I’m joining the Five Minute Friday word prompt for this week and today’s prompt is the word “simplify”. This should be fun, because my life is anything but simple!
It’s at this point in the year where we start to struggle with the New Years resolutions that we have made, especially if we have made unrealistic ones. I decided not to do one this year, and I’m so pleased that I didn’t. I get too bogged down with feelings of guilt when I realise I can’t carry on with resolutions I have made.
I’ve decided I’m not going to make a New Years resolution this year. Usually I would think of something that would help me in my faith – the obvious resolution being “read my Bible every day”. What’s the point though? I never get past day 4 or 5! It should be “read my Bible at least once a week”. I might just manage that!
Anyway, I’m not going to make a resolution only to be miffed that I break it in just under a week, and then wait another year before I make the same resolution again. I know that I probably could just start again the same day I think about it, but as a perfectionist this wouldn’t feel right. I can only start it on 1st of January! (I know, it’s a little ridiculous, but hands up if you feel the same?)
Last year I thought about choosing a word that would help me to live through the year – something to reflect on which would keep me centred, and also help my faith at the same time. I chose the word ‘Love’. I didn’t look for any signs from God to see if this was the right word for me, nor did I pray about it. I just chose something that I thought would be right with what I was going through in that moment. (You see, I didn’t really love myself very much, so I thought if I chose the word ‘Love’ something might happen).
Over the first few weeks though, another word kept popping into my head and I kept hearing the same Bible reading through various people…
The Lord God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; In His love He will no longer rebuke you but rejoice over you with singing.
My word then changed from ‘love’ to ‘accept’ and throughout the year I had constant reminders of how God accepts me for who I am despite what I have been through.
I have thought a little bit more intently on my chosen word for this year. I’ve even prayed about it! It’s been a word that has been constant throughout the advent period and one that has stayed with me into the New Year. ..
This word is going to keep me anchored in the truth that God is in the midst of everything that I encounter. I need to remember…
…He is in the centre of it all…
…He is in the deepest depths of my despair…
…He is at the heart of every hurt…
…When I am in the thick of it, He will be right there.
As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!
I will not be afraid knowing that God is in the midst of everything I do. Guess what? You don’t need to be afraid either!
Is there a word that resonates with you that could give you a focus or help you centre your life?
Lord, as I go through my days, help me to remember that you are in the midst of everything that I do. You are especially in everything that happens around me – every situation that I encounter. I thank you and I praise you for this truth. May I never forget this. Amen
In a season where I wanted to prepare my heart during advent, I found myself cluttering my soul.
Where I wanted to create an anticipation about Christmas, I created disorder and chaos with the mountain of things that needed doing…and it all nearly came crashing down.
Where I wanted to find truth in this season, I found I was deceiving myself by filling up my precious time with things that could have waited.
Tomorrow is Christmas Day! This may fill you with dread at the thought that there is still lots to do. I’m at the point, for the first time since forever, that every present is wrapped, the turkey has been cooked…and carved…and I’ve sat down to have a glass of wine before going out to midnight mass at my church. I’m usually up until 3am still wrapping presents!
After all the hype of trying to prepare everything for Christmas, I struggled to prepare what I needed to most of all…my heart. This morning, part of me thought that it’s too late to do it now. I mean, it’s now the 24th December and I’ve had all this time to prepare myself for Jesus and I’ve failed.
Shall I let you into a secret though? I had a bit of a lightbulb moment when I was wallowing in this self pity of not preparing myself enough.
It is NEVER too late to prepare your heart to receive Jesus. It doesn’t even have to be advent…or Christmas Day. You can prepare your heart anytime…and you don’t need smelly candles or books (although they are nice). All you need is you.
God is near to us, folks. He is here in our midst. All we need to do is be present.
1 Timothy 1 15-16
The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life.
Something to think about…
How can you make sure that you are present as God is in your midst?
Lord, as we rush around this season preparing for what is to come, soften our hearts so that we will receive what you have for us. Jesus Christ, born as a baby into a world full of messes. You are here with us now in the midst of our messes. Let us have our hearts open to receive you. Amen
It’s come to the time of time of year where we start to think about the different traditions we do when celebrating Christmas. Something which is familiar to us that we have always done. Maybe it is a particular decoration that is hung in a certain place in the home, or the type of food we eat.
I love to go to the midnight service with my husband at our church on Christmas Eve, something we do every year and is now very familiar to us. This is always then followed by the mad dash of getting the remainder of the Christmas presents wrapped before we go to bed, with a glass (or two) of sherry on the side for help. This is something else that is very familiar, but we try and change it each year (and I’m referring to wrapping the presents really late – not the sherry drinking!)
~oOo STOP oOo~
Familiarity brings about a sense of security. It’s about knowing who we are and where we have come from. It’s comforting. When people lose familiarity, they sometimes also lose a sense of identity and control.
I struggle with this time of year because of the familiar stress Christmas brings (and I’ve gone and done it big time this year with extra EXTRA things going on). I am finding that the familiar stress that Christmas brings is what causes me to lose my identity and control.
However, over the last year or so I’ve had a longing to make things different. Something special. I have needed something to focus on to slow me down in this hectic period to get me focused on what is the most familiar reason for this season.
Maybe you feel this too?
So, to overcome this familiar stress, I am creating a new familiarity to be intentional about focusing on the real reason for this Season. After all, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas if it wasn’t for One person…Jesus!
Somehow, this kind of gets forgotten in all the hustle and bustle of organising and preparing for the big day. I’ll admit that myself too, that I am too busy wondering what presents I need to buy and who am I going to send cards to. I forget, momentarily, that we celebrate Jesus coming to this world.
I want to change that.
I’m still going to buy the presents and write those cards, but what I need to prepare most is my heart.
To slow myself down and create a new familiarity – one that will prepare my heart – I am going to be reading “Come, Lord Jesus” by Kris Camealy. This is a very timely book that is much needed for anyone who is in a “waiting” period, and also for anyone who wants to prepare their hearts over the advent period.
And what is better still, Kris is hosting a book club for her book where we can gather together with other like minded people who want to be intentional about preparing for Christmas.
Stand in silence in the presence of the Sovereign LORD, for the awesome day of the LORD’s judgment is near. The LORD has prepared his people for a great slaughter and has chosen their executioners.
We live in a world filled with noise from the moment the alarm wakes us up in the morning with that irritating ring tone, to the kids screaming and shouting at each other about who got dressed first!
We leave the noise behind in the house only to be greeted by the hum of the traffic on the roads of people rushing to work. We switch on the radio to fill the void of emptiness in the car, only to be met with the noise of the world in the news.
When at work we are then bombarded with the noise of busyness around us…phones ringing…typing on keyboards…radios blaring in the background…machines turning away to produce things, as well as the noise. Noise is never ending!
I often pray to God in the midst of my noise to help me, but often I am confronted with noise inside my head and I end up hearing nothing. I think God is silent and He doesn’t want to speak to me.
When times get really hectic and the noise around me, and in me, gets too much I know it’s time to be in silence.
I take myself outside and go somewhere for five minutes to a place I know will be still. It’s only when I am alone with Him in the silence do I then hear Him the loudest.
I don’t need to shout above all the noise to be heard by God. God hears the faintest whisper of my heart. He hears yours too.
Why not take yourself out to be in silence. You might just be amazed at how loud God speaks in that moment.