Welcome to the second journal assignment for “Beyond Resolutions.” Today’s entry is all about perspective. The term “Selfie” comes to mind – so many people taking snapshots of themselves throughout the day for facebook or other social media. Today we take a look at ourselves a little more – from our own perspective, from the perspective of others, and from God’s eye view. Which mirror do you use each morning?
Verse of the Day: Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the Joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
My first child was 6 months old when I returned to church after three years of trying the “I don’t need to church to stay focused on God” journey. My life was messy. My self-esteem – small. My marriage and my lifestyle habits flip-flopped from good and respectable to risky and ridiculous.
As I watched the Praise Team sing their worship songs, I wanted to join them. They even had extended an invitation to me shortly after I arrived. I had prayed for God to lead me to a church where the arts were valued and music opportunities abounded, and here I was! But that little voice inside me said, “Really? You would stand up there and lead this congregation now? You think you’re living a good enough life for that?”
When I spoke with the pastor about this, he said something to me that has stuck with me ever since; something I have shared with others over the decades to come: just start from where you are. This simple sentence struck me as brilliant: just start from where you are. Of course!
My friends, you have no choice but to start exactly where you are today. So the obvious questions becomes….
Where are you?
JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT 1.1: Fill in the blanks below. When you are done, look back over your answers: Do any make you smile? make you cry? get you thinking? spur you to action? Record your answers and your thoughts.
Remember, this is just a start! Also, please feel free to share your responses here. We walk farther and stronger when we walk together!
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please guide every person who is embarking on this journal challenge. Help them to be open to what you would have them discover over the next 10 weeks. Keep them safe and bring them joy. In love and Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
VERSE OF THE DAY: But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Psalm 5:11
Beyond Resolutions is coming! Beyond Resolutions is coming!
Well, I don’t have a midnight rider, but I do want to shout it out: our BEYOND RESOLUTIONS Journal-Coaching Challenge begins tomorrow.
I am accepting registration through next Sunday, 1/19/14. Anyone not registered will still be able to access many of the journal prompts and blog posts here, but you will not receive the email support, personal prayer support, and activity challenges that registrants receive.
So I encourage you – SIGN UP NOW! This 10-week journal project is all for you; an opportunity for you to take some time in self-reflection, goal setting, and taking ACTION toward Growing Your Beautiful Life!
You’ve heard, I’m sure, of “the straight and narrow” – the Way of the Lord – God’s Righteous Path. How is it that, after 54 years, I am only now learning the depth of that truth and what it requires. On my own, I cannot find the One Straight Way. My feet, perhaps, are only now becoming sensitive to the solid ground of God as compared to the tempting soft soil of the world.
Where have you placed your feet? Have your soles grown thick and calloused? When is the last time you removed your shoes, closed your eyes, and trusted God completely to go before you, follow behind you, and protect you from every side, so that your path remains straight because of His knowledge and wisdom as opposed to your own?
How do we prepare the way?
As January 12 approaches (the beginning of our “BEYOND RESOLUTIONS” journal challenge), I ask all who are participating (and those who are not) to consider starting your 2014 journey, your week, even each day, with Scripture-led prayer. Only God truly knows the plans for our lives. As the Master Gardener, He created the seed which He planted in your spirit before you were born. Let’s allow Him, then, to set the paths before us. Let us seek Him and find Him, honor Him and follow Him as we grow our beautiful lives.
Below is a prayer I have written to start my days. Please feel free to use it or to write your own:
You formed me in my mother’s womb. (Jeremiah 1:5; Isaiah 44:24)
You know the plans you have for me. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
I listen Lord, that I may learn from you. (Job 34:2; Proverbs 1:5)
And I pray for guidance through your gift of discernment. (Proverbs 1:5)
Guide me along your right paths that your name would be glorified. (Psalm 23:3; John 14:13)
Guide me, Lord, and hold me fast with your right hand. (Psalm 139:10)
I commit all that I do to you, oh God,
that my plans be your plans established through me. (Proverbs 16:3)
I am your masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10) bearing fruit in every good work,
and growing in the knowledge of you! (Colossians 1:10)
Please guide me with your counsel. (Psalm 73:24)
Direct me in the path of your commands. (Psalm 119:35)
Lead me by your truth and teach me (Psalm 25:25)
that I would serve in your strength, so that in all things you may be praised
through Christ Jesus. (1 Peter 4:11)