What Is it That God Wants from You This New Year?

by | Jan 6, 2017 | Uncategorized | 12 comments

Merchandise is Here!

This week we’ve been talking about new beginnings for the year.

I talked about having a different attitude about communication, both in terms of having difficult conversations but also letting your husband help. I talked about having a new start with finances, and even making goals for the year.

But there’s one other thing that I’d like to discuss today. On Fridays I like to just leave you with one thought to chew on over the weekend, and today I want to turn more to the spiritual side. What are the most important changes that God wants us to make this year?

Sheila’s Friday Musings: What Does God Want from You this Year?

What does God want from us this year? Maybe Christian New Year's Resolutions should be about character, not just about goals.

The one thing I pray to God for, over and over again, is fruitfulness. I want to make a difference. I want to be part of God doing something on this earth.

That sounds very noble, but is it really? Because recently it’s hit me that by concentrating on fruitfulness, what I was really saying is:

“God, in your economy I want to feel important.”

And that’s not really what God wants from me. What God wants is right character–He wants holiness, righteousness, faithfulness. All that fruitfulness that I long for is just a by-product of faithfulness anyway. Remember John 15:5, when Jesus says “if you remain in me and I in you you will bear much fruit”? We abide in Him, and He bears the fruit. We don’t bear it; He does.

So it really is righteousness I should aim after.

I have to admit, though, that I have a bit of a problem with that. I didn’t grow up seeing things in black and white, right and wrong, and I got used to doing the expedient thing at times. I’m not saying I did huge things wrong, but I have always struggled with white lies, or envy, or sitting on the fence if it was possible.

My daughters seem to have much deeper consciences than I do, for which I am eternally grateful. But God has been making my conscience much more picky over the last decade, which is not a comfortable feeling. I know that I am not the same person I was a decade ago. I can’t watch the same movies. I can’t take any extra change at the grocery store if someone adds the bill up wrong. But it’s the big things, especially, that matter to me–whether I cause dissension in the extended family; whether I show love to those who are difficult; whether I am jealous or envious of others.

But it is a struggle, isn’t it?  We want to do great things for God on the outside, and get all our doctrinal ducks in a row, but we don’t always take the time to really look at our hearts.  We’re missing something important, because God is always trying to change us; if we think that we don’t need it, and that our main aim now should be to be fruitful, then we’ve missed the boat. We’ve put ourselves in the driver’s seat, instead of Him.

In the 1940s and 1950s, the church talked about sin perhaps too much–or at least they talked about it in a dysfunctional way. My mother remembers, as a child, being read passages from Revelation on how liars went to hell, which hardly made her want to do her devotions. The Bible became a source of punishment, rather than peace.

But today we have thrown out the idea of sin and replaced it with this transformational gospel–that our main job is to make the world into something better for Him. And we’ve forgotten that we can’t do that without an honest look at our hearts.

I was talking with a friend this week who is walking through a difficult marriage. We didn’t talk about whether she should try to fix it. We didn’t talk about strategies for getting him to talk or see things her way. We only talked about one thing: her job everyday, first and foremost, is to seek after God, listen to God, and then try to look more and more like Jesus everyday. When we do that, the rest will fall into place.

I do think New Year’s goals are important to help us solidify our values and our direction, especially with our marriage. But ultimately the best thing we can do is to start following in Jesus’ steps. And I just thought that needed to be said.

 

 

Friday Roundup on To Love, Honor and Vacuum

What’s #1 at To Love, Honor and Vacuum?

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful celebration ringing in 2017!  Here are the top posts from this week.  Let’s start 2017 with a bang and tackle the problems we face in our marriages!

When your husband refuses to talk about important marriage issues: How to have difficult conversations when you feel distant from your husband.#1 Post on the Blog: My Husband Refuses To Talk About Our Issues
#1 on the Blog Overall: 20 Two Player Games To Play With Your Husband 

#3 from Facebook: When Your Husband Won’t Change Part 2: Is This The Last Straw?
#1 from Pinterest: Top 10 Tips For Initiating Sex With Your Husband

Some BIG Things Happening at To Love, Honor and Vacuum

So there is so much going on behind the scenes right now! We’ve been working on a new theme which I hope against hope to launch late next week. The blog is going to look so much better! I’m really excited about it.

And we’re working on setting up a free resource marriage library for those who sign up for my newsletter. Right now I have a whole bunch of freebies you can get all scattered in different posts, so people sign up and they get ONE freebie. But I’m going to put them all in a central place–all the printables, ebooks, downloads, and free email courses–so that those on my list can just go get whatever they want, when they want!

I’ve also been putting the finishing touches on my Boost Your Libido video course, which will launch in early February, right in time for Valentine’s Day! It’s got 10 modules, with 10 videos, but also lessons, extra reading materials, worksheets, and so much more. It’s been a ton of fun to put together!

