It is 7:15 am.
The nurse who is doing the ultrasound on my thyroid tells me I will not be able to talk while she performs the procedure.
No problem, I think to myself.
I have not had any coffee yet.
Then she reminds me I will need to remain still.
This presents more of a challenge for me.
As I lie back and stare at the ceiling tiles, I try to find one point to focus on.
Taking a deep breath, I shift my gaze up.
I am only aware of one round spot I have chosen.
Not the darkness in the room, or the clicking sound the machine makes as it takes the images.
I am focused only on one thing.
So before my morning coffee has penetrated the fog that hovers over my thoughts, God whispers into my heart.
It is easier to focus on Me when you are quiet and still.
An interesting concept on any given day, but especially after New Years.
The beginning of the new year is always accompanied by resolutions.
Ones that typically have us moving more.
Oh I know.
I have set goals to exercise and transform my now 50 year old body.
And these resolutions fizzle quickly, like fireworks in the sky.
Just like my focus on Him some days.
Unless I shift my gaze up, quiet myself and focus, my life can quickly become chaotic.
But when I allow Him to set my path, it truly is transforming.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plan.”
There is nothing wrong with goals of eating healthy and exercising more, but we also need to consider a daily diet of His word and walking with Him in our resolutions for 2020.
And if you miss a day, you can start again.
Even though we are inconsistent, our Heavenly Father remains constant.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3: 22-23
Friends, as we begin the new year, remember to shift your gaze up, quiet yourself and focus on the One who created you.
You will be transformed.
Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.
But truthfully, holidays can be stressful for many families.
The hustle and bustle, the financial strain of buying gifts for everyone, preparing extravagant meals.
And the dreaded question:
Who will we spend time with this holiday?
If you are married, divorced or even dating, you know what it is like to have to split time between households and family members.
It can become a source of conflict and controversy amongst loved ones.
And visits and conversations that are brief leave you with the feeling of wanting more.
It is hard to focus on just one person.
Coming from a large his, mine and ours family, I have seen this scenario play out repeatedly over the years.
I keep my expectations realistic, knowing that I may only get a few precious moments with loved ones.
But moments like these are the greatest gifts.
This past Christmas, I got a beautiful treasure from my niece.
We had breakfast together at our favorite little cafe.
And over coffee and avocado toast, she shared her life and her heart with me.
One of my most cherished moments this Christmas.
These are the treasures that mean the most, being in the presence of loved ones.
Mary understood this well.
When Jesus came to her home, she was not worried about gifts or preparing an extravagant meal.
She simply wanted to focus on one person: Jesus.
Mary wanted to hear Him share His heart.
But this was the source of conflict with her own sister.
“ As they went on their way, they came to a town where a woman named Martha lived. She cared for Jesus in her home.Martha had a sister named Mary. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to all He said. Martha was working hard getting supper ready. She came to Jesus and said, “Do You see that my sister is not helping me? Tell her to help me.”Jesus said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. Only a few things are important, even just one. Mary has chosen the good thing. It will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 38-42
Friends, sometimes we choose busyness over sitting at the feet of the One who gave us the greatest gift we have ever known.
He only asks for us to be present with Him.
Start right now.
Take time to be present with Him today and in the new year.
It is the greatest gift we can offer the One who gave us His all.