At the beginning of December 2013, the Holy Spirit impressed my heart with the thought that my word for 2014 is “Discipline.”
My first reaction was a watered-down version of my old self. Not a full blown temper tantrum on the floor, but definitely resistance.
He gently reminded me that in the fall of 2012 I had prayed and asked Him for more of the fruit of self-control. Grumbling, but caught with my own words, I let a bit of my guard down.
I didn’t like the picture that was beginning to form in my imagination that included boot camp tyrant personal trainers yelling in my face, and the martyr in the circle watching others eat cake at a party.
When I walked into the Joyce Meyer Power Thoughts class I was attending that day, I found that the Power Thought that day “happened” to be “I am disciplined and self-controlled.” I laughed. Of course it was! How like God!
As the month unfolded, God began to gently reveal His plan. His idea of the word “discipline” was for me to focus on pausing, asking, listening and obeying step by step, day by day, throughout the year. Considering I had also been praying that my heart would get into a place where I obeyed immediately, completely, and willingly, this too made sense.
I won’t be surprised if 2014 includes some discipline from a personal trainer and some denial of things that aren’t good for my health, but that’s not the focus. (How like the old me to go straight to the perfectionism and the works. Doing.)
I asked Him why we were beginning in December, a month early, and He chuckled and said, ‘This work needs an extra month.”
So enter the middle of January and I had my first A-HA moment for the year.
On a Saturday I was talking with a friend who has honed obedience to God’s voice for many years. She talked about being obedient to get out of bed at whatever time God awoke her in the morning. And how when she resisted and went back to sleep those days didn’t work out so well.
Shortly after that conversation I had a day where I was so exhausted that I asked, when awakened, if I could go back to sleep and was impressed with a peaceful, “Yes.”
Then I had one of those days. It began to rain while I was out and about. I hadn’t taken the umbrella. I’d had a really vague impression to check the weather report and carry it, but I hadn’t paid attention.
I stopped to run into a store for two items and locked my keys in my truck.
When I called AAA, there was a message saying that there were long delays due to the weather and the increased number of service calls. The dispatcher who finally answered told me the wait was going to be over an hour.
Maybe the average person wouldn’t care about an hour wait at a store. One could browse. But I’ve learned not to do that to myself while on a faith journey with no steady income, living on God’s provision for my needs. The temptation to feel sorry for myself for all I can’t buy is too great when I browse.
No worries. I’ve got a good book on the Kindle on my phone. Then I see the battery status. I best not even text or my phone might die before the locksmith gets here and calls me from the parking lot.
So I stand under cover and watch my truck… and think… and pray… asking God what this is all about… And I remember the conversation from the prior Sabbath.
My initial temptation was to pick up the idea that God had done this to me… to teach me a lesson. (And I wasn’t even going to be sore at Him for it!)
But then I realized the lie.
Each day has darkness in it. My time with God in the morning prepares me to submit my plans to Him and to receive instruction. When I start my day slow, with Him, I am tuned into the prompts to “check the weather report” and “carry the umbrella’ or to “put the spare truck key in my pocket.” He KNOWS what is coming in my day and He prepares me for it when I take the time to tune in the radio dial to His frequency and listen before I head out into the day.
I wanted to grumble that He told me it was ok to go back to sleep. And He reminded me about 2012’s word “freedom” where I learned how much He values choice. He honored my choice that morning.
I am thankful I wore a hooded sweatshirt.
I am thankful that I had my cell phone and AAA card.
I am thankful that I had a dry place to stand and wait.
And I am thankful that I was listening close enough to catch the subtle heart shift between “He did it to me” and “He works all for good.”