Hey, y’all! It’s been a while. I’ve missed you! It’s been a busy season with church and family stuff, but I couldn’t let 2017 pass by without chatting with you guys one last time.
Like I’ve said before, I’m not necessarily a New Year’s Resolution person, but I do find myself reflecting at the end of the year as I formulate plans for the next. In 2018, I want to give up some things that I’ve come to discover are overrated — things I’ve made a bigger deal out of than necessary in a way that’s not serving me well.
Personally, I’m pretty tired of having the ability to do things and for one reason or another, not getting them done. That’s all potential is, isn’t it? It just means you haven’t done it yet. Yet it seems that as a society, we hold potential, the idea of being capable of something without actually executing it, in such high esteem. It’s kind of strange if you think about it. In 2018, I want to strive to replace potential with execution.
What do you have the potential to do in 2018? We’ve all got potential for something. What is God leading you to do with it? What steps will you take to realize your potential?
This is a personal struggle of mine. I’ve found it’s often one of the biggest enemies of getting things done because I’m so preoccupied with having everything “just so.” Since only God Himself is perfect, I want to trade in my obsession with perfection for the pursuit of excellence.
What does the pursuit of excellence look like for you in 2018 and beyond?
As much as I don’t want to admit it, this is a hard one for me. In 2018, I will be asking God to help me shake this one off. For me, it centers on this ongoing search for value and worth. As if the value God assigned to me in His Word needs to be supplemented (of course it does not), I find myself looking for validation from what others say and think.
It’s kind of like collecting scraps of litter, hoping that I can collect enough pieces to construct a halfway decent self-image. Since people’s outlooks and opinions change at will (have you noticed that?), it’s such a rocky, volatile and unstable lens through which to see yourself. But I’ve been doing it since I was a kid, so it’s hard.
In 2018, I want to more quickly recognize the thoughts that lead me down the road of people pleasing and meditate more readily on my identity in Christ.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, – 2 Corinthians 10:5
What lens do you use to derive your identity?
Have you learned to lay popular opinion down at the feet of Jesus?
At the same time, there are other aspects of my life which should be getting major airtime, yet I’ve downplayed their significance. In the coming year, I want to play up:
Now don’t get me wrong. I pray. But too often, I find myself just going through the motions, droning on and on, out of ritual and duty more than anything else.
There is a certain sense of duty we have in nurturing our relationship with God, but what I’m after is the next level, the one that extends beyond moral obligation and rote religion.
The kind of experience with God where I’m talking less and listening more. Where I don’t feel pressure to do a certain thing or pray a certain way, but freedom to do whatever He leads me to do. Where I’m expecting answers and clear direction from God and becoming increasingly aware of His still small voice.
What does a next level prayer life look like for you?
I find that the inner peace that only God can give is undervalued and sometimes just flat out dismissed. I think God speaks to us so often by taking away peace and replacing it with a sense of uneasiness, yet we ignore it and pass on anyway. We enter into relationships without peace. We make major purchases and life decisions without peace. We navigate our careers, our families and our finances without peace, all the while wondering why God won’t tell us what do like we asked Him.
In 2018, I want to pay much more attention to the presence of inner peace, or lack thereof, so much so that I’m willing to pause, wait or change direction in order to find it.
In this season of your life, how is God leading and directing you through the presence or absence of inner peace?
I’ve noticed that the most Christ-like person in the room is often the most patient person in the room. Patience is often a clear indication of a person that is yielded to the Spirit of God.
The one who remains calm and collected in the long line at the airport, or resists the urge to give a cranky co-worker a well-deserved tongue thrashing, or shows enough restraint to save money instead of buying impulsively is likely the one seeing God work in and through their life.
I admire patient people and, on occasion, I’m one of them. But I’ve also figured I could freely choose between patience and impatience whenever I wanted. But what I didn’t want to own up to is that to choose impatience is to choose sin.
In 2018, I want to more fully embrace a heart of patience as God’s will for my life, whether it’s with family, friends, or the major and minor annoyances and inconveniences that life brings us all.
As I’m praying and looking closely for God’s peace, I believe He will allow the fruit of patience to manifest in my life. See what I did there? 😉
What fruit of the Spirit are you trusting God to manifest in your life in 2018?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23
What’s on your overrated/underrated list?
From all of us at When the Gals Gather, Happy New Year! Thank you for taking this journey with us. See you in 2018! We’ve got some exciting things in store.