Friday, 30 December 2016

Do You Get the Feeling You've Been Here Before?


“Don’t come down! I can do it by myself!” my excited student calls up to me.

I cringe. Where have I heard those words before?

In the high-shrieked cry of a strong-willed two-year old.

In the defiant stance of a semi-independent teenager.

And in the self-assured proclamation of so many of us who confidently rely on our own strength, wisdom and ability.

It seems we never tire of believing ‘we can do it all on our own’.

As you look back over 2016, and prepare for the New Year ahead, do you get the feeling that you’ve been here before?


I certainly do.

I’ve been there... making the same mistake over and over. Busily setting my goals and launching ahead – strong-willed and hardheaded – confident that I can do it all by myself.

But, inevitably, as I stand on the brink of a New Year and look back, my eyes and heart are drawn to the wreck - the pile up of frustrations, fears and failures – all brought on by my failure to stop, listen and learn.

You know what I’m talking about. Those areas of our lives where we felt sure we knew what we were doing... had it all worked out... but instead ran headlong into a series of problems. Problems we just didn’t know, and still don’t know, how to fix.

But this year, we tell ourselves, it will be different. We’ll plan it better this time. We won’t make the same mistakes again.

I wonder how many more times must we repeat the same cycle before we understand the benefits of admitting our need for help.

I think of Jesus as He approaches Jerusalem that final time. As the crowd rejoiced around Him, Jesus wept bitterly and lamented:
"If only you, even you, had known on this day what would bring you peace!”   Luke 19:42a
What about us? As we plan for the New Year ahead, do we know what would bring us peace? Or are we blinded like the ancient people of Jerusalem?

I think about my relationship with my Father in heaven. I think about how many times He tries to teach me, to show me the way I should go, to give me His peace. And about how many times I am unwilling to learn... to receive what He offers.

I remember the days when I saw God as a hovering schoolmaster waiting to point out where I went wrong - standing over me with stick in hand threatening to dole out the punishment I deserved.  Thankfully, I no longer see Him that way. I now know that He is a loving parent tenderly guiding me through the school of life.

But still, there are times I refuse to humble myself and sit at his feet. I refuse to be guided.

There’s no sugarcoating the truth. It all comes down to pride.

It’s a constant battle - the struggle between my will and His.

But I’m learning. Learning how to quiet my mind, focus my attention on Jesus and humble my heart.  Learning how to learn.

He promises me it would be easier... easier than trying to do it all on my own.
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:29-30
 
So, as I stand on the brink of 2017, I am refusing to make the same mistake. I'm stepping into the New Year with no elaborate plan, just a simple desire to sit at His feet. 

This year, I am willing to be teachable.

As each new day unfolds, I am willing to lay aside my plans, goals and aspirations and to simply stop at Jesus’ feet to listen and learn. In Robert Morgan’s inspiring book – Mastering Life Before It’s Too Late, I discovered a simple yet profound idea with which to start each day... even the busy, crazy ones. Morgan suggests starting out small - just 15 minutes of each 24-hour day - five minutes to read the Bible, five minutes to pray and five minutes to plan my day. Doesn't sound like much, but as we meet faithfully with God, He causes that tiny seed to grow and flourish.

I also prepared a prayer box – a simple homemade treasury – designed to be filled with the outpourings of my heart – my prayers and praises. I don’t yet know how God intends for me to use it fully, but my heart’s desire is to fill it with prayers I offer along the way – prayers from scripture, promised prayers that I would otherwise forget to pray, photos of loved ones I’m praying for etc. etc.

I’m not na├»ve. I know it will not be perfectly done. I know my foolish pride will raise its ugly head and try to convince me that I can run ahead with my day and do it my way. I know there’ll be times I fall.  Times I forget about my prayer box.

But God has promised, and I am willing.  

I don’t know about you, but when I sit at the feet of the Master Teacher – the very same One who knitted me together in my mother's womb, who records each day of my life before a single one has passed, and whose thoughts are precious towards me – I feel a little bit scared, a whole lot excited and super hopeful.  I can't wait to see what rewards He has in store for me as I humbly submit to His will. 

So, even though I feel like I’ve been here before – I haven’t. But God has.

It's a whole new day - one that I haven’t seen before, but God knows the way. And this New Year my simple desire is to be led by Him day by day, moment by moment.

What about you?

Are you teachable? 
Willing to admit your need for help? 
Willing to stop, listen and learn?
Or can you do it all by yourself? 
God is willing to guide you - Are you willing to learn?

Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come. Jeremiah 33:3
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Also linking up with these amazing sites today: Testimony Tuesday and Tuesday Talk

9 comments:

  1. I absolutely love this... no elaborate plan, just God. Plain and simple.
    You spoke to my heart with this one, Carlie as I too can reflect and see a pile of rubble. And the unseen, unrealised dreams that if only I were willing and obedient might be mine to savour now. But God knows and He offers grace. How sweet that is!
    Thank you, my sister. You are a blessing!

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    1. Thanks so much, Marv! So grateful for grace and the patience of God! Warm hugs and sweet blessings, my sister!

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  3. "just a simple desire to sit at His feet." That's a great plan! I think a lot of people don't understand this. I didn't at one time.
    We've got almost a whole year of days ahead of us, if by God's grace He allows us to live them on this earth, and yes, "God knows the way".
    Praying He will help us both seek His guidance daily through this new year.

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    1. Thanks, my friend! I'm praying for you, as well; it's so easy to get sidetracked. Blessings on your journey!

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  4. So lovely... I can't tell you how much starting the day with the Lord has changed me for the better and what started with 15 minutes grew to 30 and 45.... God is so good and will lay out the right plan for us if we just look to Him first.

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    1. Thanks, Heather! I can sit for hours somedays, but I'm trying to at least have 15 minutes ALL mornings. Already I can see how God is rewarding that. Thanks for the encouragement!

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  5. Preach!! "Though many are the plans in a man's heart, the Lord establishes his steps..." Trying to abide in Him more and learn from His easy yoke and light burden. Well said, and it couldn't relate more to what He's been placing on my heart! Thank you so much for sharing this :)

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    1. Glad to know we're on the same path, Magdalene! Thanks so much for your visit and your sweet encouragement! Blessings!

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