You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand supported me,
and your gentleness made me great.
You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip.
Psalm 18:35-37 (ESV)
Balance. That is my word for this year. But before we go too much further into it, let me give you some background. A little over a year ago, I learned about the practice of asking God for a word about the coming year. Think of it like a theme that the Lord gives one to focus on for the next 12 months. So, a couple of weeks ago, I began praying, listening and waiting for God to respond. Last year the word was “conditioning”. I was really excited about that word. I had a desire to get my body in shape. I wanted to restart my learning of the Classics (think Latin), as well as be more intentional about my time with God. The year began and I started out strong. I was strict about my diet and exercise. I was consistent about my daily bible reading and quiet times. Things were going great!
However, as the year worn on, I began to lose steam. I began skipping the gym days. I was less diligent about what I was eating. I chose distractions (read here: online games, social media, etc.) instead of reading God’s Word. By the end of the year, I was far from where I wanted to be and definitely far from where I expected to be. As I look back on it, sure, I’m disappointed. After all, I want to be successful. God knows my desires. He has a plan. I believe that’s why He is bringing me back to the concept of conditioning, but this time with a bit more focus. Hence the word, Balance.
My problem is trying to do too much too quickly. I get this idea or goal and I just want to go full steam ahead and get there. I’m driven and I’m focused. I have no problem visualizing the end goal. I can see it plainly. It’s just in the execution and completion where I lack the success. Maybe you’re in the same boat? Do you struggle with meeting your goals? Are you frustrated with your lack of success? Unfortunately, I don’t have 4 easy steps to give you but I can share with you my plan for this year.
I will do a little of each goal every day. Sounds simple, right? Morgan Snyder (www.becomegoodsoil.com) uses the phrase “Live in the day. Measure in the decade.” I love that phrase because it really speaks directly to the impatient and frustrated parts of my heart. Think about it: Real change, deep change, meaningful and everlasting change takes time. That means it also takes patience and perseverance. This is true for our individual lives and for our marriage.
The good news is that God is a great encourager. He’ll never leave when the going gets tough. He won’t throw up His hands in frustration and call you names when you screw it up. Instead, He promises to comfort us with the true and real comfort that can only come from Him. He promises to steady us and give us shelter and strength when the storms come and believe me, they will come. He will speak love and call you by name, your true name. The name He alone has given you (if you have questions about this, feel free to ask me). He will lift up your head and lead you into the land He has prepared. All we have to do is follow.
That’s the part that is really important. It requires action on our part. We have to decide what is important to us and then spend the time and energy required of us in order to fulfill and complete it. That’s my plan for this year. I’m going to get there a little closer each day and my Father will be with me - every step of the way.