Do you talk with God? Or do you talk at Him or to Him?
How much of your prayer life, your conversations with God, is about you? You talking. What you want or need. What you think should happen.
When you’re listening, are you interested in what’s on God’s mind? Or are you really just listening for God to talk about the subjects you choose?
I mostly talk at God. That’s a 99-percent most. God usually can’t get a word in edgewise in “our” conversations. I’m talking. And I’m talking about what I need and what I want, as if they are somehow different, and as if I know better than God what I need.
“Hey God. I’m not interested in that subject. Why do you keep bringing it up?”
But once a year, at the beginning of December, I make an extra effort to get over myself. I ask God, “What do you have planned for us next year?”
It’s like asking your father, “Hey, Dad! What are we going to do this weekend?”
2010 in One Word
So, even though I’m not your father, you should do this:
Ask the Holy Spirit what He has in store for you in 2010. Ask Him to give you a one-word theme for the upcoming year. Not a phrase, not a statement, just a single word.
That last sentence is more for you than for the Holy Spirit. He knows what’s going on.
But this is for you – One Word. It’s a document for you to download, written by Dan Britton, Senior Vice President of Ministry Programs for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
One Word contains suggestions to help you make this “one word” thing a spiritual discipline rather than some nifty hoot of an idea that will quickly fade away like a worn out New Year’s resolution.
This practice of asking God for His yearly theme in my life gives me strength in the tough times. It renews my spirit, giving me a sense of purpose when I feel hopeless, annoyed, angry, afraid … anything but in control and confident.
It helps me stay connected with Christ and His plans for me throughout the year. Not perfectly, but definitely in times I probably would not.
Every year, with a little prayer time, I have found God eager to tell me what He has in store for me in the following year.
Remember this, and I can’t emphasize it enough, you’re not choosing a word. The Holy Spirit is giving it to you.
In 2009, the Holy Spirit laid the growth card on me. And when I told you about it last December, I said it sounded painful.
Well, 2009 wasn’t really painful. But it wasn’t easy either. I got to grow through a lot of old habits and immaturity.
And even though 2009 is almost over, the growth isn’t. The words the Holy Spirit shares with us each year establish the foundation for the words we get in the future, which means I’m going to be growing the rest of my life. Duh!
For me, 2009 was a year to begin getting beyond my “only child” behavior, which tells people the world revolves around me and they should wise up, stop resisting and get with the program.
It seems I’ve made a little progress, because for next year God’s word to me is:
It sounds promising.
In case you’re curious, before I was promoted to lessons on growth, the Holy Spirit gave me lessons on obedience (2006), relationships (2007) and reconciliation (2008).