By Jenneth Graser —
At this time of the year, instead of feeling up to making new resolutions, we may discover we’ve been going through the motions in our relationship with God. New Year can provide an opportunity to observe how we are living life and offer ourselves to the Holy Spirit for much needed refreshing after a year that has passed. We can open ourselves to hope and alignment where we may have drifted into routines that are no longer life giving or interesting.
No matter what our age or spiritual “maturity”, we can grow into the newness of God. God has not “been there, done that” in attitude. Creation is in the flow of God’s very heart, His intrinsic nature. We can tap into His exuberance and innovation, discerning by the Spirit where we are being invited. For each of us, this looks different.
What questions are rising in you for God?
Is it possible to allow old feelings to peel off to make room for life in a fresh way?
Yes. God is making all things new.
Even scripture we have read and re-read can enliven us in fresh ways, everyday. Maybe it is time to try a new translation, such as The Passion Translation or The Message? I enjoy trying a new translation to read well known scriptures in order to come at the truth from a different vantage point. Sometimes I get touched by a revelation when I don’t read by rote or previous experience of God’s word. Of course, the well known words of much loved and memorized verses and passages are like dear friends and the Holy Spirit brings life to these readings as we invite His partnership. But new readings can be helpful.
What translation would you like to try?
Also, we may know a great deal about prayer, but find it a challenge to put into practice. A suggestion is this: let us take one prayer practice that feels appealing and make a practice of it this year.
He will meet us, because we have the promises that those who seek, find and those who seek the kingdom first, will find all other things added.
I use YouVersion app for the plentiful devotions, Bible studies and topics of choice available for easy use on iphone or tablet.
Why not try one of the following prayer practices: Ignatian Contemplation – The Prayer of the Imagination, Lectio Divina, Centering Prayer, Daily Examen…
Anthony de Mello’s Sadhana contains much practical guidance on prayer practices and is a great place to start.
If we come to the New Year lingering on the stale taste of past disappointments, it can be a challenge to imagine a new dream or resolution. This is where we come to the Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett as Mary Lennox did. She was meant to find it – the robin showed her the way and the key opened the door. Her friend Dicken showed her that what looked overgrown and dead, was in fact “wick”, alive, and just in need of tender care and hard work.
We can humble our hearts and go in for a work of clearing as Holy Spirit takes out the weeds of hurts, bitterness, resentments and unforgiveness. You may have different names for these weeds and we all need help, as we cannot do it alone. The Gardener of our lives is willing, able, and desires to enter this place with us. There are plants that are mature and well established and there is also room that can be made for bulbs and seeds to rise unhindered, as the season warms. There is hope for things to look different, when we look with willing eyes and see as we are led to see.
We can let go of old words and dreams without giving up on them. Now that the ground of our hearts is being cleared and shrubs pruned, now that the soil is being turned over, we are making our hearts a humble place of rest and preparation. We are able to feel dreams, hopes and visions come to us simply, as we look to the face of the Creator who is always creating.
We don’t need to strive the process into being. As we watch and wait and act in simple ways, leaving all striving behind us, a sense will come, a hope, inspiration, a dream that is not out of reach. As we take a step to try something new or try something old in a new way, we will feel the renewal of God’s Spirit at work in us. Just as seeds know when their time has come and respond naturally, we too will respond to God’s tending and grow as we are made to grow.
Thanks for suggesting people read a new translation of the Bible. In my Bible study group, each person brings a favorite, which gives us a fuller picture of the meaning. The more we understand what God is saying to us, the closer we get to God.
That’s a wonderful way of doing Bible Study Mary. Thank you for sharing!