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Stripping Down

Philippians 1:9 (New International Version)
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,

This morning I spent some time reflecting--and even praying--about the year gone by and the year ahead. And I discovered that in doing so, it was a lot of my own wishes that crept into the picture and I truly didn't give God a lot of room to speak into my life.

I do remember whispering, as I prayed, "There are no sacred cows, God," but I don't think it really got from my head to my heart, because as I picked up my pen, I wrote too easily and with too many assumptions about what is good and right and God's will in my life.

I found though, that as I stayed with God, that I began to get a different idea on what it truly means to pray this kind of prayer.

I realize that I tend to start each year as if with my toe on the starting line in a race; waiting for the sound of the pistol to send me running toward my many goals.

But what if I stripped down to the essentials first? There really are only two in my life; and really only one, followed closely by the second; after which I hope that all else is fluid and flexible in God's hand.

The first thing is to know God; deeply, intimately and in ever increasing measure.

The second thing is relationship with the others in my life; my children, husband, grandchildren, friends and collegues. After God, there is nothing more important than the interplay of relationship with the particular "others" in my life.

It seemed a good thing to strip my life down to these things, and then hold up my life with trembling hands and ask, "What else?" of God.

So my busy life, with those things that I had previously considered blessed and ordained of him, I lay down as optional, and to be re-blessed and re-ordained, if he so wishes.

This year, if I strive for anything, it will be to keep my slate clear of anything but that which God wants to write upon it, and I will try to listen carefully on a daily basis to know what that is.

Thou knewest me before I was;
I am all open unto Thee.

Amy Carmichael, Edges of His Ways

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