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And while we never know ahead of time exactly what a New Year will bring with it, we always can know for certain that it will bring GOD with it. He is really the only constant in our lives; He never changes, and can never be taken away from us. So, it does seem that my main focus should be this One, this never-changing One, this always-present One, the One who will be by our side throughout every day, every moment of an unknown New Year. And not just passively with us, but with us in an active way ... loving us, holding us, guiding us. This is what we are made for ... to be His, and to be loved by Him. I want to be in connection with this One, to look at things from His perspective, to learn more of His heart. And what will it take for me to grow closer in connection with this One?
So if I were to pick a theme or a word for this coming year to focus on ... I would pick this word:
I want to learn in a deeper way this year, to Listen ...
To really listen to God ... to quiet my heart and my mind, and to intently listen to Him. As I read His Word each day, not to just assume I know what He is saying, but to slow down, and listen. As I talk with Him ... not to just have one-sided conversations, but to be quiet, to listen to what He might want to say to me. To pause and listen more to the little nudges from His Spirit living inside ... to be alert and hear things He wants to bring to my attention all through the day. I need to slow my rushing around, and quiet my heart in order to hear His gentle whisperings.
And also with my precious family, I want to learn to listen more ... to my husband, my children, and grandchildren. To really hear what their hearts are saying. I know that I do try to listen, but often my mind is focused on the next thing I need to do, the next words I will say ... and I know that I miss some treasures that need to be heard.
And to love and really listen to others ... friends, even strangers. Everyone longs to be listened to, to be understood, to be loved. I know that God's Spirit in us longs to love others through us, if only we will open up our hearts to really listen.
Although I am choosing first of all, the word listen, there are also two more words that call for my attention at this start of a New Year:
One is ... to Pray.
Several books and studies this past year have awakened me to realize that I need to be schooled more in prayer. If prayer is what brings God's will from heaven to our earth ... if He tells us to pray without ceasing ... if prayer is actually communicating with our Creator, our Maker ... then why is it the one thing that is so often neglected? Prayer is not an activity, it is a relationship ... it is constant dialogue.
And I am asking God to teach me more about intercessory prayer, giving of my time and my energy to pray for others, to bear their burdens, to bring their needs before a loving God. There are so many concerns as we enter a New Year (so many things we could worry about), and as I listen as I read, I will see that I am not to worry, but instead, am to pray. And as I already read very early in this new year, in the first moments of this year 2011 ... "The more distinctly we ask for spiritual things, which we know God alone can bestow, the more direct and urgent will be our appeal to God alone. The more impossible the things seem that we seek, the more we will turn from all human sources to prayer and to God alone." (Andrew Murray)
I want this year to be a year where I learn more of prayer ... more depending on God alone. And as I continually take time to listen with my heart, I will hear God's call to pray.
And I cannot leave out this word for the New Year ... Courage.
The courage to follow what we hear Him say when we listen, the courage to persevere in praying when the answers are not immediately visible. The courage to trust in difficult circumstances, to hold on in faith when times are hard.
Even the courage to follow Him with this blog place. Taking little steps, following ... trusting, and finding joy in the following. But always there must be courage to take the steps.
Some good advice ... to pause, take some time, and think about the things that pull on our hearts as we step into a New Year. I am looking forward with excitement and anticipation to all that I will hear as I listen and follow Him through my days in this year 2011!
Linked to Walk with Him Wednesdays, Women Living Well, Faith Barista