This is a post from my husband, Jonathan. I love his heart and his love for his family and for God. He doesn't blog (well only like one time a year) so I stole his blog post to put on my blog! Enjoy!
At this time in my life every Tuesday and Thursday, for an hour right after work I am dedicated to watching the two cutest little girls enjoy jumping and flipping and tumbling. You see both of my girls are in gymnastics right now, one is 5 and one is 3.
As I watch them I just have to smile or laugh. Some things they impress me with, I had no idea they would be that good at some stuff, and well some things they really just show their age. One of these areas is the balance beam. My oldest has always impressed me when she walked along that narrow beam 3 feet from the ground, but my 3 year old is a different story. You see my three year old gets side tracked. She likes to watch everything going on and doesn’t always focus on the task at hand. As the instructor lifts her up onto the beam you can see the excitement in her face. She starts walking and the instructor walks along with her hands floating in a disconnected circle around my daughters waist. After a few steps you can see my daughter’s little pig tails move to the side as she starts to look around. She looks back at her mommy and daddy sitting in the chairs with that big smile on her face, and in a instant the instructor has to gently guide her path so she doesn't fall. She keeps doing this the entire way down the beam, looking at the other little girls, the other teachers, and now and then looking back to mommy and daddy again.
I sometimes I feel like this is us when we are trying to walk toward God. We have the want and excitement to jump up on the narrow path, but once we are up there, something always seems to catch our eyes a few steps in and we lose our focus. We can see this time and time again both in our own lives and in the lives of others. One of the biggest reasons I would attribute to this problem is we don’t really devise a plan of how to get to our end goal, which is getting closer and closer to God. We jump up with all enthusiasm and get started, and then realize we are high off the ground, there are a lot of different good things around us that look like fun and we don’t really know what we are doing.
One of my big passions in life is cycling. I’m not very good at it, and I don’t look like your typical bike rider, but I love it. But over the past year I really haven’t ridden much at all. I have pretty much stopped riding, and working out of any kind and have gained quite a bit of weight. As the spring is arriving soon my wife and I are encouraging each other to be healthy and work out again. As we were driving in the car the other day, it was turning out to be a beautiful day. One of those days after the cold winter that makes you just want to cruise with the windows down in your car and let the wind splash all around your vehicle. Not only was this day turning out to be amazing, the week to come was looking even better. My wife looks at me, knowing I have been wanting to get back on the bike, and that I have a friend bugging me about riding again, and she says, “Hey you should call your friend and go riding this week.” I respond with a “Ya, I need to do that.” She knew that was my typical answer for when I should do something but it would probably never get done, so she says that wasn’t what she said. I respond with saying that I just wanted to get out on my own first before riding with anyone else since it had been a while. She said, “Okay, then you will go riding tomorrow by yourself and then give your friend a call.”
You see my wife understood something, if there wasn’t a plan, then it wasn't going to happen. That I would simply stumble through this “want to” and never really do. Sure I may get out on my bike in a few days, maybe, and then maybe again in a few weeks or a month, but with no plan of action to actually accomplish the task of getting to where I wanted to be, it wouldn’t happen.
I think this is exactly what Proverbs 4:26 means when it says “Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path.” You see that phrase “mark out” or in other translations it is “ponder” is key. That’s the plan! I think the path is already set for us by Jesus, but we need a plan to be able to walk it.
If we were to throw out the limitation of my daughter being 3, there are only a few ways my daughter can get better at the balance beam. The path is already there. She needs to have someone teach her, she needs to have personal discipline to practice it and learn it, she can have someone help keep her accountable to do it and give her pointers, and she can start trying to show someone else how to do it. I believe when you boil it down thats exactly how we get better at anything.
In our pursuit in growing closer to God, I really believe there are 4 ways to grow toward Him. We need to submit ourselves to some kind of teaching about God and how to live a life for Him. We need to build spiritual disciplines in our life to practice and learn more. We need to have other people in our life that keep us accountable and give us tips along the way. And we need to serve other people and show them how to do the same. I think time and time again as we look at our lives and other peoples lives, and as we look in the Bible these are the things that grow our faith and help us get closer to God. That is the path and it is set for us, but the question is, “What is the plan?”
Sure we can just jump up on the beam and start walking, but there are a lot of things vying for our attention. It takes focus, it takes understanding, and it takes a plan. So here is my cheat sheet for making a plan, it involves two questions: When am I going to do it? and How and I going to do it?
In each of these four areas it requires a When and a How.
Practical Biblical Teaching: When will I submit myself to teaching? Sunday, Wednesday, on my drive home from work. How will I submit myself to teaching? By going to church, listening to podcasts.
Spiritual Ownership: When will I build disciplines into my life? Early in the morning, on saturdays, my lunch break. How will I build disciplines into my life? Reading my bible consistently, giving generously, praying about _____, worshipping when I _____.
Authentic Relationships: When will I surround myself with other people on the same path? Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, Tuesday mornings. How will I surround myself with other people on the same path? At church, by joining a small group, going to a bible study.
Servant Leadership: When will I serve others? Once a month, twice a month, when I see someone in need. How will I serve others? Mowing my neighbors grass, serving as a Greeter at church, watching other peoples kids so they can worship.
My husband is a wise man and I really appreciate him sharing his thoughts and his heart and allowing me to post it on my blog. I hope God was able to speak to you through his words.
So what's your plan?!