Start Strong

It’s the start of a new year!

Each summer brings with it a departure from our ‘regular’ life. Maybe your schedule shifted dramatically, from being in school full time to not at all, or perhaps summer simply modified what your weekends looked like. For me, my life felt dramatically different as weekly youth events dropped off, youth leader meetings took a break, and visits to the SR and Blumenort school ceased.

Getting a break from our normal routine can give us a valuable lesson. It gives us the opportunity to step out of that routine to inspect it; we get to see what is valuable in it—the things we can celebrate—and we have the chance to see what we might want to change.

This morning I was at Blumenort school to lead my first devotional there this school year. I encouraged the students to contemplate a portion of Psalm 119, and I would encourage you to do the same.

Psalm 119:33-40 says,
Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I will find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared. Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good. How I long for your precepts! Preserve my life in your righteousness.

This year, as we return to a regular schedule. As we go back to school and get involved with different sports and begin to fall back into the comfort that is the routine, let’s not allow that routine to overcome intentionality.

It’s easy to let ‘how we’ve always done it’ to dictate who we are and how we do things. It’s easy to let whoever we were last year to be the person we’re going to be this year. But how can we use this break that we’ve just experienced to return to routine with intentionality?

For some, perhaps this might be a chance to re-evaluate the ways we use our time and plan out a schedule that will allow more time to spend on our own (for us introverts… and even for you extroverts out there!) or to spend more time in community (for the extroverts, and us introverts too).

For others, maybe this is a time to plan out a morning routine that goes beyond sleeping as long as possible before we absolutely have to get up to get to school or work (this is something I’m doing this month!)

Perhaps you feel you need to create time to journal or to meditate on the Bible. Maybe you want to create more opportunities to study the Bible in a group.

There are all sorts of things that we can do to create a healthy and balanced life that strives to follow after God.  May we all ‘turn our eyes away from worthless things’ and look towards our God!

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:10, 12

This year, as we look to have Psalm 51:10, 12 guide us as a church, what are you going to do to begin this year with intentionality?


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