I love the beginning of a new year. A new calendar. A new blank slate full of dreams and possibilities. I love the nostalgia of looking back on the previous year and I get giddy with the excitement as I envision what the next twelve months might bring.
I also love seeing the enthusiasm of people as they share their heart about their dreams for the new year. Some want a new family member. Some want to exercise more. Some want to cut out processed food. Some want to find more balance in life. Some want to start a new adventure. Resolutions. Dreams. Goals. Call them what you will, but they are all new beginnings. And thankfully, we have a God who, in His grace and love, is all about new beginnings.
As you write your shopping list for healthy food and as you break in your gym membership and as you declutter that first room in your home, let me encourage you in this:
Make the most important resolution first.
And what's that?
Be in the Word.
I can't emphasize it enough. You need the Word. You need it more than you need more money, more things, more time, more balance, more fitness, more health, more kids, more books, more home, more anything.
You need more of the Word.
I remember one time talking with someone. She was sharing about how she wanted to hear from God more and we were discussing how we can know God's voice. It was an interesting and fruitful discussion. I, too, long to hear God's voice in my life. However, a while later, after the topic had changed, she said something that almost jolted me out of my seat. She said, "I haven't read my Bible in months."
Well, it's no wonder. How can we expect to hear God's voice in amazing ways when the first and most basic way He has chosen to speak to us goes ignored?
Can you really say that you want to follow God's will for your life if you aren't actively seeking His Word? Can you really say you are seeking to know Him more if your Bible is gathering dust? Can you truly believe that you can chase your dreams and will have God's blessing when you intentionally ignore His voice?
Believe me. I say this love. I say this in understanding. I spent many, many years of my life without my daily bread. I was seeking God, praying, wanting to serve, asking Him about His purpose for my life, dreaming big dreams...all without nourishing my soul in His word. How foolish I was.
You can read my story here. It's been two years since I shared it, and I wouldn't change a word.
You can read another pleading — especially for mamas — here.
And here I am, at the beginning of a new year, begging once again: oh won't you please spend time in the Word?
My heart grieves, truly grieves. There are so many amazing women out there wanting — longing — to do great things for God. They want to be better mamas. They want to be better wives. They want to be better friends, neighbors, daughters, and church members. They want to do great things for God. Their heart truly longs for all of this, but time and time again they find themselves spinning their wheels (I know, because I did it for many years). They are wondering why their heartfelt pleas and desires are getting them nowhere.
It's hard to get far when you are walking in darkness.
My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the Lord And discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones. Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity and every good course. For wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you. Proverbs 2:1-11
So before you start to follow through on any resolutions, can you please make this one first? Can you please figure out how to gather your manna every day? Will you please choose this above all others?
Wouldn't you love to get to the end of 2014 and be able to honestly say, "I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread." (Job 23:12).
Nothing will change your life more. Nothing has changed my life more than the past two and a half years of daily intake of His Word. I am a different person. I am a different wife. A different mother. A different friend. A different daughter. A different sister. I have a long way to go, but I am so far from where I was.
Choose this today.
And tomorrow, in case it helps someone out there, I will share what my Bible time looks like. I know that choosing where to begin is sometimes half the battle.