Researches say that it takes 21 days to establish a habit. So, here we are in the final days of January, after many of us committed to some new habits and lifestyle changes for the new year, and I wonder….
How are you doing?
Are you on track or are you already behind in your efforts, close to giving up completely?
As you might remember, I committed to two things this year, reading through my Bible and writing letters to my family. I just finished up the book of Genesis and I’ve sent out 4 letters. But now comes the rough part….the next 21 days.
Genesis was fairly easy to read since most of the stories were familiar, basic Sunday School lessons that I’ve read many times before. The letter writing was pretty easy since it was my closest family members that I wrote to. However yesterday, reading chronologically, I was supposed to start reading Job and I haven’t written the hardest letter yet because of some relationship issues with the person.
So….time to just call it quits? Maybe skip a week or that person on my list? That would make it a whole lot easier….like just skipping over those names in Genesis of who begat whom. Who’s going to know that I didn’t really read those names, but more or less scanned them? Or that I didn’t write a letter to that particular person, since they aren’t expecting it anyway?
God would know.
You see, I made my commitments to God…not man. He likes to gently nudge me in the right direction….toward my Bible, toward the stationary. If I resist, He does a little more than nudges…He pushes. God can push pretty hard, you know!
So when I was reading all those “begats” , I started thinking of them more as people than just names. They were someone’s grandfather. I want to remember my grandfathers, I want their names to be familiar, know who they were, what they did, how they played a part in my life. I want my children to remember them too, even though they never met one of my grandfathers. I think that is what God is wanting me to do too, with all those names. They were people that lived, laughed, loved, hated, cried, hurt, played jokes, messed up miserably…you get the picture…they mattered to God.
It helps me to make a list, a family tree so to speak. If I write it down, I have a tendency to remember it better…so I write their names down. Of course that can get a little confusing and if you don’t like history, it may not be your thing. I did find a website that has the family tree of Jesus. It starts with Adam & Eve and goes as far as you want to take it, all you have to do is click on a name. (Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with this website. I found it through a word search on Google. Part of the website is in a different language, of which I could not read. Some of the names are spelled differently, but I did find it a helpful tool, but use it at your own risk.)
And if I get behind in my reading, those nudges from God have helped me to turn off the TV or the computer and pick up my Bible. However, if you are way behind, like not even reading, starting with today….just read! I have tried setting my alarm clock to go off 20 minutes earlier than normal. That sometimes work, but I personally do better by setting aside some time during the day after my brain wakes up, so I can retain and comprehend what I’m reading and studying. Whenever, however you do it, God just wants you in His Word, not so you can put a check mark down as a task finished, but so He can talk to you.
About that letter….it’s hard. I had committed to telling my family that I was praying for them, specifically for their spiritual growth, encouraging them in their journey with God. However, with this family member….I have issues. Every time I sit down to write, negative thoughts and emotions pour out. I don’t want to send that kind of letter. Yes, there are issues that need to be dealt with…but that is not what God is wanting me to do with this letter. He is wanting me to love and encourage them. I want to nag.
So, the stationary comes out. The words will be filtered through God’s love for them and for me. The issues will still be there, but I’ll pray about them on my own and then when God wants them to be dealt with, I’ll have already been in a prayerful attitude about them. Of course I won’t be surprised if God reveals that the issues just might be with me!!!
To prepare for the time when I can send a note, it really helps me to keep my journal and stationary together. I pull out the addresses of the people I will be writing to and keep them with my stationary along with a supply of stamps. I don’t want any other excuses to not send the notes. The reason for my journal….as I’m writing the letters, I make notes of the Bibles verses I include in their letter and any prayer thoughts that may come to mind while I’m writing. Then during my own prayer time, I use the journal to help me focus on my family.
So, how are you changing up your routine to make time for the new or refreshed lifestyle changes you committed to? Please share with us what you are focusing on this year and how you are making time for this focus in your daily life.
But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
-Luke 10:42 (KJV)