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Happy New Year, SHINE!
As the New Year rings in, we start a new path.
Don't you just love fresh starts? A new calendar, a new plan, a new outlook.
For the last month or so, my heart has been in heavy prayer over the direction of SHINE for this year. I was feeling the nudge for change, just not sure where God was leading.
Sometimes, He doesn't let you know the plan until the very last hour. Can you relate?
Most New Years I am determined to get healthier, learn more, do more, blah blah blah.
However, this year it's different.
Yes, I want to be healthier. Yes, I want to learn more. Yes, I want to do more.
However, that's not my goal for this season in life.
Let me explain...
God created SHINE in January of 2012. It was an awakening for me. I was awakened to God's glorious Word.
The entire year of 2012 was exciting, adventurous, and very much full of ups and down, turns and spins. Our family changed drastically that year. The Rock that held us together was His Word. His Truth. He pointed the way so clearly for us. I look back on that year and envision the title of my life story being, "Part Two."
When I began to read His Word, everything changed. Everything.
As 2013 rolled in, things were starting to settle. The newness of the changes started to wear off, and I felt a deep peace about where I was spiritually for the first time in my entire life.
I envision 2013 as a time of consistency and deep dependency on Him. I anchored down with Him, and floated freely and peacefully on the waves of His plan for me that year. Many times He asked me to trust Him in what He was doing. I didn't always understand or agree, but I took His hand and followed. Oh, I am so glad I did!
At the end of that year, I felt a spiritual exhaustion. Although, I had such a peace in His Presence, I felt burnt out. I was absolutely worn slap out.
I took a break from everything at the end of that year. Teaching, writing, mentoring...all of it. I was tired. I had nothing else to give.
I remember thinking I had done something wrong, or that I was out of His will for me to be so exhausted. Many days I cried out to Him asking Him if He was disappointed in me.
He gently reminded me that He wanted me to "be still." He reminded me that I had followed His leading, and now it was time to rest.
As 2014 rolled in, I felt an excitement I had not felt before. I had such a deep passion and craving to know Him more.
The stillness and the rest brought on the greatest spiritual awakening to His Word that I had ever known.
Looking back, I see His plan so clearly. If I would not have rested, I never would have been in a place of refreshment, revival, and renewal.
Oh, how He knows what we need.
I dove deep into His Word, studying, praying, devouring His Holy Word like never before. If I had a word picture for this past year, it would be sitting under a huge gigantic oak tree at the feet of Jesus. Soaking up His Word and His teaching. Scribbling notes as fast as possible as He showed me day by day the hidden treasures of His word.
Which brings me to this year, 2015.
Going back to the beginning of this post about my plans for this year....
Yes, I want to be healthy. However, the reasons are different this year. I want to be healthy so that I will wake up and feel refreshed and revived to benefit those around me. I want to have the energy and the stamina to life joyfully with a spring in my step every single day. It's not about being a certain size this year, or a certain weight. It's about taking care of my temple so that I can have the stamina to serve others.
Yes, I want to learn more. However, the reasons are different this year. I want to use what He has taught me this past year. I want to pour out what He has so gracefully poured in. It's not about being puffed up with knowledge, but about being poured out by His Grace.
Yes, I want to do more. However, the reasons are different this year. I want to pour out into others lives to help them to do more. I want to do more by helping others, encouraging others, serving others. I want my "do more" to not be about me, but about helping others "do more".
Lastly, I want to be present. I want to live this precious life full in each moment. I have a tendency to think too much. I over-think and then I lose the enjoyment of the present.
The verse the Lord keeps bringing to my attention is this:
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" Philippians 4: 4
I want to live this.
I want to rejoice in Him every single moment.
I want to pour out praise for ALL that He has poured into me these last 3 years.
How about you? What is He whispering to your heart today?
Your journey is probably different than mine. Oh, but how precious and unique is His plan for you!
Open His Word, and ask Him to speak.
When He does, rejoice! And follow.
On to the new reading plan...
We will be reading the Bible chronologically. This is a two year plan. It is very doable and requires only about 2 chapters a day of reading. You can download the plan into your IBooks, as an app, bookmark it, or use as a PDF to print out and check off each day....you choose!
Here is the link to our new plan....
Grab a friend and read it together. At the end of 2 years, you will be so glad you did!
Ready? The plan starts today. Go, read.