Hello beautiful friends! It seems like a whole year has passed since I talked to you last (new year jokes, y'all)! January has come and gone and with the ripped pages of my calendar, unfortunately, are some ripped resolutions that didn't make it past month one. Am I speaking anyone else's language?
Something I've noticed this past month is that everyone starts off the new year full of energy and hope and ready to make changes, make dreams come true, and make a difference. Then, life happens. The newness of our lifestyle changes wears off and they either become a chore or a routine. The bright, refreshing hope we started the year off with begins to dim and before we know it, we're looking back on our craziest week thinking, "Man, I need an attitude adjustment." Let's be honest, no one starts off January needing a new attitude. Once life really gets started is when we realized we messed up and here we are in pit of self-pity because we can't follow through with anything or we're unhappy with our circumstances or x, y, and z.
I'm right there with you, friend.
A few days ago, I was catching up my reading in the devotional book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young and what it said just hit me right between the eyes:
"Give up the illusion that you deserve a problem-free life. Part of you is still hungering for the resolution of all difficulties. This is a false hope! As I told my disciples, in the world you will have trouble. Link our hope not to problem solving in this life but to the promise of an eternity of problem-free life in heaven. Instead of seeing perfection in this fallen world, pour your energy into seeking Me: the Perfect One.
It is possible to enjoy Me and glorify Me in the midst of adverse circumstances. In fact, My Light shines most brightly through believers who trust Me in the dark. That kind of trust is supernatural: a production of My indwelling Spirit. When things seems all wrong, trust Me anyway. I am much less interested in right circumstances than in right responses to whatever comes your way." John 16:33, Psalm 112:4,7
This past month, I've been so focused on making sure all the circumstances were fair or lined up with what I had envisioned or expected that I lost sight of what was really important: not the circumstances themselves but my attitude and reaction to those circumstances. Negative Nancy was back and she was taking no prisoners.
After the Lord convicted the mess out of me (because, honestly, subtle hints have never been my strong suit), I began to ask Him what He wanted me to do to change it because that's how a relationship with the Lord works. It's not all about going to church, doing and saying the right things, not doing this or that. Rather, it's about the work you do with the Lord daily. (If you don't do the work, you'll never get better.) Now, I was not excited about asking the Lord for one more thing for me to do. Not even a little bit and when I heard it, I was even less excited because that meant I would for real have to change my attitude. For all of my fellow teachers, this might sound a little familiar but it's so simple and has completely changed the way I've been viewing even the craziest days and weeks.
The 3-2-1 Challenge:
3- List three things you are thankful for today. It can be as simple as thanking Jesus for coffee or the good parking spot or as profound as thanking Him for a promotion or His peace in a stressful situation.
2- List two things you learned today. Write about a lesson you learned or something about the character of the Lord. It could be that you learned more about the Lord's patience or you learned that y=mx+b and it just blew your mind.
1- Spend at least one minute in prayer. There's a lot you can say in one minute and I'm not at all saying that you should just spend one minute in prayer. This is the minimum. If you are feeling led to change that one minute to ten or an hour, go for it! He wants to communicate with you! If you don't know what you could possibly say for one minute, go back and thank Him for the things you've already written down. Most importantly, ask the Lord to open your eyes to what He has for you tomorrow. He's got something special for you each and everyday.
That's it. Simple enough, right?! So here's the challenge: We've already talked about how we stink at making resolutions for the whole year. Why don't we make a commitment to do the 3-2-1 Challenge at the end of every day for a month. A month sounds do-able, right? And plus, it's February so there's only 28 days. I think you can do it.
If it takes buying a special journal and fancy pen for your 3-2-1 Challenge (right here, my hand is raised), then do it! If you need a more extrinsic reward like a piece of chocolate or cup of coffee, go for it.
I'm making this commitment and I hope you will join me in this challenge. I'd love to hear what you guys are learning and how you're growing through this. So, to keep in touch through the process, you can share your thoughts/pictures/whatever on the Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter (links to each of those sites can be found on the side bar) OR you can use #321Challenge! I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for each of us this month!
So get your journals ready and get ready to 3-2-1!
I am currently a student learning more about life and Jesus' marvelous love and boundless grace.