AND on top of all of that I’m changing my newsletter that goes out every Friday. Right now it just does a roundup of the week, but I’m going to do it more so it includes exclusive content, like pictures behind the scenes, roundups on what I’ve been reading this month, some video content, and more.

All of that’s to say, if you’re not signed up for my newsletters yet, now’s the best time to do it, so you don’t miss anything! And I’m excited about the changes that are coming!

We’re Heading to Arizona/California/Texas on Sunday!

Keith and I are heading to the airport this weekend to pick up our RV, which is in storage in Phoenix. Then we’ll be driving over to Anaheim where I’ll be giving a Girl Talk, before heading back to Arizona and Texas. The best way to find out when I’ll be speaking near you is with my newsletters. If you sign up, the newsletter system keeps track of where you are by GPS when you sign up (I know that’s slightly creepy, but it helps a ton!). Then, if I’m ever within 150 miles of you, you’ll get an email!

Oh, and I’ll be heading back to Texas in March and again in May, so if your church may want to host a Girl Talk, let me know!

Have a great weekend, everyone! I’ll see you again when I’m in Arizona!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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12 Comments

  1. E

    Oh, this is great Sheila! I have been mulling over this very thing for the last few days, and I found a great quote from former US President, John Adams.

    The duty is ours, the results are God’s.

    I love that! We have to follow the right thing, no matter what. Even if our marriage is difficult, our financial situation is dire, our kids are running wild, we do our duty and leave the rest to Him.

    Giving up my ‘control’ is extremely daunting, but I am slowly relinquishing my grip on things, and learning to ‘cast my cares unto the Lord’, while at the same time studying His Word, and praying so I learn exactly what He expects from me. This is something I am going to spend this year learning about, and putting into practice.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Sounds like a wonderful year! I really respect John Adams; we visited his home in Quincy a few years back, and learned so much about him and Abigail. A really inspiring family!

      I’m learning slowly to leave the results to God, too. I think one thing that’s really helped me this year is to see prayer as a two-way conversation. I’m taking a lot more time just to listen, and I’m learning how to recognize his voice, and it makes prayer much more exciting!

      Reply
      • nylse

        Your last sentence in this reply resonated with me as this is where I am also. I even wrote about it.

        Reply
      • E

        I am so amazed how much I ‘hear’ Him when I focus my heart and mind on Him. How else do I know what the right thing to do is? ?

        Reply
  2. Bethany Richetti

    I struggle a lot with wanting to be important as well. This was an encouraging read. Thanks! <3 Happy Epiphany, and happy New Year!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Happy Epiphany to you, too! 🙂

      Reply
  3. TBG

    I am doing a Bible study, Behold Your God and we were just studying this, what does God want us to do? And it was having us look at Jesus. And it points to several passages where it shows that Jesus was always doing the Father’s will.

    So, it is interesting to think, we should wake up each day and not get caught up into thinking about our agenda, goals, desires. But first to just wake up and listen to the Father, and ask, God what is Your will? “We do many things during the week, but they should all be united under a greater ambition, to do the will of the Lord.”

    That is already helping to shape my response, attitude and interaction today. And I needed it, just got an emergency foster placement last night of a very troubled and difficult child. So, it helps to keep me patient to focus on the perspective that what God wants is to use me to help this child right now and to show her love until we can get some of these issues resolved or get her moved to a permanent placement.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, what a wonderful calling to have that foster child! I wish you all the best there, and that you will have the patience and grace to show Jesus’ love in what will likely be a very trying situation!

      I find, too, that what really helps me with the question of “how can I look more like Jesus today” is the practice of trying to listen to God. It’s not like we have to do it all on our own; when we learn how to pray throughout the day and how to keep in tune with Him, He shows us what to do. It really is a precious relationship.

      Reply
  4. alchemist

    What if this present were the world’s last night?
    C.S Lewis has an essay entitled “The World’s last night” that you can listen to on YouTube (CSLewisDoodle) that is a meditation on this question.

    We have such a tendency to over-complicate things. Also to overestimate our power and capabilities. We just need to do our best to walk faithfully with our God. It makes everything much simpler when we remember that. It’s a very comforting thought. Though not that easy. Faithfulness is quite enough to be getting on with.

    Now if I can only keep on remembering it.

    Reply
  5. Ayanna

    Love this! I realized recently that was becoming too concerned with how others saw me. So I have been praying a lot for others not to see me, but to see God in me. Allowing me to decrease while He increases in my life.

    Reply
  6. Amy

    Thank-you so very much Shelia! I appreciate your posts so much. I saw a while back something about most of your readers being middle aged (that comment on your posts anyway) Well I’m 22 and from Canada, BC and have been reading your blog for about 3-4 years. Thank-you for the blessing you have been in my life! I really hope you meet you at the end of January at Break Forth Canada! See you there 🙂 Have a wonderful week.

    ~Amy

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, for sure come and say hi to me at Break Forth! That would be awesome! And that’s great to hear that you’re young and Canadian. 🙂 You sound just like my daughter!

      Reply

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