Gratitude Day 553

Fri., Jan. 8, 2021

Jeremiah 29:11 – I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.

I’ve tried to ease into 2021.

Our Christmas tree is still up.

Each year, I pray over every Christmas card we receive as a way to bless each family that sends us a card. The cards are still in the basket, unprayed over. As cards continue to arrive this week (YEAH!) I justify not completing this task yet.

Traditionally a planner, I’m still pondering this for 2021. I’m trying to allow more space, wisdom and discernment for this right now … while not trying to procrastinate too long. I’m trying to convince myself that being intentional is more important than crossing this off the to-do list. And I pray this intentionality pays off.

As I glide into this season, events like what happened this mean challenge me to stop. Pray. Listen. Discern. They also beg the question, “What’s really important right now?”

While the most “important” things in our world probably realistically change truly little over time, watershed moments should also encourage us to make sure our most important things truly are where we put the majority of our time, energy, effort and passion. If they aren’t, then we have a problem. A serious problem.

As I’ve thought about what is most important, I’ve discovered that maybe it’s OK to slightly shift those most important things in my life. Maybe it’s giving myself permission to be more particular about where I see things in my life going right now as well as keeping grounded in the right things.

So, what is most important right now? Here’s my short list:

  • Make sure I’m nurturing a personal relationship with God. It’s easy to “say” we have this with God but another thing to actually put in the time and effort. No relationship can thrive on just a few moments a day. It might work in the short-term, but a life sustaining relationship with God or anyone else requires more attention than simply an afterthought. I’m taking time right now to simply be with God. Listen. Pray. Be.
  • Keep myself connected to God through scripture. Too often, we think the Bible is the end-all for all of our questions. Just turn to the Bible and see what it says about ____. My experience? It doesn’t always work this way. We’re trying to take words written about 2,000 years ago and infuse them into current culture. Some of our modern-day challenges and issues were not part of the culture when the Bible was written. Does this mean we don’t explore what the Bible says? Absolutely not. What I’m saying is if we’re looking for a specific answer for everything that challenges us, we may be disappointed. Yet, it is SO IMPORTANT to read scripture and allow it to guide us. Give us insights and wisdom. Become a discernment tool. Earlier this week, I shared a 2021 New Testament Reading Guide as well as a 2021 Wisdom Literature Reading Guide. And I have to tell you … just after three days, the Wisdom Literature guide has been SO HELPFUL for me right now. I read Proverbs 3 on Thursday and Wow! Did it speak to me! I’ll post the reading guides again today. Please share them with others who are looking for a 2021 Bible Reading Plan. Or invite someone to hold you accountable with a reading plan. Honestly, some days, I get more out of reading scripture than others. When a day happens and I’m reading scripture right where I need to be, it makes a huge impact in my life.
  • Pray. And then pray some more. Yes, there are days when I’m better at this than others. To help me with this, I build certain prayer milestones into my day. For example, I pray before my feet get out from under the covers in bed. The first thing I do is pray while still in bed. As a part of my devotion time, I pray. At the very end of the day, I pray the Lord’s Prayer as the last thing I do of the day. These exercises keep me grounded in prayer at least a few times a day, which I find extremely helpful. Another way to build prayer into your day? Sign-up for a daily text prayer. Each day, I send out a short prayer to folks who are signed up for this. Simply text simplewordsoffaith to 33222 and you’ll be signed up. Every day at 7 AM CST, a short little prayer will arrive on your phone. This little prayer is one that you can use to ground and begin your day.
  • Discern and ask for wisdom from God daily. This is a huge emphasis for me right now. While I feel that I’ve tried to do this for years, I’m stepping up the intentionality of this right now. There’s a lot of “yeses” we can say in our lives every day. And we say a lot of them. “No” is also a complete sentence. And one that we need to use regularly as well. Be clear about what you say “yes” to and what you choose to say “no” to as well.

What is on your most important list right now? Your list certainly can be different from mine! What’s necessary? To have a list … one that we use and refer to daily.

There’s a lot going on in our country right now. I’m discovering the significant distractions can spin us away from what’s important. I pray that intentionally choosing what is important right now helps keep me ground. I pray you make this your own little project as well.

For the reminder to keep the most important things where I put my time, energy and passion, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – it’s so easy to slide through days and weeks and months without a lot of thought about what really is important right now. During a pandemic with a fractured country, distractions abound. Survival feels very real most days. Place upon my heart the most important things for me to focus on today. Tomorrow. This week. This month. This year. Amen.

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