Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: From Jesus Calling to A Praying Heart

Looking back at the tapestry of 2012, two important threads I see from the first day to this finale are Jesus Calling and A Prayerful Heart.

I bought the Jesus Calling daily devotional book for myself for Christmas last year after learning about it shortly after my Dad died in late October of 2011. Not long into the year, I bought the Facebook app that offered quick and constant access to the narrative and Scriptural reminders to trust God and to thank Him in every circumstance.

A Prayerful Heart was a Christmas gift from my niece. She lives in California, and we have only met in person once or twice, but she managed to give me a gift that enriched my spiritual development in a major way this year.

I don't yet have new devotionals for 2013. I know I will continue getting and reading daily emails from The Upper Room and also the cultural commentary the Denison Forum, which has a strong prayer focus. And I will continue to read two daily readings from 12-step devotionals.

A part of me feels anxious about not having something new planned and ready. One that I've thought of is My Utmost for His Highest, which I'm pretty sure I bought years ago and never read, although I have no idea where it is. Or maybe this should be a year to commit again to read through the Bible.

But the lesson I take from this year's spiritual journey is, since it is Dec. 31 and I don't yet know, then it is OK not to know or have a plan. One of the things I've seen over and over this year, including in its final weeks, is that my plans just seem to provide God an opportunity to show me a better way. But He also shows me that better way when I don't have a plan.

Not knowing need not be a problem. That's true with what I plan to do today -- and it's true with my plans for a new year, including what new disciplines I might feel inclined to undertake. It's true with what to do about nagging health and pain issues that have arisen in the past year, and it's true about long-term and ongoing issues such as indecision, selfishness and insecurity that manifest in strained relationships, lost opportunities and an uncomfortably cluttered personal environment.

What I'm trying to express is that it does me no good to think I must find the way to resolve any of these issues. What I'm learning over and over, reinforced multiple times in this past year, is that my role is to put God first, to seek Him, to love Him, to thank Him and to trust Him. The changes will flow -- and are flowing -- from that. It's simple but not easy. But it's a pathway I pray I will never leave -- and I do trust that it will lead me to be more generous and compassionate and loving, to God's glory.

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