Let’s start at the very beginning

In the words of the song  ‘Do-Re-Mi’ from the ‘Sound of Music’:

“Let’s start at the very beginning
A very good place to start.
When you read you begin with A-B-C..”

The new alphabet of activity I am learning for this year begins with – ‘A’ for Attending

My priority is:

  • To attend to God’s voice
  • Listen well
  • Respond with prompt obedience instead of the usual vacillation 
  • Run to the throne not the phone
  • Make prayer less of a monologue and more of a dialogue

Sounds impressive. Gulp! Making and reading this list is one thing; carrying it out is quite another. I know my own wayward, easily distracted heart and I don’t expect to be able to do these things perfectly at all.

Bad habits don’t change overnight. Good habits take at least 21 days to establish. Baby steps one step at a time is the way forward.

In doing so I’m in pursuit of my God-sized dream for 2013:

‘To draw closer to God and discover His specific plan for me creatively and personally’

 This week I am challenged to “Do one thing to move forward” in my goal. Scripture challenges me with these verses as I attempt to live out what I aim to achieve:

“So if you’re serious about living the new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up and be alert to what is going on around Christ – that’s where the action is. See things from His perspective” ~ Colossians 3:1 – 3  The Message (emphasis added)

So what will it mean to ‘attend’ to God?

  • Wait on
  • Be present
  • Go regularly to
  • Give attention to
  • Listen to
  • Apply oneself
  • Direct one’s mind and efforts towards
  • Be a companion

My one thing to move forward in my goal is:

Starting my day with reading ‘Jesus Calling’ by Sarah Young accompanied by ‘Prayer Journal – Developing a Conversation with God’ by Joyce Huggett. (Okay, 2 things really but they link together!)

The book by Sarah Young was a requested Christmas gift and I had no idea what a beloved treasure it would prove to be. Sarah shares her personal messages from the Lord over a period of time, with Bible verses linking to the theme. Many of these messages are speaking greatly into my life too. I yearn for her experience:

“The practice of listening to God has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline..” ~ Sarah Young in ‘Jesus Calling’

I am using the Prayer Journal’s ‘Prayer Jottings’ section – which Joyce notes as a place for recording prayer jottings where we write to God and He writes to us” (emphasis added) to record my conversations with God as He speaks to me in various ways from scripture, music, conversations with others, glimpses of His glory around me, art and literature, and personal words tenderly spoken directly from His Father heart to my heart.

So far I have been amazed at the amount of words which the Father is pouring into my life and equally ashamed at how little I listened before – to my detriment.

I’d like to close with a prayer by Ken Gire:

“A Prayer for Grace”

Thank you, God,

For those moments in my life
when You opened a window
and offered a word
that nourished the hunger in my soul.

Give me the grace to realize
that these are the words I live by,
not by bread alone
whatever form that bread may take
however satisfying it may seem at the time.

Give me grace to live not just reflectively but receptively,
that I may not only notice when a window is opened
but also receive what is offered,
understanding that what is offered
is my soul’s daily bread.

©KenGire1996 from ‘Windows of the Soul’

Pause to ponder:

What is capturing your attention this year?

Is God asking you to prioritise your activities?

In this post I am linking up with Holley Gerth’s God-sized Dream. 

I am grateful to have the company, encouragement and support from Holley, her team and the wonderful women also participating in this journey. Do join us!

13 thoughts on “Let’s start at the very beginning”

  1. Hello Joy,
    Another beautiful post, Thank you! I have ordered the prayer journal and feel hopeful that it may be something that will help me! Thank you for sharing!
    My beloved friend 'Susan' who was both my priest and close friend had a stroke recently meaning effectively I lost my mentor! Susan was working with me to overcome the struggles I have engaging fully in prayer due to mental illness and I have felt abandoned (through no fault of Susan's obviously!) Your words, messages, and mentoring are helping me more than you could possibly know! (I say mentoring because I do feel you pushing me gently with your words to make more effort to listen to and engage with God!)
    Thank you Joy! may the peace of the Lord be with you as you continue to encourage yourself and others to listen to him! All my love Kimmie x

    1. Hello Kimmie, Your words have really lifted and encouraged me in my writing journey to date, so I am humbled to think I may have played a small part in supporting you too. It is amazing how God always opens another window of help and opportunity for us when others dry up.I am pleased to hear this is benefiting you in your relationship with the Lord. Stay strong in Him, my friend. :)xx

  2. Thanks for this, Joy! The verses from Colossians especially spoke to me where I'm at right now. I'd write more about this, but just a quick read through your post was such a joy and a challenge, and an encouragement for me to persevere in listening to what God has to say! Thank you!!! Barbara

    1. Hi Barbara, thank you for the lovely comment. I am so pleased those verses spoke to you too. We do need to persevere in listening to what God has to say because He has so much He wants to share with us. Be blessed as you make time and space to meet with Him. 🙂

  3. I too am stunned at how little I used to listen to God and not even realise. I'm so thankful for grace and for the people God surrounds us with in order to grow closer to Him. Joy you are challenging me and my sometimes selective hearing!

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment. I am sharing your gratitude, Mandy. God speaks so much through other believers. We need such touches of grace to awaken us to His presence. I think that listening well to God is an acquired art and one I wish I'd cultivated many years ago. Now I'm trying to make up for lost time! Be blessed :)xx

  4. Oh my stars, Joy – this is beautiful! Attending!!! Great word. Thank you for the encouraging reminder to attend to the important things first. God, His word and truths. I'm entering a deep season of attending — oh how I long for Him to show up big! Blessings friend.

    1. Thank you, Alene, for your encouraging comment. Oh, how I need this reminder continually too!It can take a while to develop new habits and see the difference it makes to our lives. I long to see, hear, sense God at work in my life and the lives of those around me. Attending is a small part of increasing that awareness. Blessings in abundance to you:)

  5. I am amazed how relevant that Jesus Calling book is to me for three years straight and to every single person I know who has read it. Your post encouraged me to not give up drawing closer to God when I feel like life is pulling me away

    1. Hi Christa, thanks very much for your encouraging comment. I love the 'Jesus Calling' book. It is the motivation necessary to pull me out of the 'I feel so bone-weary exhausted – it can't possibly be morning'state I am in each day and provide enough impetus to leave the bed and go meet with the Lord through the inspired words and Bible verses she shares. So pleased you love it too! Blessings 🙂

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