Draw Near: 3-Day Challenge (Day 1)

Answer me, O Lord, for Your loving kindness is good;
According to the greatness of Your compassion, turn to me,
And do not hide Your face from Your servant,
For I am in distress; answer me quickly.
Oh draw near to my soul and redeem it;
Ransom me because of my enemies!

…Reproach has broken my heart and I am so sick.
And I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
And for comforters, but I found none…

May Your salvation, O God, set me securely on high.You who seek God, let your heart revive…
For the Lord hears the needyThe descendants of His servants will inherit it,
And those who love His name will dwell in it.

Psalm 69

A theme that has remained a constant struggle in my life: draw nearer to the Lord. Moments of truly feeling intimate with my Maker are scarce, and I feel more frustrated at the attempt of hearing Jesus than feeling the peace that comes from it. These past few months have been trying and tiresome as my days are jam-packed. The tasks and commitments pile higher, and my fear of disappointing others’ expectations grows stronger. It was almost a year ago that I very clearly heard God. He told me to lighten my load, become comfortable in solitude and spend more time with Him. Looking back now 9 months later, I never heeded His instruction. It seems my life got even busier and consumed than it was before.

Reaching a point of exhaustion and desperation, I have been reminded over and over to simply Draw Near. (Or not so simply!) God has been highlighting for weeks the necessity of budgeting my time, to step away from anything falling “below the line“, and yet it’s such a daunting thing to ask. I love being involved in everything, and being that one that people know will get things done. It is an honor to be trusted in this way. The things I keep myself busy with bring me joy and yet my world around me seems to be crumbling. Strengthened relationships, rejuvenate sleep, eating consistently, maintaining the upkeep of my house or car, sufficient rest, satisfied boyfriend, commitment to family…all things that are being severely neglected.

“How can you take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself?” I am asked this constantly.

And so it begins. A weak fresh attempt at taking care of myself. In turn this encompasses drawing nearer to God and becoming more intimate with Him through the solitary times, the restful sleep, the confidence of health, and the security of fruitful relationships.  Using a Kaizen approach, I start off with the small and achievable goal of 3 days of consciously evaluating each decision I make requiring my time, my money or my body.

Day 1:

  • Morning Facetime. Waking up early enough to spend some time with Jesus and being in His Word.
  • Financial Budgeting. Using up my 6+ year old stack of gift cards from high school and college graduations that have been saved and unused all this time for things such as gas, groceries, gifts for others, and even gifts for myself.
  • Boundaries at work. Taking a 30-minute lunch break to focus on something non-work related. Leaving on-time to go home, rather than stay late.
  • Faithful in the little things. I’ve been struggling with attending my Life Group for some time now. Differences in personalities, growth expectations and goals have kept me from really diving in. Rather than switch to a new one tonight, I chose to remain faithful with the little things and committed to that which is not mine. Who knows what God is going to do or how this will shape me, but I remain hopeful that I develop more of His heart by being obedient in this.
  • Bedtime. Sleep does not come often to someone who is a night owl and an early riser. You could just label me an insomniac as most of my nights I lay thinking of all that my schedule entails, all that achieving my goals would require and allow my mind to wander. Setting a reasonable bedtime (which would have been earlier if I hadn’t been inspired to jot this all down) and resting my mind so that I can reach a decent level of sleep. Not only this, but taking the time to go through the pre-bed routine that you resisted your parents for as a kid (washing your face, brushing and flossing your teeth, etc.).

So 3 days it is. My hope is that I can remain committed to this challenge, because  ultimately it isn’t for anyone else but myself.

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