I’ve been chewing on these words a wise friend said a couple of weeks ago:
“If only Christians could get the basics right, the world would be a different place.”
I’m still nodding.
As I reflect on 2017 and see people ‘planning’ (as always) to be bigger, better and get more done in 2018. I can’t help but feel tired just thinking about it.
I’ve lived long enough to know that New Year’s resolutions and good intentions are equally useless if we can’t get our priorities straight and lack basic discipline. I almost want to make a point of not asking anyone “How are you?” this year if I know the answer will probably be “Good, just busy”, “Tired” or “Okay under the circumstances.”
I am afraid that – unless something changes drastically – those will be my answers as well.
Most of our complaints are self-inflicted. We feel tired, discouraged and overwhelmed. Only partly because our babies keep us up at night, but mostly because we keep on scrolling long after they went back to sleep. We’re anxious about the future, worrying about things we have no control over. Or stuck in the past – unable to let go of hurt, disappointment and regret.
If only we could get the basics right, right? Loving God first and our neighbours as ourselves. Prayer. Forgiveness. Repentance. Obedience. Praise.
Basic doesn’t equal simple or easy. But trying to skip or skimp over it won’t get us anywhere worth going.
Would you trust a doctor who never studied anatomy or physiology as part of their curriculum? A plumber who doesn’t know a thing about pipes?
It is no wonder that Ghandi said: “If it weren’t for Christians, I’d be a Christian.” I’m sure even non-Christians would agree that the world will be a better place if only we could get the basics right.
I’m not saying it is all up to us, because God knows we need all the help we can get – and He is ALWAYS offering it. But it is certainly not up to our pastors and the spiritual leaders of the day to work out our salvation.
We need some kind of approach to our faith and life, yes. And there is no better time than now to reflect on what worked in the past or attempt a bold move. When it comes to Bible study methods and Bible reading plans, trust me I’ve tried them all – and I did even finish half of it.
I have learned that by adding more and more to my life I’m actually taking away from it!
As I consider what it would look like to ‘get the basics right,’ I can’t help but wonder “what would happen if I simply read my Bible cover to cover, over and over (only one chapter a day) with the Holy Spirit as my teacher. What would happen if I made prayer a priority? If I added the names of the people I need to pray for at the top of my ‘to do list’. If I left more spaces open in my calendar and intentionally made time for rest, awe and wonder.”
I suspect that – like most Kingdom principles – the only way forward is by going back. Better known as repentance 😉
I feel God tugging at my heart to go back to basics, not only in faith, but every aspect of my life. To make prayer and Bible study a priority, but also relationships, sleep, drinking more water and cooking simple meals.
As a young mom there will naturally be more than enough reasons for feeling overwhelmed. Keeping things simple may also be a sanity saver. Perhaps the greatest gift I can give myself for my 32nd birthday is to let go of all my crazy high expectations.
I’m excited to taste and see what God has to teach me in this season. Unlike expectations, hope will never disappoint us. Hope’s only promise is that no matter what happens God will be with us – and He will always be enough.
If you also feel a tug to go ‘back to basics in 2018’, I want to invite you to explore this concept with me.
The fun part is that you get to figure out what it will look like in your season of life.
For me part of it will be to keep showing up in this space (or your inbox once a month if you let me) to share the stories and lessons I learn along the way.
I would love to hear yours!
To kick off the #back2basic2018 challenge, share one ‘basic’ in faith or life you think we tend to overlook in the comments.
May we become less this year and He so much more!
Quote credit: Nicke Theron @ Pediatrics and Playdough
Image Credit: Ben White @ Unsplash