Well, it’s that time again! December has come to an end and it’s time to think about resolutions for next year. First and foremost, I want 2009 to be marked by a deeper, richer relationship with Jesus Christ. I would also be thrilled if I could shed the baby bump that has no baby.
For those in servant leadership, the beginning of a New Year is important both personally and within the life of the church. In the same way we resolve to make positive changes spiritually and physically, we are often involved in planning and revitalizing activities within The Body to preserve and enhance its health.
It is so easy to get caught up in our congregation’s growth and neglect our own. I get many emails from ministry wives who feel they are working themselves to death for God and the benefit of His people and yet feel very far from Him. I can relate on so many levels to women who feel this way. It is a constant struggle for Luke and I to prevent our work from becoming just that – work.
For ministry spouses and lay people alike, I can’t think of a better time of year to get our heads on straight in prioritizing our relationship with Christ. I’m a girl who needs practical advice to stay on track (or return to it when I’ve strayed miserably), so allow me to share five ways to rejuvenate your walk with Christ in 2009:
- Give yourself the gift of 15 minutes in the morning for prayer. You’ve heard it before: “Start your day with God!” I’d love to give you some new insight here but truth is there isn’t any. I’m the world’s worse to jump straight out of bed and rush into my family’s morning routine but when I do, my whole family suffers for it. If you can be intentional about giving yourself 15 minutes before you wake the kids to get on your face and ask for God’s mercy and the Holy Spirit’s filling, you’ll be the calmer for it. I’m two different women with and without my morning prayers!
One other note here: You’ll find you love this time so much you may even be tempted to run the clock back 30 minutes instead.
- Follow a Bible-in-a-Year Reading Program.Okay, it’s time for some truth-telling. How many times have you closed your eyes, flipped open the Bible and pointed your finger at the page to choose your reading for the day? My Bible has a daily reading plan in the back but there are also many online resources to follow. The thing I love about the BIY is the systematic way it leads through the entirety – and consequently the oft overlooked treasures – of Scripture. It is also a much more trustworthy guide than your finger!
- Journal, journal, journal.I can wholeheartedly say that journaling has been the primary way that God has spoken to me in my devotional life. Those beloved books are now a chronicle of Christian growth that I refer back to often when I need encouragement or reminders of Scripture God has used to minister to my heart. How to begin? Choose one verse that resonates with you out of your daily Bible reading. Write three sentences about what insights you have about it. If your experience is anything like my own, you’ll soon find yourself filling pages with words that are straight from the Holy Spirit to you.
- Facilitate a Women’s Bible Study Group. I love teaching and facilitating women’s Bible study groups! I would love to be pious and tell you that I do this strictly for the benefit of others, but the reality is that I am a more spiritually fit individual under obligation. I study much harder when I am in a season of teaching and even though it is a lot of work, the extra time in the Word makes me a better woman. Do you find your study has been shallow? Don’t wait until you feel like a spiritual giant to lead a group. Ask God if He would have you do this for your sake and the sake of the women who will reap the reward from your own desire to grow deeper in God’s Word.
- Always Remember to Feed Yourself First.Much is expected from women in church leadership but you can’t give what you don’t have. The most vital thing you can do to serve your congregation well is to see to your own spiritual well-being first. Be a well-watered woman who splashes joy onto others instead of allowing needs and demands to suck you dry. Christ is our wellspring and as long as we abide in Him, we’ll never experience drought.
Girls, I pray your 2008 was filled with wonderful memories and that you look forward to 2009 as a year of fresh opportunity to serve your God, your family, and your church. For more encouragement and camaraderie, I would love for you to visit my personal blog, The Preacher’s Wife!
©2009, Lisa McKay