This past year has been full! Full of good things, yet, I find myself sweetly anticipating this much needed break from the rest of the world. You see, every year I sit and evaluate my past year: the decisions I've made, the dreams I put to motion, the responsibilities I carried, my walk as wife, mother, and daughter of God. Did I live well? Did I live full? Did I live in constant joy and peace? What was challenging in 2015? What was empowering? I take a time of reflection before entering the new year so that I can set new goals, continuing to move forward in my dreams, and to find grace in what this next year may hold for me. It's a time of planning, but its also a time of vulnerability - because I must zero in on my own heart and the challenges it faces (in the life I have chosen to live) and to choose to live according to the Spirit. This requires me to shut off the rest of the world (and the voice of reason) so I can really be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Often times this incorporates some sort of fast, so that I can practice the habit of surrender and humility. Fasting always puts my heart in a place where I'm inclined to lean, listen, and trust just a bit more. But this year I felt led to fast differently. As a mother to 5 (all under the age of 8), homeschooling and being a home-maker, while caring for the needs of my husband, and those whom I am in relationship with, along with the desires that are in my own heart to tackle, I realize that Grace comes with a name, and His name is Jesus. And if I am to move forward in all He has for me, living full (this means without complaining, without bitterness and without anxiety) in the joy, the love, and the richness of His goodness, I must be willing to lay down some things. Why do we fight so hard to give up control when our hearts ache so long to do so? I ask myself this often. I KNOW He is the SOURCE of every good and great thing, yet I can struggle so hard to release control over my own life. So as I enter 2016, I am fasting every external voice that has the [POTENTIAL] to influence my life negatively. This sounds simple right? But its not as simple as I thought. I began to explore all the external things that could potentially influence my thoughts negatively. And I realized that the potential for that is happening everywhere. I have to give up facebook, Instagram (what if there' a picture that causes jealousy, envy, or coveting???), Netflix, movies, alcohol. I don't think any of these are bad or wrong! So hear my heart. But they do have the "power of influence" and for principle alone, I knew it was something God was calling me to in this next season. I'm giving him 40 days. My hope and desire is that God will give me strategy, fresh breath on all these areas that play a role in my life, including how to live day to day with my family and how to make sure they are getting the best "Me" they could get. The best Me comes from the Holy Spirit and the joy, passion, and love that He gives me to live life with them.
This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. [So if we want to know the thoughts, heart and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, we must activate Him within us. In order to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, we must also silence its opposing voice, the voice of the world, the voice of reason.] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, [all that we desire, every good gift, everything we need is free. It is a gift given to us by the Spirit of God. Don't we want to know the things given freely to us by the Holy Spirit?] But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual evaluates all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:13-16
I am actually excited to fast from all media. I am in great anticipation to know, see, and understand the gift of God on my life. We all have been given the gift of life - and we are meant to enjoy it! The curse has been broken. No more sweat. No more striving. No more stress or worry. No more living oppressed by the responsibilities of life. Life doesn't have to steal from us. Rather it's there to be a blessing. It can bring us overwhelming joy, peace that transcends our own human reason, fulfillment and happiness that money can not provide. Jesus has a gift for us if we make ourselves available to receive it. I want it.
I'm not too keen on making New Years resolutions. But I'm all about dreaming big and setting goals to get to where you want to be. Dreams come with a cost. Every year is a step closer to living my dreams out fully. So what I am committed to in 2016, is a year living full - full of grace, full of peace, full of contentment, full of love, full of every good thing, full of blessing upon blessing, and being able to recognize it all, always being filled with thankfulness. We must protect our hearts from anything less. It is God's pleasure to see us blessed, and to know it.
The best things in life can not be bought. They are simply lived.
Live full for 2016!