While many people hate and bash on New Years and setting goals, I personally love it. I think it’s a healthy and helpful holiday where we can take time to reflect on what the last year looked like and come up with tangible and reasonable things we can do to make ourselves more healthy and whole. I find it exciting and refreshing, and that excitement doesn’t dwindle even if I felt like last year didn’t pan out the way I saw it going because guess what…it’s a new year! So the way I see it, I take inventory of my life…what went well, what did I do well, what do I want to do better, am I becoming the person I want to be, etc…then I set realistic and attainable goals to help myself try to prioritize the right things and people so that I can meet my goals.
Have you ever heard the song “Room in Your Heart” by Casting Crowns? I remember many Christmas sermons last year being titled “Room in Your Heart” but the message didn’t really hit me until this year.
Here are some of the lyrics: Is there room in your heart? Is there room in your heart? Is there room in your heart for God to write His story? You can come as you are, but it may set you apart…When you make room in your heart and trade your dreams for His glory.
I’ve been thinking about this song since Christmas and about how true the message is…Not just for Christmas, but for the whole year too! It’s so easy to crowd our hearts up with things we see as “good”…Like some of the new goals we will try to meet this year (reading a certain amount of books, going to the gym a certain number of times each week, traveling more, intentionally meeting up with 1 person for coffee each week) and while all those things may be good, nothing is truly good without God at the center of it all and with HIM being the motivation for WHY we do the things that we do.
I heard a quote recently that said this: “When it comes to marriage, if you get that one aspect of your life right, everything else can go wrong and none of it will matter. But when it comes to marriage, if you get that one aspect of your life wrong, everything else could go right and none of it will matter.”
That quote holds so much truth, but it holds so much truth because of what God has created marriage to be, which is a representation of HIS love for us…so I couldn’t help but see this quote in a different light and take some liberties to change it as I reflected on the last year and was setting my own goals…
When it comes to life and your relationship with God, if you get that one aspect of your life right, everything else can go wrong and none of it will matter. But when it comes to life and your relationship with God, if you get that one aspect of your life wrong, everything else could go right and none of it will matter.
Reading that to myself sends a shot to my heart as I think about this last year and ponder the question of: Did I truly put God at the center of everything I did? I say with a heavy, but honest heart that the answer is simply no. The song said it best, we have to MAKE room for God in our hearts…We cannot expect ourselves to grow closer to God without making Him a priority in our lives and centering EVERYTHING that we do AROUND Him and FOR Him.
One of my favorite books of the Bible is Ecclesiastes…I love it because it’s such a honest book of the Bible, in which King Solomon (known to be the wisest and richest man to ever live) is wrestling with this question: Is there meaning to life? The book walks through his questioning and experimenting to try and figure out what the purpose of life is. The first verse says this: “Everythng is meaningless…completely meaningless!” The last verses say this: “Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.”
Life without God, as Solomon learned, leads to emptiness. You could have all the money, fame, fancy items, etc that you desire and still feel empty if you don’t have God.
So whether you like New Years or you hate it, I think we can all make a resolution this year to dive more deeply into our relationship with God. If you make 20 goals, make sure they are all for the glory of God and not your own glory. If you make 1 goal, let it be to grow closer to God. No matter what goals you set this year, if being close to God is not your first and foremost goal, you will end the year feeling empty.
The song above so beautifully captures it…you can have it all, every little thing you need, and still feel empty. You can have it all, you could have the best this life could bring, living everybody elses dream, and stil feel empty…It’s the missing that tells you there is something more.
You were created for relationship with the God who created you and the God who loves you.
I was reading Ezekiel 47, which is a picture of what it looks like for us to have a close relationship with God. Take some time to read the passage below for yourself 🙂
Ezekiel 47: The River From the Temple
The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side.
3 As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits[a] and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. 4 He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. 5 He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. 6 He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?”
Then he led me back to the bank of the river. 7 When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. 8 He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah,[b] where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. 9 Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. 10 Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea. 11 But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”
God was with Ezekiel. He brought him to several places, He took measurements, He asked Ezekiel to notice the water, He led him, He taught him…God was with him, and God is with me and with you every step.
I have felt the difference between making room for Jesus in my heart and keeping Him out of my day-to-day and this story so beautifully captures the difference it makes having Jesus as our guide and our source of life.
God wants you to draw near to Him, to seek Him, and simply, to spend time with Him! That’s the only way you will feel content and grow in this life. Nothing else in the world will satisfy you no matter how many goals you set, but it requires a choice of you and I both making room in our hearts every single day for Him.
God brings healing, life, and growth…With Him as our source, we will be like the trees whose leaves will not wither in Ezekiel. We will be watered by the river flowing from the temple, our leaves will be food and healing to others with God as our source. Will you make room for Him this year? Let God be the most important thing in your life…you will not regret it.