Monday, January 5, 2009

Regrets & Resolutions

I am so blessed to host "At The Well" this week. The topic is REGRETS and RESOLUTIONS. Won't you join us today with your thoughts, traditions and opinions on the subject?

Here are the discussion questions:

The New Year is a time for us to let go of the past and look forward to newness. Everyone thinks about that differently. Answer any one of these questions, all the below, or just give your thoughts about the New Year.

1. What is your favorite "resolution" in the Bible?

2. Do you do a New Year's resolution? Why or why not? Does your family make a resolution together?

3. Usually a resolution comes as a result of regretting something you didn't do the year before. How do you let go of the regret and move forward?

4. (optional...only if you wish to share) Have you ever made a resolution inthe past that you didn't keep and wish you had?

I'm going to share my thoughts by posting a devo/challenge I sent to my website ministry recipients yesterday. It expresses my heart on the subject. The only other thing I would like to add is that my biggest regrets over the past year are when I have grieved the Holy Spirit with my thoughts, words and actions (or the lack thereof). I'm so thankful for His gift of grace and forgiveness, but I hope as I keep in step with Him, I will grieve Him less this year...

CLAUS-trophibic, updated 2009

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Psalm 51:10

The day after Christmas, I was cleaning up stuff. Clutter. Junk. I’m not referring to the gifts we received. Rather, the mound of things in the closets and the cabinets with which I would replace those gifts. I was feeling “Closet-trophobic,” if you will.

I found myself seething over the mess I’d allowed to accumulate around my house. Getting more emotional by the moment, I was doing the opposite of whistling while I worked. The Grinch was in the Shaw home, and she was cleaning house.

Here it is a New Year, and I have a similar spout of impatience over the state of my heart. It is cluttered and crowded—claustrophobic. It hasn’t been maintained well. The junk has piled up and is in desperate need of attention.

While so many are making resolutions, I cannot even go there. It would only be a list of more things to “try to do well.” You know? More routines started that will not be finished, more promises made that will not be kept--All of it adding to the mound of my spiritual chaos.

God is so good to keep His resolution to me in my desperate moments. The reason I share my weaknesses is because I know all of us have them. His promise to us no matter what state we are in is that HE is the One who is always faithful, and HE will do the work in us if we let Him. (1st Thessalonians 5:24)

Each year for the past four years, instead of coming up with a New Year’s resolution, I have found a better solution for me is to adopt a Scripture verse for the coming year--something that God lays on my heart that will help me to grow in some way or another.

In 2005, it was Psalm 119:29 of the NLT: “Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.” It was a year of heavy introspection and sanctification. Little did I know how much I would need it for the future…

In 2006, the 1st Thessalonians verse from above impacted me in ways I cannot even put into words: “The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” Wow, did I need that one during the year that Brian’s dad got sick, his Granddad came to live with us and my mother passed away.

The difficult times in 2006 led me to this verse to adopt for 2007, where the trials would continue: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10, NIV. Somehow in the midst of the long season of suffering and loss our family was going through, God continually reminded me of His promise to make our lives full and complete. We lost Brian’s granddad in our home in April, and Brian’s dad passed away just before Christmas. It was one of the heaviest years our family has ever experienced, and honestly, we’re still recuperating (and learning) from it.

This past year, labeled 2008—I cannot describe in words, and if I could, I would. It was a time of re-learning what the word “normal” means and discovering that there really is no such thing. Each month of the year provided a “new normal” for us. The verse God gave in January was different, in that He gave me three verses to cling to: Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV): “I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.”

So at this present moment, this time to reflect and let down from my spiritual CLAUS-trophobia, what would God have me consider? If I am in keeping with the last four years’ verses, being honest with myself, submitting to the Lord’s faithful promise to do the work in the fullness and newness of Life He provides, what now?

In the Lord’s perfect wisdom, He has led me to a verse for 2009 that is a passionate cry of my heart:

“Teach me Your way, O LORD, and I will walk in Your Truth;
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.”

