and resolutions for the new year, and as you ask God what those changes should be, I want to leave you with a nugget that God recently highlighted for me.
Yesterday, during church, the pastor was reading the story of Abraham being tested. God had promised Abraham a biological son through Sarah. It was so beyond impossible by worldly medical standards. They were old! But God in his miraculous power made a way, and they conceived and bore a son named Isaac. God wanted to test Abraham’s faith, and He told Abraham to sacrifice his son. When they reached the mountain where they would climb and make the sacrifice, Abraham turns to his servants and says, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” (Genesis 22:5)
Did you see it? Did you catch the nuance of faith in what he said?
We (Abraham and Isaac) will worship and then we will come back to you.
Abraham didn’t say that they would go worship and he would return. He said we, a pronoun that implies himself and at least one other in the party (Isaac). Although God is telling Abraham to kill his son on an altar, Abraham had the faith, while walking in obedience, that God would either spare his son or resurrect his son and that no matter what Isaac would return with him. That. Is incredible. Faith. And if we take it a step further, Abraham had to put his son on the altar and raise the knife before the salvation appeared. He never swayed from obedience. He never delayed in obedience hoping God would relent. He stepped out in complete faith that God’s promise would still come to pass.
As you meditate on this verse and story, and as you begin to think about the changes you want to make in 2017, this is what I want to leave you with: Your obedient sacrifice will never negate God’s promises.
What is God asking you to place on the altar? Do you have the faith to trust God through the sacrifice? Sometimes the dreams He places in you are put on the altar and are seemingly dead, but if that dream was a promise from God, He is faithful to resurrect and make it happen. Obey and seek God first, and let your heart be filled with faith in Him.