“Do you not know that those
who run in a race all run,
but only one receives the prize?
Run in such a way that you may win.”
I Corinthians 9:24 (NASB)
We’re nearing the end of another year.
2016 is almost complete and a memory behind us.
So much has changed and rearranged, grown and died and moved into hibernation. We can look back, each one of us, and sense a longing, a grief, a smile, a relief, and thanksgiving.
But overshadowing it all, we sense the turning of another page in the coming weeks and wonder what this next chapter will hold.
There’s One who knows what’s ahead – every detail, bump, victory, and provision by the wayside. He knows the pitfalls and joy and treasures waiting for a curious and tenacious seeker.
Our God sees the heart longing for relief and the soul bathed in peace. He knows when and how and where to touch each to encourage, strengthen, and make smile.
He anticipates every time you will recognize and embrace His intervention.
Months ago I sensed my new year had begun with Rosh Hashanah. I felt a change in season just as surely as when the wind turns cool or the snow begins to melt. And as with each new year, the Holy Spirit gave me a new word of direction and encouragement for the coming months.
In prayer I recognized last year’s word was not yet completed – but knew that I’d stepped over a threshold to new depths of its working out. In response I’ve been taking extra time the last two months to press in and focus on my Lord.
One morning a few weeks ago, as distractions pulled on me, I received an unexpected message from a friend: “Good morning. Thinking about you today. Heard it’s time for you to (Buckle down before the Lord). Blessings.”
Although she had no idea of my circumstances, the words brought an immediate smile to my lips. I knew they were a gentle nudge from the Holy Spirit to pull my focus back; my time apart with Him was not done yet.
While sitting quietly the next day, I wrote out, “What does that mean? What does that look like – to ‘buckle down before You’?”
I heard Him say:
to lean in
to listen intently
to soak in
to make a shift
So that’s where I’ve been the last three weeks. Leaning, soaking, shifting, resolving. The Light has gotten brighter. Issues in my heart and mind, long hidden from my awareness, are being exposed and replaced with truth and love and anticipation.
Weights are lifting off. Weights I didn’t even realize I carried. I’m looking ahead in excitement and laughter and rest.
I want to encourage you: Before 2015 opens its door to greet you, take time – real, sacrificial time – to buckle down before your Creator-God.
Lean in a little closer than is comfortable.
Listen more intently than comes naturally.
Soak in the fragrance of His very present peace and hope.
Meditate, slowly and deliberately, on His deliberate pursuit of you.
When prompted by His Spirit, lift one foot and take a step in a new direction. Shift your gaze to His and see what He’s pointing you to.
Persist in His momentum.
Dig until you touch the treasure He has waiting for you to find.
Resolve to let Him love you more fully by agreeing with how He sees you and His plans for you.
Jesus asked His Father for the gift of our perfect unity with them (John 17:17-24) and sent the Holy Spirit to be your Guide and Teacher unto its manifestation. Today offers a door to go deeper in a life of oneness with the One who already sees you this way.
Do you accept the invitation?
Start now. Take some other plans or activities off of your schedule. Get up earlier, sit with Him longer, sneak away at every opportunity, and He will faithfully lead you to Himself.
God is for you.
He has a plan for how to make the new year great.
Let Him prepare you.
Let Him sing over you.
Let Him fill you more fully with Himself.
Let Him bring you close and open new doors.
Let Him be all He longs to be – in you, for you, and through you.
Today. Tomorrow. In 2017.
The best is yet to come!