I don’t believe in the New Year’s resolution thing. However, I am a big fan of finding certain words to focus on at the beginning of a new year. Usually I pray about it and ask God to show me what I need to work on.
Surprisingly, this year my focus words are not from the Bible. What a shock! Actually, God gave me words based on his ideas but not in his book: “No parking any time. Keep moving.”
I have found over the years that I have a tendency to want to stay where I am. Even though I pursue ultimate sanctification as Jesus told us to do, I enjoy being just me because it’s comfortable. But that doesn’t allow me to grow.
When I was a voice major at Indiana University (IU), one of my voice teachers had a sign with red lettering on his piano that read, “No Parking.” The sign was a reminder for students to think about the very important singing method of flowing through breathing and sound. A “parked voice” may cause damaged vocal folds, and the sound may go flat. Without a doubt, it’s an ugly sound.
We can find many similar things in our lives. Water needs to flow somewhere so it does not get stagnant. So do we: physically, spiritually and mentally. If we stay in one position too long, our body gets stiff. I am very thankful for my Gear Smartwatch that buzzes with a notification if I stay still for fifty minutes.
Some of you may have heard the story about the fish tanks transported from the East Coast to the West Coast. People tried to move a school of fish from east to west. They fed them, changed their water and took care of everything, but all of the fish ended up dying. They failed twice using the same methods. But on the third try, they put octopi and squids in the tank with the fish, both predators of the fish. On that trip, all the fish made it alive because the predators forced the fish to keep moving around in the tank during the long journey.
When I park my spirit in one place too long, full of contentment, I become self-righteous and numb about my growth in Christ. Parking numbs my spirit senses, which impacts my hearing, too. It is very easy to make my heart hardened. I am not sure whether others feel this way or not.
I do agree with keeping the Sabbath holy and having a full rest. Being still allows us to hear God and be restored in order to do works for the Lord. However, I don’t want to park myself. I love the idea of “active rest.” Even though we take a full rest physically and mentally, our spirit is always tuned in to the Lord, receiving active conditioning like a good car with a new battery, new engine oil, a full tank of gas and a renewed body.
We may find octopi and squids in our lives. Remember that they might be helpful in keeping us alive in this world by forcing us to keep moving. I read in one study that people who are exposed to challenges are often more mature and wise. For me, when I find octopi and squids in my life, I become more active in looking for the Lord, who is my rock and fortress.
I pray that I continue to enjoy being active and moving toward God each day so that my life would be used fully in his divine purpose—sharing his love to others in many ways. If you find me parking somewhere, please give me a ticket so I can begin to move again. And Happy New Year to you all, my brothers and sisters in Christ!