Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
I can forget what it takes to get through a day. I can forget it is up to me to choose whether to go right or left, and how God is in it. He is in the choices. He is in the moments before the decision making. He is in the space of indecision, especially, reminding me how He holds my hand and does not leave when a moment is too difficult and I feel frozen in what action to do next.
God does not get overwhelmed.
This week Justin and I were talking about the tug we feel this time of year, when we are on holiday, these precious days between Christmas and New Year's Day--the pull to reflect on the past year while thinking ahead to the next. We both appreciate the thought of a fresh start, the invitation to set goals and define thinking about vision, plans, dreams. Yet, the reality is we are smack-dab in the middle of moment when we just want to be present and slow, these beginning days of 2014.
While we talk a lot about what are hopes are for the next year, we don't want to rush there to thinking about them too quickly. Before we look ahead to getting down on paper our dreams for 2015, we want to look around a bit at this day, and the next, and the next, too. We want to notice the condition of our heart--and when I say condition, I don't mean the miracle of its beat, the glorious wonder of it pumping blood all through our bodies and keeping us alive without us willing it to. We want to notice what, at our heart, at our center, we are made of--how we are restless and lost and unfulfilled without our whole self turned towards God.
No plan, no vision, no dream will be worth a thing--or even get off the ground or be realized in any way, really--without taking moments each day to recognize what it really takes to get through a day. I love what God whispers in Loop:
My daughter, it is a fight to stay close to Me. It is a choice you make each moment. Pay attention to the rhythm of your days, the way you wake--what you do when you first get up, what your first thoughts are, how you approach what is for you to do. Right when you wake, try turning over the plan for your day to Me, first. Before you attempt to accomplish one thing, ask Me what I think of your plan. Can you imagine wiping your list clean, the details scrawled out, and then rewriting it, in my hand, my fingerprints upon the page? Are you willing?
Before we look back at 2014, before we look ahead to 2015, let's spend the next few days of 2014 resting in God, looking to where He is in us--how we consider him, how we think about him, how we look to him. Does he feel far away? Do we feel him close? Do we begin our days, right when we rise, thinking about him first? Or do we begin our day with worries, with schedules, with plans about how to get from A to B?
What is on your heart when you rise? How can we possibly begin to consider what a day holds--or begin assessing what the last year held, or what we hope to achieve in the new year ahead--without recognizing our heart for God right now?
Justin and I talk about this a bit, on our podcast on Holy Entanglement. And we share, also, a challenge we have for each other, to complete as a warm up for considering any plans or dreams we have for the new year.
Let me give you a hint: it comes down to your heart . . . and considering how you are made . . . and if you are letting God restore you . . . so you can feel His presence in you . . . . It involves the simple question some of you have heard me talk about before . . .What do you love?
So listen in (you can subscribe right here) and let me know what you think. And until then, let's not hurry off to make those big plans yet for 2015. Rather, let's ask God how we can be present to Him and all the wonderfulness and hope He has for us now, this moment, this day.
Do you look to this New Year with excitement and expectation? Do you like the idea of a fresh start? Would you like to join me, these next few days, and noticing where God is taking residence in our hearts, before we scrawl down any goals for the new year? I'd love to know what you think.