Monday, January 11, 2016

What Fires You Up?

I bought a beautiful new calendar.
I have my favorite planner.
I found a fresh new journal to keep my prayers and thoughts recorded in.

I picked my One Word.

A word like flourish has beautiful meaning that seems to need a long list of things-to-do for it to become a reality.

It is a word that needs some plans to go bigger and move faster. Strategies to do more. (Ughhhhh!)

Lara Casey is a smart one. In her planners, she poses this question: What did not work last year?

It didn’t take long for a list to start forming.

Maybe it's upside down goals setting. What I know is that I had to identify them to realize that I do them. 

So. here is the short version of 4 things not on my to-do list for 2016.

Overcommitting. No doubt. I am a yes person. I adore the word yes and want to be known as someone who had a yes in her spirit. This can be a problem since I'm easily distracted and often times too willing to be the answer to others little emergencies. Last year, my yes was given away in so many places that I neglected some of my most important relationships. I love to be flexible and available, but I need to be prayerful and wise about what I do. Sometimes I have to say no, so I can say yes.

Comparison.  When I read a bio or intro on a blog, or on the inside of a book,  it is often overwhelming to me just how beautiful, talented and young people everywhere are. And it seems like maybe their stories and lives are so interesting and compelling. Their words fresh and fun. And while that may all be true, if I'm not careful I fall into the trap of comparing what God has given me to do what others are doing. That focus does not honor God. Not only does comparison still my joy.... it steals everything. It's not how the Lord thinks. SO!  "I will hold myself (and others) to a standard of grace, not perfection."

Big Things.  Bigger is not necessarily bigger. More does not always equal more. This is the deal. I honestly think that small things are what I am to be faithful in 2016. One day at a time. All around me are quotes such as "If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough," or  "Do big things for God!"  I've bought into this thinking before and it usually is more about me than what I'm doing for God. And He doesn't need me to do big things for Him. He is already big and only needs me to take small, faithful, obedient, steps today. That is really all I can handle. I want to be content doing more of what is unseen and unnoticed. And do those things with great love.

Prayerlessness. Last year, through a series of small steps, I was in the Word and journaled prayers and insight for the last 120 days of 2015. It wasn't planned, but as I became committed to the time, it became one of the most life-giving things I've done. It brought new passion, to my time in the Word and my prayer life. This energy can't be manufactured. It's a gift and by-product of spending time with God. As I look around at the piles of random bits of paper and notebooks with only a few pages of prayers sprinkled around, I'm sad that I've spent years not praying as I should.

Now those are a few things that kept me from having a thriving life.

Another question Lara, asks is, “What fires you up?

In the past, I've tried to attach my interests and commitments to that question. Certainly there are many things I love spending time doing. Things I love to do and plans that have found a home in the very fiber of my being. But the thing I often neglect and push past on the way to the other noise in the world, was my quiet time.

The final 120 days of 2015 taught me that spending time in the Word and in prayer is the thing that burns like a fire in my soul. That is what truly fires me up.

As I lean in close to hear what He has to say, it's a slow exhaling of expectations and fear while inhaling His complete grace.

His letter of love waits to speak to the deepest part of a soul. In that quiet place, a heart can pour out all that has been making it race ahead or skip a beat. This is the only place I know to be filled with the words of peace that come from the Prince of Peace. The God who created the universe will not disappoint anyone who earnestly seek an audience with Him.

Between the pages of Genesis and Revelations, is where I can find words of truth to discern the depravity of my own heart. Never in condemnation, but for restoration.

Only in this place, can I sense what God is saying and where He is working. Then I know where I can join Him.

That time is what stokes the burning embers which ignite all the other things that I want to flourish in my life.

What things didn't work for you last year?

What things are like a fire in your soul? 


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© Rhonda Quaney