Litany for Life

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009 at 10:41 am

Every finished venture, and every new adventure begun, calls for a time of reflection, of preparation, of prioritization. As I have just completed my internship and am returning to graduate school, this time for my first semester as a teaching assistant, I have been reflecting, preparing, setting things in order.

I have set a few SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achieveable, Relevant, Timely) goals for myself–some more frivolous than others. But beyond that, I have spent some time reflecting and praying over my next step, using a little tool the Navigators sent me at the beginning of the year. The tool is called “PREP for a New Year” and is intended as a sort of New Year’s reflection. The “PREP” stands for Praise, Reflect, Evaluate, and Pray and Plan.

When I got to the “Pray and Plan” segment, I found myself crying out to God that this year would be different than the last. My internship experience was great, but I felt like it was one of the few things that was great about the past 7 months. I experienced great professional and educational growth–but my growth in other areas has been stunted or non-existant.

When I look at what I REALLY want in life, apart from my professional goals, very little has been accomplished in 2009. I have not grown in my relationship with God like I would have liked. I have not grown in relationship with the body as I would have liked. I have not lived with the lost as I would have liked.

My life vision is to glorify God by growing in daily relationship with Him, being conformed to the image of Christ; by growing in relationship with others, taking time to live life together; and by growing personally, always learning and practicing what I’ve learned. Yet little I’ve done in the past seven months has moved me towards that vision.

So I was crying out, asking God for priorities for this upcoming semester, begging that it be more than the previous semester–and God directed me to three simple words. Listen. Love. Learn.

With a hundred things jockeying for my time, my attention, my heart. Listen. Love. Learn. Listen for the voice of God; Love Him with all that is within me; Learn to do His will.

Faced with a deep discontent with the status of my friendships. Listen. Love. Learn. Listen to what others are saying; Love them as Christ loved me; Learn how to serve them.

It goes against my instincts, against my fallen nature. I prefer to talk, to be proud, to teach. But God would have me Listen, Love, Learn.

It would have been easier if God had given me good SMART objectives (or at least something I could DO). You know, thing like:

  • Read a chapter of the Bible every day at least six days a week
  • Spend at least 15 minutes in prayer daily
  • Limit blog-reading to one half an hour per day
  • Don’t listen to secular music
  • No “R” rated movies
  • Memorize a verse a day

Those are all nice, good, EXTERNAL things. Things that only change what I do, but not who I am. They are the easy changes to make, the legalistic changes that can let me feel good about what a great Christian I am.

But God did not give me rules to follow. He did not tell me to do these five steps daily and everything will be just fine. He did not tell me to give up these five items and I’ll be a better Christian.

Instead, He gave me a litany to live each moment of my life by. Listen. Love. Learn.

Lord, may I keep Your word ever before me as I begin the next small chapter in this adventure You are taking me on. Help me to ever be mindful to listen, to love, and to learn.

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Reader Comments (3):

  1. Webmaster says:

    08.04.09 – 3:21 pm
    Davene said:

    Thanks for sharing from your heart. I, too, could benefit greatly from listening, loving, learning. Mind if I borrow your litany? :-)

  2. Webmaster says:

    08.04.09 – 9:58 pm
    MarBear said:

    Man do I hear you. Listen. Love. Learn. I will be praying for that you acheive those goals God has laid out before you everyday. I know you can do it with God’s help!

  3. Webmaster says:

    08.05.09 – 4:28 pm
    Mangsta2 said:

    For humans, as you so rightly observe, doing nothing is the hardest thing. Inactivity bothers us. But that’s exactly what our state is…. we can do nothing. So Christ does it for us. That’s well know, though. (at least to me)
    But I haven’t really thought about WHY we can’t do nothing. (laziness is still doing something— eating, sleeping, etc. numb the mind to a happily unaware state) And I think that’s just it. If our hearts, minds, souls, and very essences were silent for one moment, their sickly, fallen state would be revealed to us. If we stop moving, then we would see ourselves for what we really are. Which is why we never “relax”. (unless we are deluded enough to think that we have ‘earned’ some rest)

    But that’s exactly where Jesus comes in. He says, “Stop. I’ll take it from here.” And OUR challenge is to not struggle, to relax, and to let Him lead us. And it is the most difficult struggle of our lives. :-)

    Don’t be discouraged by your perceived lack of growth. It’s really hard to grow once you’re maturity level is beyond that most people are at. :-)

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