As I continue to focus on being and seeking God’s #PresentPresence, this week my guest for you is Kasey Shuler. Kasey and I share a common view of wellness and I’m excited to share her views with you on new year’s resolutions…
How often do we recycle last year’s resolution, strong in willpower but secretly afraid of another failure?
This year, we will lose that weight.
This year, we will start meal planning.
This year, we will be healthier!
As a personal trainer, I make most of my income the first three months of the year. What happens to my client base the rest of the year? Life happens. Willpower fades. Priorities shuffle.
While I love the passion for change at the beginning of the year, I long for it all year round. We cannot accomplish hard things without help, which is why I have a job. And it’s also why we need to seek the Lord.
If we really want to make a change this year, may we not simply slap a goal on the fridge, but let us listen well and respond gladly. Let us step aside and listen to the words of our Maker, the God who knows not only what we need but can empower us to see it though.
How to Listen Well
“He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.’” ~Matthew 17:5
In this passage, Jesus had just revealed Himself in full glory on a mountaintop with Peter as a witness. Peter started making his own plans not just for himself, but for Jesus too, when God interrupted him and thundered, “Listen to him.”
And like Peter, I bet we each have our own plans. We have reached a mountain top of our own: the pinnacle of a new year. I tend to feel like Peter, blurting out all my plans when God just wants me to listen first. This passage gives us a few practical tips:
Block out distractions: In Matthew 17, a cloud descended on them and blocked out the rest of the world. Try retreating to a place with no distractions. This could be shutting yourself away in a room, getting outdoors, or simply closing your eyes.
Stop talking: Peter was in the middle of his grand suggestions when God interrupted him. We can’t listen if we don’t stop talking. This includes quieting the noisy crowd of risk assessors, lawyers, busybodies, and taskmasters that run around in our mind. One way to do this is by focusing on our breath, by taking command of this automatic system and sending signals to slow down. Try square breathing: breathe in for four counts, holding for four counts, and breathing out for four counts until a sense of calm arises.
Acknowledge who Jesus is: God the Father introduced Jesus as His “beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 17:5). Who is Jesus in your life? Is He just one voice among the crowd in our minds, or is He the King of your heart?
Listen to Him: If Jesus reigns above heaven and earth and sits on the throne over our life, may we have more respect in His presence than if we were kneeling before the Queen of England. May our own suggestions fall by the wayside and His voice be the only one.
Jesus did not stay in glory, and the disciples did not remain on that mountain. They had to come down with the rest of the world, back into the daily grind. But they had new instructions that shone clearer than Jesus in all His glory: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
Let us listen to Jesus on the mountaintop, and know He goes down with us into the hard places. When we enter our home, our work, the gym, He is there. He is ready to speak when we are ready to listen.