As I closed out 2013 and set out on 2014, I chose for myself the word, “Remain.”
Feeling out of balance, this word served as reminder of my need to return to center, to seek Jesus more in the coming year. It also reminded me of Jesus’ words in John, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Little did I know that 2014 would go down in the history books as a busy, rushed, roller coaster kind of year! And while I did often fail to seek Him daily, I was conistently reminded to make Jesus the center of our ups and downs.
And God led us through it all.
But I feel like I spent the majority of last year in a hurry. Know what I mean?
There were many, many, very good things. Repeatedly throughout the year I felt like there was a bit too much on my plate, so I trimmed and scaled back — only to find that there were new things, different things, good things, being brought to the table. Again I would trim, again God brought new things to replace them.
I ran through 2014.
When I wasn’t running, I was crashing and I would find myself doing a whole lot of nothing in “recovery.” (This of course would only lead to feeling behind and being ill prepared, which would result in even more running than necessary.)
Self-discipline and laziness are also two things I struggle with.
This past month has been particuarly hurried. Now that we have some down time, I’ve been reflecting on the past year and thinking about where God has me right now and what he’s working on in my life.
I still need to improve my morning quiet time routine. I still need to increase and improve my time spent in prayer. I also need to slow down some, be more intentional and more present. I need to give and show grace more and be more patient. I need to weed out laziness and spend less time on time wasters. I need to be wise about when to say “yes” and when to say “no.” I need to understand that I can’t be everything to everybody but I can be a better person in a lot of ways.
Reflecting on 2014 and looking into 2015, I wasn’t sure that I was going to find One Word that would say all that. I thought about “peace,” “be still,” “listen,” “intentional,” “flourish,” and a number of other words. I was starting to think I needed a paragraph.
I found my word while wolfing down an M&M. Like everything else for the past year, I was in a hurry. Without really taking the time to enjoy it, I scarfed the peanut M&M simply for the sugar and promised endorphin release, taking only a few seconds to enjoy the actual flavor.
Thinking that this kind of behavior usually leads to scarfing down even more M&Ms in the end, I chastised myself and told myself that I should take the time to savor a treat rather than race through it.
Mulling that word over, savoring it if you will, rolling it around in my brain, it felt really close to what I had been thinking in my brain for the past few days. It was close. Chewing on that line of thinking some more, I moved from “savor” to “linger.”
YES. Linger. That’s it. That’s what God is calling me to do.
Linger longer with God, linger in His Word, linger in prayer. Linger longer while spending time with my husband and my kids. Linger with family and friends instead of rushing off to the next thing.
Linger in service! Linger in love. Yes, linger in work, too, making sure the job is done well. Linger in rest (not multi-tasking) and linger in rewards (to enjoy them.) Live more in the moment, be present, make the most of the time that I have for what I have a that moment. Savor life. Enjoy it. Linger in it.
I’m not talking about wasting time or being lazy, but rather the opposite. If I’m wasting time on games on my phone or surfing the internet when it’s not time to rest then I’m setting myself up for rushing later. If I waste my free time running around with errands and tasks that should have been done, then I’m not spending that free time with my family. And if I’m not wise with my time, and my commitments, then I won’t have the freedom to linger with friends and family who cross my path instead of rushing along with my to do list.
I don’t want to be so busy that I don’t spend enough time enjoying the many blessings in my life. I want to be able to linger with my loved ones just a little bit longer and spend quality time with them.
I don’t want to feel so rushed and busy when my feet hit the floor in the morning, or so brain fried at the end of a long busy day, that I forget to spend time lingering with God, or feel rushed through my quiet time. I want to feel free to spend a while with God each day without hurrying.
I want to be able to linger while serving, and giving and doing for others.
So as we head into 2015, what I ask myself is this: what changes do I need to make to be able to linger? What do I need to say “yes” or “no” to so I have the freedom to linger longer?
Lord, I want to linger in your presence and spend more time getting to know you, and I want to be able to linger “in the moment” and savor life and all the blessings that you bring, so that I can enjoy your blessings and give you all the glory. Let me live for you fully, and let others see you in me. Give me wisdom when making commitments and show me where I can cut time wasting and laziness. I want to do everything that I do for your glory. Amen.