Recently I was contemplating what I want to do with my next years of my life. While we have a lot going on with a new business, I see the loose ends starting to come together. My relationships and my social life feel fairly comfortable right now, and I find a lot of joy in my husband, children, and most recently, in my new granddaughter, Bella and my grandson, Liam. My vertical spiritual life is better than it was a year ago, and my mental challenges of learning new things seem very stimulating. Yet, I have a lop-sided spoke on my wheel of a balanced life: the giving of myself in a serving capacity is all but non-existent these days.
For the better part of my married life, I volunteered. I was a school volunteer, I joined the Junior League and the women’s guild at church. I found causes I never knew I even cared about and threw a big part of my heart into them. I loved the feeling of helping others, and, truth be told, I loved the way people loved what I did for them. I took on leadership positions in the organizations and I got to where I spent so much time on these worthy causes, that I neglected my first responsibilities at home and to the Lord. After years of a chaotic life of running all the time, I started seeing things a little differently. My season of volunteerism came to a halt about the same time my children married. Being busy with weddings, new projects at the ranch, and plainly put, burnout all contributed to my withdrawal. I grew skeptical of others and my own selfish motives became more evident, so I slowly found reasons to drop out of virtually everything I was involved in.
Recently, I feel a nudge from God to serve again. “Feed my sheep,” I hear Him call. I wished I could say my response was like Samuel’s “Here I am!” But I think it’s been more like a Jonah running to Tarshish. But the boat ride is getting bumpy. His beckoning woos me closer to hear, “What are you doing for Me, Annette? I’ve got a whale of a deal for you, but you won’t turn toward Me, heed my call. What are you doing for Me, Annette?
Have you ever been asked a question, then realize you really don’t want to hear the answer? I know the answer. It’s time. I’ll say it:
Here I am, Lord.
Let’s see where He leads us. What have you done lately for the Lord? What is He asking of you this day?
I know you can turn over a new leaf any time you want, but there is power in having a whole new calendar page to say, “I’m leaving the old behind.” I’m a new creation. I have a blessed clean slate to do better and renewed strength and resolve to let my wondrous God complete in me that good work that He started.
I am so ready for a new start. Weight issues, age issues <grin>, soul issues <grimace>, all call for new commitment and blessed new energy to accomplish the somewhat ambitious if not lofty goals. I’ve said before how I don’t call them resolutions, probably out of fear of failure. However, especially this year, as I begin my jubilee decade, I need something to shoot for. You know the old “Aim at the stars, and you may hit the top of the gatepost; but aim at the ground and you will hit the ground.” So no more ground grovelling for me.
I have some plans for this blessed New Year. For one, I’m taking piano this semester–finally. I’ve never wanted to go back and learn theory because I play by ear, and am so impatient to learn how to “really” play. If I continue to blog more (another goal), I am sure you can look forward to hearing about some of these frustrations. Also, I am starting a weight loss program. Yes, again. I am serious though–I need it for heart health, and I really detest the idea of being fat and turning fifty all in the same year. It just doesn’t seem right. And more importantly, and the point of this post, I am planning on doing some serious soul connecting with Bible study and fellowship this year. Two of these we’re doing online. The first is a book group called The God of All Comfort by Dee Brestin. If you’re interested in doing this with us, you can read more here. The second is reading the Bible in The Message this year in conjunction with Larry Crabb’s new book, Sixty-Six Love Letters: A Conversation with God that Invites You into His Story. Bev Brandon is inviting others to join her in working through the Bible and writing what touches our hearts as we journey together again through His magnificent Word. Both of these ventures will be with a group of blog buddies. If you haven’t spiritually walked with a group online before, I cannot tell you how much it encourages me to stay focused and adds dimension and love to each study. As Dee states, “A log alone means a dying fire, but logs together burn brightly!” Please pray about joining me this year as we walk together through the Bible and study Dee’s book.
Well, the homemade granola (recipe here) is ready and the black-eyed peas are on the stove. We’re cooking up the traditional meal to bring in the New Year, and we still have the kids here for a short while longer. Nothing is sweeter to me than my house full of loved ones and a lot of chaos!
I wish you all much love, good health, and the Peace of the Christ-child in your hearts and homes in 2010!