By Jennifer Davis Rash
It’s that time of year again — time to start fresh, set new goals, attempt to improve.
Could this be the best year yet? Or at least could I be the best me yet?
I’m sure going to give it a shot, starting with answering these questions adapted from www.ampersandphotoblog.com:
•What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
•What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your relationships this year?
•In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
•What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
•For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
•What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
•What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
•What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in 10 years? In eternity?
Working with these questions related to our relationship with God and others should help keep our focus properly aligned. It is certainly a different approach from setting goals such as adapting a proper eating plan, exercising more and kicking bad habits. Those are good goals to have and most of us should still try to achieve them, but think about the true joy we could experience and impact we might have by primarily focusing on our relationship with God and others. What if we really could take all of our spiritual disciplines to new levels?
What is the spiritual discipline I want to make the most progress in this year? Prayer.
What am I going to do about it? Practice it more, read about it more and seek God’s direction through His Word.
I’m a doer naturally. When I see a need, I take care of it — whether it’s my responsibility or not. I enjoy helping others and serving in areas that are sometimes neglected.
I’m also a problem-solver. If something needs taken care of, then I’m your gal. I rarely hesitate. I simply take care of it.
Could be annoying
I’m also full of ideas — to an annoying level sometimes. Inviting me to a brainstorming session will guarantee lots of ideas floating around, but it also may mean that I’ll just go ahead and solve the problem while we are sitting there, thus leaving no reason to review the list of ideas.
Sure this helps account for my need for efficiency and means I am a really hard worker, but as one of my mentors frequently reminds me: “strength overdone becomes weakness.”
Spending time in prayer and seeking God’s direction about the issue before me is where I need to improve. It’s too easy for me to make the decision quickly and go with it.
One particular area in front of me is how I can be a better church member and help our church leaders make some important decisions that lie ahead of us.
Some of the moves that need to be made are obvious, but others are not.
How can we as a church family grow and develop in the best way to help our members deepen their relationships with Christ as well as advance the gospel through praying, giving and going?
How can we serve and offer areas of service without overwhelming our members, whose lives are already packed with activities at all levels?
Is it possible to actually break the 80–20 rule that we so easily accept — 20 percent of the people doing 80 percent of the work? And does that apply to giving and going as well? What about praying?
What if every person who walked in the front door of the church came to truly worship God and grow as an individual believer? What if the appearance on Sunday morning wasn’t because of a cultural obligation or to be seen or for purely social reasons?
What if we all emptied ourselves and allowed God to fill us? What if we listened to His guidance and followed in obedience? How amazing would our church services be, and how amazing would our service to the world outside the church be?
And while the go-getter in me wants to push the masses to embrace the same vision, I realize I must start with a time of prayer.
I have to clear the clutter from my own heart and mind and settle all of this within myself before I can ask others to consider a similar path.