"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10
The day after Christmas, I was cleaning up stuff. Clutter. Junk. I'm not referring to the gifts we received. Rather, the mound of things in the closets and the cabinets with which I would replace those gifts. I was feeling "Closet-trophobic," if you will. :) I found myself feeling upset over the mess I've allowed to accumulate around my house. Getting more emotional by the moment, I was doing the opposite of whistling while I worked. The Grinch was in the Shaw home, and she was cleaning house.
Now, here it is a New Year, and I have a similar spout of impatience over the state of my heart. It is cluttered and crowded--claustrophobic. It hasn't been maintained well. The junk has piled up and is in desperate need of attention.
While so many are making resolutions, I cannot even go there. It would only be a list of more things to "try to do well." You know? More routines started that will not be finished, more promises made that will not be kept--All of it adding to the mound of my spiritual chaos.
God is so good to keep His resolution to me in my desperate moments. The reason I am sharing mine is because I know all of us have them. His promise to us no matter what state we are in is that HE is the One who is always faithful, and HE will do the work in us if we let Him. (1st Thessalonians 5:24)
Each year for three years now, instead of coming up with a New Year's resolution, I have found a better solution for me is to adopt a Scripture verse for the coming year--Something that God lays on my heart that will help me to grow in some way or another.
In 2005, it was Psalm 119:29 of the NLT: "Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions."
In 2006, the 1st Thessalonians verse from above impacted me in ways I cannot even put into words: "The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it." Wow, did I need that one during the year that Brian's dad got sick, his Granddad came to live with us and my mother passed away. What a year!
The difficult times in 2006 led me to this verse to adopt for 2007: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10, NIV. Somehow in the midst of the long season of suffering and loss our family was going through, God continually reminded me of His promise to make our lives full and complete. Incredible.
Now, at this time of year to reflect and let down from the CLAUS-trophobia, on what would God have me reflect? If I am in keeping with the last three years' verses, being honest with myself, submitting to the Lord's faithful promise to do the work and make my life as full in Him as possible, what now? I know that in the Lord's foreknowledge, He will lead me to the perfect verse for the coming year very soon.
How about you? Would you be up for the challenge of adopting a verse for this year? Psalm 119:11 says, "I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You." The key to every kept resolution and promise is the power of His Word unlocked and flowing in your life and mine. He is so much more interested in our submission to Him than He is to our keeping the rules we make up for ourselves. (1 Samuel 15:22)
If the closets of your heart are as cluttered and crowded as mine, take a moment to allow the Lord to do some re-organizing. Pray. Ask. Listen. Then submit. He is ready and willing to create in us a pure heart, and renew in us a steadfast spirit, creating a year that is clutter-free and full of Himself, allowing us to live and move and breathe freely in Him. Aaaaaah. I'm feeling better already.
All Scriptures referenced from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.