I don’t know about you, but Christmas is always a little hard on my soul. I love having family around, watching Christmas movies, great meals, getting presents for my wife and kids that I KNOW they will love. But spiritually and emotionally, at a deep level, I am usually very depleted.
It could be the busyness of the “season”, simply the end of a full-on year of life, battle with the secularization of Christmas, spiritual warfare or unrealistic expectations. Whatever the cause, the effect is what I want to reverse.
August of 2009 I recorded a video-blog on my time alone with God on my birthday titled Take Another Look. I think birthdays are a great time to recount our life’s story. I think New Years is a great time to recount our length of days.
I have always been stuck by Moses statement, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) There is certain type of focus, intentionality and perspective that we gain when we understand the capacity or quantity of our life.
Christmas Eve, Leigh gives each family member a book. Last year, Leigh gave me a book by Charles Spurgeon, Power Over Satan. Spurgeon wrote, “Among men there are some who know a great many important matters but act as if they do not know them. Their knowledge is so much wasted heaped up in the storeroom of their minds and never brought into the workshop to be used for practical purposes…we are not as earnest as dying men ought to be.”
He goes on to say how Satan is aware of his shortness of time in both this world and in a person’s life therefore “his evil nature is all on fire, and his excitement is terrible.” And, “how much the shortness of our time ought to stir our hearts…to ardency of love and fervency of zeal…in our days of sojourning here!”
Bringing into the workshop what God has shown me; becoming more earnest with who I am; stirring the fire within my redeemed heart -this is what I need.
Here a few of the questions I’m taking to God as the new year begins:
What is it that you have put in me that I am not fully walking in and offering?
What parts of my life are not fully awake, alive and free?
What is the season that I am coming into?
What am I lacking at this point that I will need for this coming season?
Where I’m I still living out of duty, obligation, expectations, guilt, shame or pressure instead of love, generosity, grace and passion?
What have you put on my heart that it’s time has come?
How am I to walk with others differently?
Are their things in my life that are not to be brought into this next season?
What have you revealed to me that I have not picked up on, noticed, understood or embraced?
I want to encourage you to snatch some time away with God alone if you haven’t already. It may be for a few hours or a few days. It may be in your favorite coffee shop, in your car at your favorite overlook, in a hotel room or retreat center. You and God, away, alone for a longer-than-usual time is what is needed.
Stirring the fires of ardent love and fervent zeal,
Thank you for this inspiring post…its just what I’ve been looking for!
Rosa, I’m glad this was helpful.
Just a couple questions, should be able to bang these out in five minutes or so. Going to take these questions and my journal and invest; my problem is that I get stuck on the how.
All of the “He counsels, He guides, He equips, He fathers, He transforms, He …” have become so evident. Within that, as I walk, I cannot see the how. In this, He keeps providing the tools, resources and transformations needed for whatever the next thing is. These questions will be invaluable as my wife and I wait upon Him and show up with all we have where He has us now … our current assignment.
Gary, thank you for what you illuminate. Thank you for fighting for us. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
These questions would take hours to work through with God. I understand your “how” stuckness. I’m in the middle of “how is this suppose to play out God” question myself. Let’s hang in there with God together.
Thanks for sharing your heart with us, Gary! 2012 is going to be a year of prayer for me. God has spoken to me the last two years to study prayer and commit to a deeper prayer life. It didn’t happen, but this year it has to. There are just too many big decisions our family will have to make (education, financial, etc.) and the world will likely be in too much upheaval that, without a healthy prayer life, day to day will be impossible to navigate. I’m sure many of your questions will wander through my time with God as He and I journey through this next year. I’m so looking forward to “coming away” more.
I so appreciate your ministry and your heart for people, especially men. May 2012 be the absolute best for you, your family, and The Noble Heart!
Darren, thank you. I’m also being impressed with the need for more prayer.
Great questions here Gary. I could take a whole weekend with God unpacking those gifts for 2012. 🙂
I love this! A friend and I just read it out loud and went through the questions together! 😀
Utterly depleted this holiday season. Was just sharing with a friend…”Ugh…I need some time alone with God.” These questions are the perfect thing for me to sit and focus on with Him. Thanks for the guidance!
Forwarded your questions and web site to my community; it is generating interesting feedback. One development is what I’ll call “A Couple Good Words.” You once taught me to have folks sit and tell each person in their band the glory they see in them: That one suggestion generated life changing encouragement. Well, from today’s earlier email a friend and I started sharing with each other a couple goods words that describe the glory that we see in each other. It came about rather than we figured it out. We discovered two sets of words: those of condemnation, originated from the very pit of hell; those that speak of our true identity, the ones that reflect God’s design for us.
I’d share the words my friend gave me and it would seem like hubris to say them on my own–I will remember and cherish his words for me. Being the quiet type I am going to encourage people in my community to speak a couple good words into people they know, honest, true observations. Who knows, it may be a spark to encourage someone to freedom or even to walk into their glory. It is a small thing and maybe a couple good words could spur another on to amazing things.
Thank you for all you do.
PS – In you I see courage, compassion, humility, equipping, skill, inspiration and wisdom.
I love the questions and will be using them w/ a group of men (and for me) in the morning at 7a.m. If you can hear this and receive it, I just want you to know that I value your heart & life. Thanks for being in the arena.
Those are some fantastic questions. One of those alone would give me some great away time with God.
God, where are you working that I am not seeing? What is keeping me from seeing you? I think my answer tends to be that I am looking for God to bless my plans, rather than me looking to see where He is working, where He may be leading. Quite the shift for my 2011 to realize the difference.
A year ago for Christmas I received your book and really, really enjoyed it. I re-read it again this past week. It gave me some good re-orientation for 2011 and better vision and possibly some clarity for 2012. I plan to read it every December to get alert and oriented!
Blessings and best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year!