Pausing to Prioritize
by Susan Miller
Once again, another new year is already slipping by. For me, itâ€™s never too late to re-exam my heart, my life, and â€• my calendar. I recently took some much-needed time to focus on the choices and decisions that I want to change or do differently in my life. These things may not happen all at once, but life is too short to miss the moment or seize the opportunity to try.
When I get past all the stuff this beyond my control, or is just wishful thinking, the really important things to me are the matters of my heart.
I want to live my life to bring glory and honor to God, take more time for the cherished relationships in my life, and give my children and grandchildren a legacy of unconditional love, a strong faith in God, and treasured family memories. These are the things that really matter in my life. These are the things that I can intentionally choose to do that will make a difference in my life and in the lives of those I love. Not just for this year, but for years to come.
God knows our hearts. He knows the good, the bad, and the ugly us. He knows when we get it right and when we screw up big time. And believe me, I’m the first in line to say I donâ€™t always do it right or say it right. My choices and decisions arenâ€™t always wise, and my calendar is often too full with no boundaries or margins.
Ah, but for His saving grace and forgiveness! A new year, a clean slate, and another chance at putting the often misfit pieces of my life together again.
May we never lose sight of God’s power to change usâ€”our lifestyle, our thinking, our habits, our actions, our attitudes, and our words.
Here are a few things nudging my heart this year:
Stop limiting God. Oh.my.gosh. How many times I’ve kept God in a box by putting limits on what He can do! He is the God of the universe, and nothing is too small for Him to accomplish. How easily I forget and how it limits my faith and trust.
Give my day, and whatever it might hold, to God before I get out of bed each morning. Thank Him â€“ regardless of what kind of day it was yesterday â€“ for a new day, a new beginning, and a fresh start. Pray for wisdom and direction in all I say and do. Not all days are great, happy, or filled with sunshine. But wow, I learn a lot about myself in the unexpected, not-according-to-my-plans kind of day.
Remember that kindness trumps everything else. May I never forget to make time to be kind through actions and words, even when I’m busy and my schedule is full.
Release guilt of all I haven’t done and focus on what I have done. I am so bad about this! I need to remember that the things I haven’t done will all be there tomorrow.
Write more handwritten thank you notes and fewer text thank-youâ€™s. I know texting is quick and easy, but I also know what it means to get a handwritten note. I keep treasured written notes and re-read them on a rainy day.
A full calendar is not always productive. At the end of the week, or month, I can look back and know the days (and nights) that were full, were actually more exhausting than productive.
Be less judgmental. I meet so many new people that I sometimes find myself assuming something about someone, or her circumstances, that may not necessarily be correct. A good reminder is for me to ask first, “Tell me about you,” or “Tell me your story.”
Procrastination doesn’t always get the things on my to-do list done. Grrrrrrrâ€¦.. It’s always easier to do the things I want, or love to do, and put off the things that are difficult or stressful to do. I need to work on this big time!
Never underestimate the power of prayer. I am reluctant to say that sometimes I do just thatâ€• I underestimate my prayers! I need to pray with reckless abandonment and not hesitate to pray for what I think is too hard or impossible.
Re-do my bucket list. Stop putting the things I want to do, and can do, on the back burner. With each passing year, time is so precious. There are dear family and friends that I want to visit, places I want to see, things I want to do. If not this year, when?
Tell it, sing it, and live it! I resonate with the words to this old hymn, “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day longâ€¦.”
Have you had any nudges from God lately? If so, this might be a good time to think about the matters of your heart, the choices you make, and what you want to change or do differently this year.
I’d love for you to stop right now and join me in praying this little prayer from my heart to yours:
First of all, God, I want to thank you for the past year. It was difficult in many ways, but you never left me. Your word gave me peace.
Your provision gave me hope.
Your presence gave me comfort.
I am in awe of how you work in and through all things.
Now, as I look ahead, I pray for wisdom and discernment in the choices and decisions I will make.
Direct my steps and walk with me each day so that my life will reflect you.
Transform not only my heart, but my thinking.
Give me courage to do the right thing, not just the easy thing.
And above all, may I give you all the honor and glory for the mighty work you will do within me this year!
I’ve even added some scripture that will help guide us. You can add some of your favorites too.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding, In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5,6
And may the Lord direct your heart into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ. 2 Thessalonians 3:5
Commit your works to the Lord, And your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Psalm 32:8
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105
Remember, my friends, itâ€™s never too late to start over again . . .
From My Heart to Yours,