I wrote about my focus on the meaningful here. Since the beginning of the year I have done a few things to keep me moving forward in the quest. Well, one of the things I started a little over a year ago, and in retrospect, that’s probably the one thing that is directing these other decisions. (More on that in a second…)
December 31, 2018 and onward
At the end of last year I made these changes:
- Deleted my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. I did not deactivate them or simply stop using them. I pulled the plug and deleted them. (I have since returned to Twitter only, but for a VERY focused purpose, for the work I do.)
- I focused on my relationships. This didn’t necessarily mean spending more time with the people in my life—though in some cases it did. What this meant for me was being more present—listening more, giving my full attention. I don’t always succeed with this but I am learning to FOCUS more and not allow my brain to seize upon every little distraction, which sadly had become my default. (I think our smartphones are the biggest culprit here, along with all the instant digital messaging with dings and chirps and alerts. Are you feeling that too?)
- I devoted myself to reading. This includes nonfiction books, novels, and the newspaper—for me that’s The Wall Street Journal, delivered to my home. Real newspaper. Flipping pages, scouring for articles of interest written by journalists. Not “news by clickbait.”
- I bought a Passion Planner to help me focus my work and my time toward a meaningful pre-determined direction. So much of my work before this was simply a list of random tasks, fires to put out, emails to answer and jobs to do. I needed cohesion, a place to bring it all together and give it meaning. This planner has been a big help.
I will talk more about these experiences in the days ahead. Today I want to share the most meaningful change I’ve made.
What got me here
Somewhere around the fall of 2017 I got serious about daily Bible reading. Not just a verse or two in a daily devotional, but long passages, reading for context. Reading for transformation. As an example, here is my plan so far for 2019:
- January—Read book (epistle) of Titus every day.
- February—Read book of Ephesians every day.
- March – Read Gospel of Mark, chapters 1-5 every day.
- April—Read Gospel of Mark, chapters 6-10 every day.
- May—Read Gospel of Mark, chapters 11-16 every day.
Every day. In one sitting. Usually, with coffee in hand, and maybe a notebook or commentary nearby. But the focus is on the reading.
There are some days I don’t read, but those days are very few. I’m not saying all this to earn a merit badge. I’m saying to you that this has been one of the most meaningful decisions of my life—a decision I can only credit the Lord for. It was my own desperation, my own frustration, my own emptiness that drove me here—to this well of Living Water.
I am a writer, but the words seem too cheap when I try to articulate the richness of this daily discipline.
It has changed me thoroughly.
Even in places I had no idea I needed change.
It has changed my heart, my thinking, my desires, my sorrows. It has taken some sorrows away and burdened me with others. It has changed the way I pray. It has given me discernment that I otherwise would not have had. In this age of rampant deception and abandonment of truth, taking in the Word of God every day has opened my eyes not only to the Truth, but much more keenly to what is false. And it is alarming how much of this “false” is disguised as light (just as Scripture tells us it would be in these last days.)
I sat down to write this morning because of words I read in Mark 4:3.
“The sower went out to sow.”
I can do a hundred things today. Will they matter, all those things I do?
The sower went out to sow.
My prayer today is to be such a one:
“The sower sows the word.” Mark 4:14