I always say that I am not going to make New Year’s Resolutions but then in the back of my mind once the clock strikes "12" I find a million and one things that I need to change and end up not doing any of them. But, this morning as I opened up my prayer journal I saw a post-it-note that had a year written on it and then a declaration. I lifted the post-it-note to find 6 other post it notes attached to it all with different years and different declarations. When I read each declaration I could pin point exactly what I did and how with God’s help I decreed and declared it and it actually manifested over my life.
In 2012, I declared that it would be “The Year of Change”… I cut my hair and changed my perception of how I viewed myself. I slowly made changes to my behavior and how I interacted with people. I slowly became okay with spending time by myself and embracing the simple things in life. I was changing myself one day at a time by focusing on self love and developing a personal relationship with God. 2013, I declared that it would be “The Year of Patience”… I meditated heavily on the scripture Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. With everything I was trying to pursue and accomplish I made sure to keep my focus on being Patient. 2014, I declared that it would be “The Year of Growth”… I wanted to grow spiritually, emotionally and mentally. I yearned desperately for me to become a better woman. I wanted to grow in my thinking and in my actions. I wanted to learn and grow to be a good future wife and mom and I wanted God to show me how to be able to handle it all across the board. 2015, I declared that it would be “The Year of Obedience”… Learning Obedience was by far I believe the hardest thing for me to do because I didn’t have a clue of where to start. I had to learn how to practice being obedient immediately and not hesitate then decide to do what God tells me to do afterward. I learned how to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and recognize when I am being nudged to take immediate action even when I don’t understand why God is asking me to do such a thing. 2016, I declared that it would be “The Year of Reaping”… Reaping in any way that God saw fit. I knew that over the years I had sown many seeds and through those seeds God would bless me. I continually thanked God in advanced for however the reaping would occur because I knew that God’s Word is true and it says…”He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” 2 Corinthians 9:6. Lastly 2017, I declared that it would be “The Year of Action”… I prayed and asked God to not allow me to act prematurely and make any move too soon. I prayed for guidance through every decision and I prayed as I began to walk in my Purpose that God would grant me Favor to walk with humility, boldness and confidence.
So, today is the first day of 2018 and God has placed it on my heart to decree and declare this year as being the “The Year of Listening”… Yes, listening. Having a keen ear to the Holy Spirit and Listening at every moment, about every single thing for direction and guidance. I want to be “Quick” to listen to the Holy Spirit and “Slow” to do things my way. I want to be in a completely renewed place in my heart and mind to hear clearly from the Holy Spirit and know that it is GOD. Listening to the Holy Spirit sounds close to Obedience but in my mind You must learn to listen BEFORE you can even attempt to be obedient.
Listening seems like it should be easy to do but I know that this may top the charts of being my hardest declaration right next to “The Year of Obedience” because this year I must change what I know as normal.
One thing I must do as a prerequisite before I can officially be a Listener of the Holy Spirit is I must be deeply connected to God daily and that starts with my prayer life. See, my biggest down fall is only praying when I am in trouble and getting too comfortable with God when everything is going good in my life. When everything is good, I tend to not give God as much time as I should or pray like I know how and that makes it hard to hear from God when he speaks.
Have you ever fallen off from praying? Does it feel crazy hard to get back in the groove of things? But wait; once you get back in the groove of things…Do you seem to fall off yet again, it’s like a cycle huh? In my life the cycle goes like this… I have this big issue I’m facing and I need God to help me, with tears in my eyes the first day of reconnecting with God I pray pray pray my heart out, I find new scriptures to read and I feel like I’m doing everything right. Days pass by and I can see God working on my behalf and Life seems to be all good again. I find myself happy, laughing, and full of joy then there goes my prayer life going downhill again. The everyday reading my bible in the morning turns to maybe opening it once a week but getting distracted and not finishing the passage, or writing in my prayer journal once out of the month and not really having much to say. I must break this cycle and I must create a new normal BEFORE I can be ready to Listen to the Spirit.
In order for me to be ready to LISTEN to the Holy Spirit effectively I must connect with God when things are going “good and bad” and make that my New Normal. Also, In order for me to be ready to LISTEN to the Holy Spirit effectively it will require me to totally disconnect and re-prioritize my life. You know sometimes we can get so involved in doing the same thing day in and day out that we lose Focus on what is important in life. One way I choose to disconnect and re-prioritize my life is starting with what gets too much of my time...and that is Social Media. I never really realized how much of my TIME is consumed with social media even when it is for a positive purpose or even when I am utilizing it to give God the glory. So I decided to deactivate my accounts for a while and use that TIME to focus on growing closer to God by deliberately setting time out to pray, understand the Word of God and also finding other ways to grow by purchasing new Books to read that can feed my spirit.
Another way to disconnect and re-prioritize my life so that I can be ready to listen effectively is actually making the effort to hear the Word of God in church. Yes, physically going to church. I am going to be honest, my husband and I have probably only been to church about 5 times maybe 7 max in 2017; which is not good at all because God has been too good to us. God has blessed us beyond measures and the least we can do is get up and give Him time in church. But the truth is, I never really paid it any attention that we have been missing in action at church because I listen to sermons on You Tube almost every day BUT there goes social media again… I have gotten so accustom to listening to sermons on You Tube on a regular basis that I have totally taken the physical action of going to church out. I know that Fellowship with other believers is very necessary in growing with God. So we must make the sacrifice to Give God Time like we make time for everything else. So creating a new normal will start with physically attending a few Thursday night services, still listening to sermons during the week to keep my spirit fed and helping my husband and I make it a priority to get up and go to service on Sundays.
With these small but major changes to my normal routine, it will help me connect with God on a deeper level, have intimacy with Him and learn how I can be more Christ like in every area of my life by Listening for his direction. Changing my normal will help my ability to walk in Love the same way God loves me and others, it will give me a sense of discernment to know how to handle problems and boost my confidence in knowing that what I am doing is in divine order for the destiny God created for me and Listen for guidance.
So as I plan to walk into 2018, I must never forget what I have learned from every year that came before it. I decree and declare that this Year will be a Phenomenal “Year of Listening” and as I prepare myself to be Ready to Listen to the Holy Spirit I will first change my normal and disconnect and re-prioritize my life and never again become comfortable and lazy with ONLY giving God His Time when things are not going well and I need him. But actually incorporating all of my years of learning:
How to Change
How to be Patient
How to Grow
How to be Obedient
How to endure the season of Sowing to receive the season of Reaping
and How to take Action.
With all of these learning lessons combined it will ultimately help me in this New Year of 2018 to become a Listener of the Holy Spirit, a better Follower of Christ and a More Obedient Woman of God.