The whirlwind of back-to-school, back-to-work, new-resolution life leaves us reeling with dizziness and I, like you, hope that when the swirling stops, I find myself right way up. I’m used to meeting Jesus at sun up, in the still of the morning, but with the kids off to school, it’s in the already melting heat of midmorning that I get my first gap to steal a silent moment.
There’s a lot to come back to this January for me, after six months of public silence and some identity-altering realisations and decisions. I find myself nervous to step back—or step up—into the purposes I know God has called me to. There is a song we sing to our own souls in church that says, I’ve got a lion inside of my lungs… but when I sing it, I’m not sure that I do.
I’m scared of putting myself out there. I’m scared of the new space I find myself in. I’m scared of the new levels of realness I’ve found inside of me and I don’t want to lose myself to protect myself as I step back into a public position.
But here I am. I’m sitting on the devotional bench my husband has made for me with his own hands this holiday: I’ve been promoted from the bathroom mat. I think you smile with me at that, because we both know the bathroom mat is the sacred seat of divine revelation. But here I am, consecrating the new seat with the dripping heat of a Durban January morning.
I start by paging through a prayer journal… I haven’t picked it up for months because I’ve been journaling the sabbatical journey somewhere else. Within minutes, the Lion that I couldn’t find inside of my lungs is making words jump off the page. In a biblically-typical “it just so happened” moment, I read what I’d written of a vision he’d given me—hear this: two weeks before six months ago—telling me about the upcoming season of restriction and limitation I have just walked through, and about the unexpected anxiety I would feel when I stepped back out into a spacious place. For six months, I have not needed to revisit this vision and the moment I needed to, he led me straight there. With the memory of the vision, he comforts me and puts courage in me; in one moment with the living Jesus, he has cut to the heart of me and healed me at the same time.
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.—Psalms 18:16, 19
Fellow followers of Jesus, beloved friends: As the wheels of this year start turning, take a moment to be with Jesus. I don’t mean ticking off your Bible reading plan, or hurrying through your devotional guide. As you settle into this new year, seek Jesus. Whatever it is that you think is your most urgent need, attend first to the most important need of your soul. As the first rush of the swirling year slows down, seek first Jesus, and let him be the One to help you secure your feet on the ground. Let him first equip you and set your feet on the right path, and only then will you be able to attend to the urgent.
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.—Psalms 18:32-34, 36 NIV