Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Seeking His Face

New Year's resolutions are hard, aren't they? I think I read a statistic once that something like 80% of resolutions made after the ball drops are dropped themselves before March rolls around. Maybe that's totally off base, but it sounds about right to me. I'm not sure what makes it so hard to adhere to the decisions that we make in January to make adjustments to our life that will be beneficial to us. I mean, when is the last time you heard someone lamenting about how their resolution to eat more birthday cake for breakfast had crashed and burned and they were back to the old habit of organic oatmeal?

Never, that's when.

Resolutions are for our benefit. We resolve to eat better, manage our time better, get a better grasp on our budget and stick to it, give more, save more, lose weight, quit smoking, pursue a dream.

All good things.

So why is it so hard to make it last?

I remember the year that I sat on the couch on the evening of New Year's Eve and was suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of resolve and dedication to lose weight. I had tried so many times and failed, but somehow this one felt different. As the clock struck midnight and 2011 passed into history, I knew that 2012 was going to be a turning point year for me. And it was. I locked my eyes on the goal and fixed my mind on the next step, the next milestone, the next challenge. I didn't let anything get in my way and by July I had hit my goal weight.

Your typical Weight Watchers success story, right?

At first glace, sure. The truth of the matter is that the weight loss I achieved had much less to do with my efforts and everything to do with gradually learning more and more about trusting God. I would listen to sermons while I ran and spend my cool-down time in prayer. The solitude and the cool night air became my place of worship. I came face-to-face with so many truths about myself and about God through my headphones as my feet hit the pavement that I gradually leaned harder and harder into Him. It was through his strength that I persevered and got healthy.

I need to rekindle this.

Not because my weight has rebounded. (Yes, it has rebounded quite a bit and I'm not exactly thrilled about it.) I am far less interested in the number on the scale as I am about the condition of my heart. The sense of intimacy I felt with the Lord as I spent those nights running with his Word in my ears is something I miss desperately. I have tried to reclaim it time and time again, but to no success.

I start a new prayer journal only to wind up with blank pages after two weeks.
The devotional from church goes unopened.
Distractions draw me away from his presence and suddenly I find myself seeking the latest news on  Facebook rather than seeking his face.
My Bible is reduced to little more than light reading before bed or an accessory I carry with me on Sundays.

This is unacceptable.

Years ago, God gave me the determination to get moving.
This year, I'm asking him to make me slow down.

Psalm 27:4

One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after: 
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.

Teach me to seek you, to dwell and rest in your presence, and to gaze. I don't just want to glance at you from time to time, but I want to purposefully go to you throughout my day - every day - and to see you in every aspect of my life.

Psalm 27:8

You have said, "Seek my face."
My heart says to you,
"Your face, LORD, do I seek."
Hide not your face from me.

May this be the prayer of my heart this year, LORD. Your face, LORD, do I seek.

Of course, no not-resolution would be complete without an action step, right? One of my favorite places on the internet is She Reads Truth. It's a community of women God has called to draw women into the Word and to help them to seek after the Lord. I sometimes get so caught up in the whys and hows and the "Ohmygosh I need my Bible study PENS!!!" that I suffer from analysis paralysis and I never make it into Scripture at all out of fear I will do it wrong. The ladies over at SRT have created a wonderful tool that is perfect for people like me.

On January 1st they are launching #365DaysofTruth - an initiative fueled by their website and app to walk women through the entire Bible, one day at a time. Here's how they describe it:

Our prayer for you is the same prayer we pray for ourselves, for our spouses, for our children and our friends—that, like Jesus, you would “grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)
This year, instead of resolving to finally get it right,  let’s resolve to walk with Him as He makes it right.
Instead of determining to get better,  let’s determine to get closer to Him through His Word.
Instead of making a list of all that we will do on our own, let’s notice all that He is already doing  AND LET’S JOIN HIM IN THAT.
I love this.

#365DaysofTruth will run simultaneously with the more focused studies SRT has come to be known for, including a study on the book of John that also begins on January 1st that I am looking forward to sinking my teeth into.

This is the perfect opportunity to use the resources we have at our fingertips to cultivate something with eternal significance. The other insanely cool part about this is that the She Reads Truth app is FREE and this #365DaysofTruth plan is also FREE so anyone can join in at any point and get guided into the Word of God. Think of how helpful that would be to someone seeking the Lord, asking questions, or maybe a new believer who is trying to figure out this whole "reading the Bible thing" or maybe...just maybe.....for even the more "experienced" Christian who is looking to figure out the exact same thing.

Not a New Year's resolution.
More like a change of direction.

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