I know that it has been a little while since I posted. I’ve started writing several times, but I haven’t been able to organize my thoughts.
The semester is starting to feel long. I’ve been sick. I know change is coming, and I feel anxious about what will happen. The weather is getting colder. Night lasts longer.
In a word – BLAH.
I spend some time yesterday refocusing myself. Sometimes, I think we (I) get overwhelmed because we to try DO and BE too much. In those moments, I believe it is beneficial to stop and recalibrate. Who is God? Who am I? What is my purpose? What is my passion? How do I use my passion to achieve that purpose? Five simple questions that help me remove the clutter from my mind and focus on what is truly important.
Honestly, I have a better understanding of who God is and who He has made me be than I ever have had in my life. While I don’t know all the details of how my life will go, I have a good sense of what direction I’m moving in, and I’m making progress towards my goal (slow pace- it’s hard to walk in heels sometimes).
Why such a funk then? I mean, yes, there are a lot of variables and unknowns right now, but most of those unknowns are exciting, and I have a growing sense of peace for the other uncertainties in front of me.
The truth is, I haven’t been studying God’s Word as consistently recently, and I definitely haven’t been praying as often or as intentionally as I need to. While I haven’t ‘stumbled’ in a ‘major’ way, I also haven’t been consistent in my pursuit of a deeper relationship with God – a closeness that goes beyond knowledge of His attributes. I’m not rebellious or dismissive, but I’m also not being purposeful. Ultimately, the relational consequences of being rebellious and being thoughtless are the same – disconnection.
In typical “me” fashion, the initial reaction was grandiose and, ultimately, unobtainable. (“I’m going to get up earlier and spend a full thirty minutes in silent, dedicated prayer every morning, no matter what. And I’m going to block off a solid hour in the afternoon to do nothing but study God’s Word. I’m going to schedule every minute of my day to ensure that nothing distracts me from these two goals.”)
Don’t get me wrong – I would love to be that girl. Maybe some of you are that girl. Great job! I truly envy you.
But I don’t do mornings well, so getting up 30 minutes earlier would last all of a week, and then I would hit the snooze too many times, and beat myself up ALL DAY LONG for the failure.
Having a solid hour block of time to do nothing but study every afternoon is a goal that I love, but some days I grade papers until 5, stop to eat dinner, and then grade papers again. (Because the papers never stop.) Some days, I need time with a friend, catching up over coffee, or a walk outside when the weather permits.
In short, I’m great at the over the top, fix everything immediately, ideas. I am terrible at the follow-through. And I’m easily wearied by the guilt of failing.
I need a new approach. I need to start small, with a manageable goal.
I’m going to read a chapter a day of the book “30 Days to Becoming a Woman of Prayer” by Stormie Omartian, using it as a guide for praying that day. I’m also going to keep a list of prayer requests on my phone with occasional reminders to pray for specific things. And I’m going to keep the rest of my schedule the same.
Thirty days, 1 chapter a day (with a time of prayer focused on that chapter’s content), and reminders to say short, specific prayers for specific situations throughout the day. When I reach the end of the 30 days, I’ll add a new goal.
Consistency, persistence, and determination. Small steps towards life long change. The goal is not perfection, and the goal is not immediate transformation. The goal is steady progress towards holiness — one step at a time.
I’m going to say that again, because I need that reminder constantly: The goal is not perfection. The goal is steady progress towards holiness.
I know that reading a certain amount or spending a certain amount of time doesn’t equal spiritual growth in and of itself. But if we are going to be intentional about a growing, deepening relationship with Christ, we have to start with achievable, measurable goals.
This is my new starting point. What’s yours?