Psalm 86:11 (NIV)

I believe this is a year of simplifying, weeding out distractions, and allowing Him to teach me new things about Himself. Honestly, I believe He gave me this verse out of necessity for my emotional, physical and spiritual health. It may take the whole year or even longer, but the decisions and commitments I make will be a direct result of keeping in tune with this prayer.

How about you? Would you be up for the challenge of adopting a verse for this year? Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

The key to every kept resolution and promise is the power of His Word unlocked and flowing in your life and mine.

He is so much more interested in our submission to Him than He is to our keeping the rules we make up for ourselves. (see 1 Samuel 15:22) A side note: Our family is in the process of choosing a FAMILY VERSE for the year as well. Each member of the family (10 years old and up) has been searching for a verse that they think would be good for our family to adopt this year. We’re going to put each of them in a hat (after I look over them to make sure they’re legit), and choose randomly which one to adopt for the year. I’m looking forward to this new tradition in our family.

If the closets of your heart are as cluttered and crowded as mine, take a moment to allow the Lord to do some re-organizing. Pray. Ask. Listen. Then submit. He is ready and willing to create in us a “pure heart,” and renew in us a “steadfast spirit,” creating a year that is clutter-free and full of Himself, allowing us to live and move and breathe freely in Him. I’m counting on it.

So what are your thoughts? Share' em. And please know, I don't think there is anything wrong with resolutions at all...I am just speaking from the perspective of LauraLee, wired extremely unique--lee... :)

Dear Lord, thank You for all of Your promises kept, Your resolutions unbroken, Your regrets non-existent. I pray that You would have us beg for more of You this year as we seek to follow You and keep Your Word. More than asking for physical blessings, I pray for Your spiritual blessing on each one of us. It is in Your name that we live and move and pray, Amen.

In the Key of HE,

16 friends shared a comment:

jcdisciple said...

Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your honesty. I could relate to so much of what you said. 2008 was my year to de-clutter and simplify, although I have to constantly pick up and pull weeds daily to ensure that clutter doesn't start building up again. IN 2009 I feel like I want to begin organizing and ordering what the Lord gave me *the gifts* to replace the clutter and put them into useful service for Him.

Thanks again for hosting "At the Well" today.

Amanda B.

a woman found said...

LauraLee, I don't know if I'll get to post today at the Well, though I really want to, but I just wanted to say you've spoken my heart in this post!

This year the verse the Lord has given me is 2 Corinthians 7:1, about riding MYSELF of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit...

The key, "Work on yourself Sheila, not on making others, especially your own husband rid of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit."

If I had to sum it up in my words I'd say 2008 ended with the Lord reducing me to a "remnant" spiritually and leaving me with a very fine amount of refined faith... mustard seed sized. I don't think that the refining is over either. But He's brought me down to the point of wanting to be singleminded... an undivided heart to do His will. Not if my husband does this or that, or if my children respond this way, or if I get to be home full time, or if teaching my boys is going well... not dependent upon my circumstances or what God will do in my life this year, but just upon WHO HE IS!!!

Oh, I want to bring Him glory in the secret places of my heart this year, so that whatever I do it'll be for an audience of One!

I just LOVE YOU! Thank you for sharing your life with us!


Tracy Berta-daughter to the King, wife, mother, speaker, writer said...

LauraLee, this was beautiful- thank you for sharing your heart so honestly. I, too, am being led to declutter and SIMPLIFY. God has whispered, "go back to the 'basics'." I read this morning that God is not a God of chaos, but order and I am again convicted of clearing away the chaos of my life!

I can't wait to write about this topic. Thanks for hosting "At the Well" and thanks for sharing your beautiful heart!

Many blessings to you and your family for this New Year!

Yvonne said...

Lalee, you have such a sweet, humble spirit. I like your idea of choosing a family verse for the year.

Patty Wysong said...

This is so good, Laura, encouraging and thought provoking. Thank you!

Laurie Ann said...

