My family and I celebrated New Year’s Eve in the States for the first time in a couple years. It was a fun night surrounded by friends, playing games, talking, and more importantly, laughing together. It’s been a long time since I laughed like that. I’m not a huge celebrator on New Year’s Eve as I hate staying up that late to watch a ball drop, or to go light fireworks….the years of youth ministry full of all nighters have kind of killed it for me. But being up with friends is well worth the cost the next day of being tired. We were headed back home at 12:10 a.m. and we were all in bed by 12:25 🙂
You hear it as soon as Christmas is over…. the talk of resolutions, the plans for the new year and the list of things people hope to get accomplished. Setting goals is important. I a big proponent of setting goals. For me, if I don’t have goals to reach, I squander my time, run around aimlessly and become a slave to the things of the “urgent” instead of engaging in things of the meaningful. But part of the meaningful things is calling on our lives as followers of Jesus to simply be. Being doesn’t require any doing. And God often times asks us to stop the doing ….and just be.
The burning bush, the small still voice, being in a garden praying, retreating away from the crowd, getting up early before the sun, being away and fed by ravens, not having to prepare meals but simply collect manna from heaven……all of these stories and verses encourage us to stop the doing and simply focus on being. Accepting that we are in the presence of God, begin the inward journey of accepting who we are in Christ, start to understand how God has made us, see the world that is actually around us not just what we want to see.
With the sometimes lengthy lists of resolutions I’ve had, my experience has been that I get focused on accomplishing that list and less about sitting in God’s presence. If things on that list start to control me, I am no longer being a being-I am pushing my being aside to do. And sometimes I’m doing things just to do them. I am a get-things-done kind of guy. And I also know that me being is far more important than me doing. If I have little understanding of who I am in Christ or God’s presence, how can I help others dive into the deeper life?
Moses takes time to stop and just be in God’s presence in the form of a burning bush…but empowers him to lead all the Hebrew out of Egypt and crushing Pharaoh; David, getting up before sunrise, was a warrior king-the greatest in Israel’s history; collecting manna allowed the Hebrews to see God will always provide for them….though there were times when we are asked to quite ourselves and just be, this often times leads to God using us in deeper ways than we had ever hoped.
As we are now three days into 2017, I want to encourage all of us to hold our great list of resolutions and goals very loosely. To not get so caught up in doing that we lose sight of the One who created us. To spend time just being in His presence and starting down an inward journey of you are in Christ. In that, I believe you will be able to connect with people on a much deeper level and become leaders of others on a similar journey.
Happy New Year