I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions. Never much cared for them. It probably stems from the fact that most of my resolutions have something to do with weight loss or exercise and let’s just be real here…..I am woefully lacking in those areas. Therefore, I end up breaking them and feeling terrible about myself. What an awful way to start a new year, right? However, I am pretty good at keeping promises to other people. In fact, my kids will tell you that if momma promises you’ll get punished for something, you ARE going to get punished. So that got me to thinking maybe I should make a promise to Jesus to write more about what he’s prompting me to on a more regular basis, because if I resolve it to him, I know I’ll keep it. That’s how this blog got started! I kept feeling him pushing me every time I prayed. Tell other people all about me. And I couldn’t seem to get the words right in person so I started putting them down in a journal. Then, my husband kept saying you need to tell people about this in your blog. Well telling people your innermost thoughts about the most personal relationship in your life is amazingly overwhelming. The mere thought of it still, at times, makes me nauseous. Back then all I could worry about was “What will people think?”
You see, I never thought I’d be writing anything public about Jesus, especially something like a blog. Truthfully, if you had asked me a few years ago it would have been one of the last things I would have EVER volunteered to do. Faith, my faith, was private. Intensely private. Ridiculously private. It reached out to few and certainly didn’t fulfill the great commission. Looking back now I can see that I used my privacy as an excuse to cover up the truth. And the truth was; I was afraid. You see, I’m a people pleaser. Notice I’m using the present tense here because once you are one; it’s hard to stop being one. It is a daily battle. I wanted people to like me. I wanted people to be impressed by me. And those can be hard things to accomplish sometimes when you go around talking about Jesus all the time. Mostly because it can make other people feel uncomfortable. But here’s the weird thing, I’m the one who felt uncomfortable all the time. Like someone whose skin didn’t fit quite right. Everywhere I went, everything I did felt wrong. Every day I longed and prayed for a closer relationship with God and every day the world felt a little more like somewhere I didn’t really belong. Yet, it never occurred to me that I might have to actively do something in order to establish a stronger more real relationship God. My heart knew there was something more to this relationship with Jesus thing but my life just wasn’t matching up. I was a passive Christian, if that’s even what you could call me. I went to church, I taught Sunday school, lived a fairly good life but I wasn’t sold out to God. I believed in him but I wasn’t in love with him, he was NOT Lord of my life. And I was about as unhappy with myself as a person could get. Constantly trying to work harder, look better, make more money, etc…; and guess what? After every achievement, after every goal was met I felt better, for a little while. Then I would start feeling discontent again because I didn’t really know who I was or where I belonged. And as embarrassing as it is to say I did a lot of praying and asking God to give me “things” because I thought that would make my life better. But all I got was more stuff, more debt, and more confused. When I finally started seriously asking God to bring me closer to him, and that I was willing to do whatever it took to accomplish that, the first thing he did was get my junk out of the way. It was painful, it was serious, and it took time, but he did it; and he’s still doing it. Sometimes I went along kicking and screaming until we were about halfway through a particular separation but with his hands pushing me, I made it. It is amazing how God can break you when you ask him to. It is even more amazing when it’s over and you get the view from the mountaintop he pulled you to, and you are closer to God and so thankful. You think that was hard, that was awful, I do NOT want to do that again. But then you realize that there’s another something, another mountain of junk, another love that’s keeping you from him so you ask him to remove it and the process starts over again. And each time it hurts a little less, and you become a little stronger in your faith. You start to realize how shallow your relationship with him was and you continue to hunger for this new relationship, this new complete love with him. And you see that God really does move mountains if we let him.
The night God called us to adopt was when I realized that I didn’t just love Jesus; I was in love with him. I was sold out. That was it. Whatever he had in mind for me I was ok with it because he was in charge. I belonged to him. It took me several days to realize something else. I no longer cared what anyone else thought about our decision to adopt. If people supported us, great, if they didn’t, oh well. WHOA. For someone whose anxiety level quadrupled at the thought of what to wear to church on Sunday morning this was big stuff. But that’s the truth. I’ve found that when it comes to doing what God’s asked me to do then what other people think really isn’t as much of a problem for me anymore. And I thank God for that! I still struggle with lots of things because Satan still insists on hanging around but I’m working diligently on recognizing who he is and what he’s up to. And for the last year, part of what he’s been up to is convincing me that my writing isn’t good enough. That I’m not good enough, I mean who am I to think I can write about Jesus. You see, I have lots of journal entries. Lots. And you all have seen only a few, a very select few that I work on, study on, and research scriptures on for alternate meanings. You would think I’m writing a paper for seminary. I am so worried that something I write may have the opposite effect of my intent, which is of course, to draw people closer to God. To make them think about their relationship with Jesus. To encourage them to want more from this life than what Satan is convincing them that they need. So, I’m resolving to Jesus to share more of what he lays upon my heart. My writing may be less formal and less polished, but it will not be less real or less personal. It will always be scripture based and infused with love because that is what he has called me to do.
And I have a favor to ask of you, pray for me. You see, this writing, this opening my heart for everyone to see. It’s another one of my mountains. And I know he is breaking me of my fear and doubt. My prayer is that when he is through with me I can just as easily speak his name and tell his story as I can speak about my family. And I know he’s going to answer it. Matthew 21:22, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
What about you? What are your resolutions? Do any of them involve your God? I encourage you to think carefully about setting aside some time, even just an hour, by yourself to talk with God. Open your bible and read it. Find out where you stand with him. He is there, just waiting to be with you. But you have to want it. You have to decide that he is more important than any other thing. And be prepared to endure some pain. Anything worth having is going to cost you something. Jesus tells us in Matthew 16:24, “….if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” But if you let him, he will move your mountains too.