LauraLee, how your post ministered to me! I cannot believe all that you've been through, and I love how the Lord has given you a verse each year. I think it's a great idea to adopt a verse for the year. Mine is: "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." ~ Colossians 4:2 (NIV)

The Greek word devote means: 1) to adhere to one, be his adherent, to be devoted or constant to one

2) to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing

3) to continue all the time in a place

4) to persevere and not to faint

5) to show one's self courageous for

6) to be in constant readiness for one, wait on constantly

As you know, this is what I've been called to do this year! So this verse is perfect for that.

lori said...

Any post that speaks of "reorganizing" has my attention....We are standing in the same place and I linked the thoughts that just FIT from the other day...I don't resolve to do anything but PRAY and hopefully DO what the Lord calls me to do...opening and SAVORING these gifts He's bestowed on us...
Funny thing, my Jan HOTM article (out Jan 8) is on using these GIFTS that didn't arrive wrapped under a tree, but come on a cross...

Sister, we stand in the same place this New Year....peace and we'll PURSUE HIS PURPOSE (that hangs in my Hayden's room for both of us:))

Peace and JOY!!!


Rebecca said...

Not only am I with you in spirit, I'm with you physically clearing out rooms in our house. :)

I loved your idea of letting the kids pick a verse for the next year and drawing one. It's one I'll store away until the kids are a bit older.

Love what's on your heart, as always, Rebecca

Debra said...


My son came to me first with his scripture verse for the year and his is Jer 33:3 "call to Me and I will answer you". He said it really spoke to his heart about remember how easy it is to just speak the name of Jesus and He is there.

I am still prayerful about my verse for this year. My life verse has been Isa 41:10. It has held me together knowing that I am upheld in my Saviors righteous right hand.

I loved your post, sweet friend. Thank you for your words of comfort. Hugs to you.

Tracy said...

What a wonderful post (as usual)! This was filled with wisdom, truth and a whole lot of heart! I'm not much of a resolution maker either, but this year I resolved to examine my foundation regularly and attend to it as needed!

This is the first year that I've chosen a theme/scripture and I'm so glad that I have. I put it at the top of my blog, so I'll see it regularly. It is 'Stay the Course, Look Forward, Press On, Receive the Prize' with Phil. 3:13-14, "Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."

Blessings, my friend!

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

I've written a post, "My Non-Resolution" on my blog and linked it to yours. Thanks for your transparency and the encouragement to seek direction from Scripture.

Peter Stone said...

Great post, Laura, I love the idea of using a Bible verse as a theme for our goals in the coming year. So important to build our lives on His word, and not on our own ideas.
This year God's been teaching me about the power of His grace. 2 Cor 12:9
God bless

Joanne Sher said...

I also love this, Laura. Excellent

Cheri said...

My verse for 2009 is Psalm 46:10: "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

My song (it changes frequently, since I LOVE music)... but for now it is Steven Curtis Chapman's "Cinderella," since it is the song my daughter danced with her daddy to at her wedding on New Year's Day this year! She is married almost a week! (How can I be that old?)

I loved your post and can relate to needing to simplify my life; hence the verse ~ BE STILL! I hear Him telling me to concentrate on Him and not the busy things that take me away from Him. I need to be Mary and not Martha.

I too need to get rid of clutter, but I think His simplifying of me for 2009 goes even to a more basic spiritual level... simplifying on the inside. The outside will come, when it won't distract me from His inside work.

Hope this makes sense.

Hugs and Happy New Year!

PS - I accidentally linked myself twice... not sure how to erase it. Help! =)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

"He is so much more interested in our submission to Him than He is to our keeping the rules we make up for ourselves."

Amen! I feel the same way about our spiritual "to do" lists. They can, indeed, be our cluttering, and consequently, our guilt! Not what God intended for us. Instead, he asks us to ever be "pressing into" Him and seeking him in all things. That is truly when our hearts experience the wholeness you're talking about instead of the division.

I think you've picked the perfect verse for the season you're in. Keep to it. Unity with Jesus.


Betsy Markman said...

"He is so much more interested in our submission to Him than He is to our keeping the rules we make up for ourselves." What a powerful, God-centered truth! I love it!