by Jennifer Slattery @JenSlattery
Maybe it’s always this way, or perhaps I’m just more alert this year, but everywhere I look, I see stress. Anxiety. Depression. Grieving. Hard stuff. And coming straight out of Christmas with a slew of unmet expectations, many people feel depleted and defeated.
There’s a lot of pressure over the holidays, isn’t there? Not just on Christmas day, but the entire month of December and bleeding into January. Actually, the pressure increases exponentially in the new year, when, after coming to terms with all our faults, all our failed efforts to do better or love more or spend less or whatever–we determine to try again. To make a plan this time, and maybe even to write that on a slip of paper, turning our goals into New Year’s resolutions.
Because then we’re sure to keep them, right? Ha!
Am I the only one that finds this cycle exhausting and self-defeating?
What if we did away with resolutions all together, and instead determined to walk just a little closer to Jesus each day. What if, instead of drawing a line in the sand promising that 2019 will be different, we focused on moving forward? Taking small but steady steps?
Because, honestly, that first step is the hardest. In fact, it’s hard enough, without adding a bunch of expectation to it.
But once we take that first step, every step after becomes easier.
So what’s the first step? For me, meditating on and praying Scripture, because I’m convinced, the more I think like Jesus, the more I act like Jesus. Perhaps you’ve heard it this way: Right thinking equals right actions.
Romans 12:2 reveals this when it says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will” (NIV).
Meditating on Scripture is more than reading a passage in the morning then going about one’s day. It means pausing to really take God’s Words in, praying that He’ll help us live it, and repeating these steps throughout the day.
Eventually, God’s Words will become a part of us–internalized, and He’ll use them to speak to us, to guide and correct us, and before we know it, our behaviors have changed and we’ve become a bit more like our Savior.
This year, this is my plan, and I’m not waiting until January first to begin. Starting today, I’m determined to lean in a bit closer to Christ, to carve out consistent time throughout the day to connect with Him, and to allow His Words to penetrate deeply, changing me from the inside out. I invite you to join me.
On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate. Psalm 145:5 NASB
About the author: Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of six contemporary novels and maintains a devotional blog found at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com. She has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, (http://whollyloved.com) she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
Join the conversation: Do you have any tips about meditating on Scripture that you can share with us?