2013 has been an interesting year….a good year and a hard year and a busy year. I have to say, I’m glad it’s behind me!
There is no telling how many miles I’ve put on my car this year….thousands for sure. I’ve been in these states in 2013: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, and Colorado. The Lord kept saying I was a ‘circuit rider’ this year with a primary route from Alabama to Georgia to Alabama to Mississippi to Alabama….over and over again!
So what’s with all the travel? Well, in the first half of the year, my brothers and I moved Mom from Texas into assisted living in Mississippi to be more centrally located for all of us. Then, I had a new grandbaby in July and my only daughter’s wedding in August. All of those events required what seemed to be constant trips to Mississippi. Then I work 4 weeks a year in Georgia plus added another week for a conference.
While for the most part, I enjoy traveling, this year has worn me out! And I’m determined 2014 is going to be different! To that end, I plan to begin the year ‘in seclusion’. That may sound funny in this day and age, but I want to ‘shut myself in’ with the Lord and I plan to do so for the entire month of January.
You see….all the activity of this past year has frustrated me because it ‘breaks the rhythm’. About the time I really begin to see the Lord and me making some steady, daily progress in one area or the other, I’d have to stop and take another trip. That would ‘break the flow’ and when I’d get back, it would take a day or two to get back in the rhythm. And then another trip would be upon me. So while there were some periods of good growth, I feel the travel hindered my relationship with Him. Were these good things I was involved in? Of course! And yes…this is life. I’ve ‘rolled with the flow’ for the year, but now I want to determine, to the best of my ability, to make 2014 a year of ‘pressing in’.
I want to know Him more, love Him more, and understand more of His plan and will for me in 2014. I want Him to order my days….even when it doesn’t make those around me happy, because I want my first priority to be honoring and obeying Him! These are not just words to me, but are the cry of my heart.
So why am I blogging about this? Because I’ve noticed something this year that was probably revealed to me only by my busy schedule and frustration of not having the time with Jesus I wanted to have.
It seems to me holidays, or ‘holy days’ for the Christian church, break the rhythm. They seem to break momentum or a ‘forward flow’. I was sitting in church for a Christmas Eve service in north Mississippi (traveling again!) and it hit me like a ton of bricks. We lose a good 6 weeks a year (Thanksgiving to Christmas) by stopping whatever is going on in our spiritual walk to focus on these holidays. Then about the time the church gets back ‘in rhythm’ we stop again to focus on Easter. Then we stop for summer. Yes, you know you’ve seen it….churches go into ‘vacation mode’ for the summer. And again, momentum is lost.
My dad was a pastor who used to tell me he quit having revivals at our church because it would break the momentum and halt forward progress. Now revivals are good things, aren’t they? But they stopped the current work in our church. Now some churches, I admit, don’t have anything to stop and are in desperate need of a revival. However, having one is not a ‘one size fits all’ formula. When God is alive and moving in a church, that may not be the best alternative because everyone else is doing it (at least annual revivals used to be the norm back in the day he told me this.)
All of this is my roundabout way of saying, “Do you ever stop to think why we do the things we do?” Christmas is ‘big business’ in the secular world, but it’s also ‘big business’ in the religious world. Do we need to honor the birth of Jesus? Absolutely. But does it need to be a month of celebration? Personally I don’t think so. Why? Because if there is a flow, it stops it. And the fact is, we should be celebrating His birth every day, and His death, and His resurrection….as well as His power and majesty and glory and all the other attributes that make Him worthy of our praise!!!
I’m determined in 2014 I want to live my life more focused, more committed, and more aware of the ‘good things’ that come my way that are not the ‘best things’. I want to think, and think hard, about ‘why we do the things we do’ and break out of anything that hinders my walk with Him. I can’t wait to see what He has for me this year and in the years to come. Because life with Jesus is a grand adventure…and the more of me He has, the more exciting it gets!
2014….here I come!!!