For a good decade, my New Year's resolution was to drink more water. Growing up, most of the water I drank was slurped from the hose (mmm poisony) or mixed with off-brand Kool-Aid, so it was quite the undertaking for adult me to commit to this notion of clear, cool liquid from a filter. Every December 31, I'd decide this is the year. And every year I'd be dehydrated and disappointed. I carried this cycle with me to college and beyond. It really did take almost a decade for me to fulfill this perpetual resolution. I had to figure out what I liked, the specific recipe to make my resolution stick. Nowadays, anyone who knows me in the real world will find this a familiar sight:
Room temperature, a little bit of lemon juice and a straw. Sip, sip, ahhhhh. Growing up Christian, I fell prey to similar bouts spiritual resolution. A new year would roll around and some authority figure would say,
"Ten minutes of prayer and ten minutes of Bible!"
"Wake up 15 minutes early for Jesus"
and I'd think this is the year where I pray more. Or, more recently: this is the year that I read the entire Bible. (Update: Year 3 and I'm halfway through Daniel.) And most years I'd fall short, trying to adhere to some print-out Bible plan or someone else's prayer schedule. Spiritual resolutions are good and great and necessary and important. But, as I learned in my 10 year hydration campaign: successful resolutions require self-knowledge and a touch of self-graciousness.
I think the best way to get to know someone is to learn about them and chat with them. But, the styles and venues to do so are endless.Consider the plethora of human nuance; relationships are as varied and quirky as the people in them. Relationships with God seem to follow suit.
We learn about God through His words and we chat with Him in prayer, but the more I look, the more beautiful variety I see in the ways people foster this God-time.
Personally, I am an obvious fan of the written word. After years of striving to sit in silence and pray my prayers, I was astounded at how much more I enjoyed and grew in prayer when I started writing them out. My ever-opposite husband belts his out during his morning commute. My nugget-prayer-warrior mom works through a list while she mops the floor.
If you're taking on a spiritual resolution in 2014, consider your specific weirdness. Consider your schedule, your energy cycles, your learning and communication styles. Maybe you type, sing, draw, shout or whisper your prayers. Maybe you give thanks during yoga or read one Psalm every morning when you open your eyes. Maybe you meditate on worship music or meet with a friend for Bible breakfast. Maybe you listen to a podcast while you cook dinner or paint or skateboard. Maybe you write out Bible verses and mail them to strangers.
Know yourself well enough to give your spiritual resolutions a fighting chance. Because I know ever-so-well how responsibilities and distractions and relationships and careers lap at us. The good and the bad creep in and before I know it, it will be 2015. I am still learning my own weird and wonderful way to meet with God. And I had to learn that spending time with God in my own unique way is not a cop-out or selfish or weak.
I like my water room temperature, lemony and with a straw//I like my God-time in the mornings, near a window, written and read and shared.
I hope 2014 is a year of growth and wonder and hydration for all of us. xoxo