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First Things First

Posted by on January 5, 2016

2016

Now that we’ve made it past that depressing week between Christmas and New Years, I can honestly say I’m excited about the New Year and the possibility of a fresh start.  I feel optimistic that this time around I can lose those extra pounds, get organized once and for all, send thank you notes on time, remember passwords, potty train the toddler, and finally figure out a cleaning and laundry system around here that actually works. Get ready, World, for a new, streamlined, efficient and capable Debra.

But first things first. How about I start this New Year off by taking my Savior’s advice to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”? In fact, now that I think about it, this is where I got side tracked last year. I neglected my personal devotion time, and cut down on the time I spent in God’s Word. The funny thing is, at the time, I knew exactly what was happening. I knew I was getting sucked into that trap of self-reliance, deceiving myself into thinking that I was in charge even though all evidence pointed to the contrary.

Is it any wonder that 2015 was a year of struggle for me?  I finally came to my senses one morning in late November. I realized the one thing that had been missing from my daily life was the one thing I need most. I found a read-the-Bible-in-one-year version of the Bible at a thrift store and bought it. I carried it home and set it on my nightstand, confident that this was just the tool I needed to get back on track. It would be so easy to track my progress, and it was. Unfortunately, that meant it was also easy to see how quickly I fell behind. Once again, I wasn’t making time for God. Once again, other things were crowding Him out.

I consoled myself with this thought: God knows my heart and my intentions. But that was little consolation. Yes, God does know my heart, and that means He knows how often He comes in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or worse. I can tell myself He comes first, but that doesn’t make it true, especially when my thoughts and actions don’t support it. Yes, even when I’m in denial, He knows.

And that’s not how I want it to be. I want Him to be my first and last thought of each day. I want to need Him like I need oxygen, to crave time with Him because I can’t get enough of Him. I want to know His Word backward and forward, inside and out so I can confidently share it with others. I want to put first things first.

There’s nothing wrong with my other resolutions. I still hope I can see some positive change in those areas as the year progresses. But my greatest need is Jesus, and the most important thing to me is to grow in grace and knowledge of my Savior. Without that, life is pretty empty. I could accomplish everything else on my New Year’s list, and on the outside I’d look like an athletic, efficient, successful person and a good mom. Inside, however, I’d be falling apart.

So here and now I resolve to put first things first. Every day. Not to give the impression that I’m a good person, because that’s not the truth. Not to merely put forth my intention, because God knows the truth. But to remind myself – on the days I succeed and on the days I fail – that there is one thing I need. Just one.

By God’s grace, that I will seek. 

 

 

 

 

11 Responses to First Things First

  1. Cathy C. Hall

    And may we both be successful in our seeking. After all, pounds always come back, dishes always need cleaning. But God’s always and forever waiting for us. Seems a lot more important that we show up for Him! :-)

    • Debra

      So true, Cath…both the depressing part about the pounds and dishes, as well as the amazing part that God is always there. :) Love and New Year’s Blessings to you!

  2. Jennifer Schaller

    I did well last fall with Bible reading/journaling with my cup of tea before the house woke up. I missed it if it didn’t happen. Well, yesterday I picked up my journal and my last entry was December 4th. A whole month had gone by! Late bedtimes get me the most, but why can’t I then do a 10:20 a.m. reading, or a 3:15 p.m.?!? I was happy to get back to it yesterday and today, and use that memory of feeling good and ready to start my day as enticement on the mornings I don’t want to get up to my alarm. God help us both!

    • Debra

      Funny how that happens, isn’t it? I always feel surrounded by so much peace when I’m in the Word, and yet I get out of the habit so quickly. I’ll pray we both make time for our devotions and the blessings that come through them. Happy New Year, Jen!

  3. Ann Duncan

    Amen! It’s too easy to put God on the back burner until your house is on fire!
    Thanks for another great post!
    Happy New Year!

    • Debra

      Well said, Ann! I am hoping I can remember to seek Him BEFORE I hit crisis mode. Happy New Year and love to you and Bill!

  4. Linda O'Connell

    I always say, God didn’t leave you, you left Him. Jesus is always there. This post was a good reminder. Blessings to you and yours.

    • Debra

      Thanks, Linda! I’ll have to remember that one. New Year’s Blessings to you and yours as well!

  5. Heidi Nelson

    Debra,
    I’m the 1st Heidi Nelson. I’m the sister of Barb, Connie Mark and David (Bernthal) Thought it would be good to read other people thoughts. I’m not much of a writer because my spelling and grammar stop me. I have lots of thoughts and would love to put on paper. Like I’ve said I write wonderfully in my head but it never comes out the same on paper. Looking forward in reading your
    blog

    • Debra

      Hi, Heidi! It’s nice to hear from you! I wouldn’t let spelling and grammar stop you from writing – those are easy fixes. Plus, my experience with writing is that if I don’t get those thoughts out and on paper they will NOT leave me alone. :) Hope you go for it, and thanks for stopping by my blog!

  6. Lisa Ricard Claro

    A timely reminder and pertinent scolding, cushioned with your usual kind understanding and couched in your own experience. No wonder you have such great kids, if you offer them advice in this same way.

    I do morning affirmations (in writing, of course), and one of the things I always write is “I will get out of your way.” A daily reminder that I have to fall back and let Him lead.

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