It never fails; when I go through the process of my powersheets (from cultivatewhatmatters.com), a theme begins to show up through what I journal and sketch as I pray through a focus for the upcoming season.
Contrary to the past several years, I didn’t really have a lot of big, audacious goals that came to mind. And although I had to fight the tendency to feel like something was wrong with that, I pretty quickly knew what my main goal for the year needed to be. I knew what my word needed to be.
Cheerful obedience. Cheerful faithfulness.
My goal didn’t center around something that I can check off a list or mark as completed. It’s not easily measured. And it’s not something the world would likely deem as successful. I won’t make more money because of it. I won’t have much to show in physical terms from it.
But I truly believe it to be what God desires to grow in me for this season.
And that’s what truly matters, isn’t it? Walking with him.
I finished my first book of 2022 recently. This doesn’t mean I started it in 2022, though. I think I actually first began reading Dane Ortlund’s Gentle and Lowly in August of 2021. It’s a dense book, and for the first time in a while, I felt the need to take it slowly, in bite sized pieces. I highly recommend it – it’s been a significant eye-opener for me in understanding the heart of Christ more.
The book is phenomenal, and I don’t think I’m ruining it or removing a reason for you to read it by telling you how it ends. After exposing countless truths about the heart of Christ throughout the Bible, Ortlund concludes the book by saying that there really is nothing for us to do or apply, except one thing – go to Jesus. And then…go to him again. Keep going to him.
This goes along with my goal quite well. It’s where God has been calling me for the past several months, primarily through Psalm 16:11.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
This is where I find joy – in his presence, at his right hand.
Additionally, this passage includes the promise that God makes known to me the path of life. I will know what my other little goals in life should be, what I should pursue, how I should spend my time, etc. by him making it known to me when I’m in his presence.
So the ultimate goal? To be with him. Then comes joy, and then comes wisdom on what to be doing.
And it’s really not that hard to know what to be doing, is it? We know what God has given us in this season. Let’s get busy doing it.
And may we do it cheerfully!
Here are some definitions and descriptions of the root word, cheer:
- lightness of mind and feeling
- state of mind and heart
- hospitable entertainment
- food or drink for a feast
- full of good spirits
- ungrudging cheerful obedience
- likely to dispel gloom or worry
- cheerful faithfulness
- quiet cheer
- something that gladdens
- to take heart
Additionally, I began to look up the word cheer in scripture. The word cheer most often appears in the KJV version, but the concept remains the same in ESV translations, which is what I quote below.
“When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul” (Psalm 94:19).
“A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed” (Proverbs 15:13).
“All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast” (Proverbs 15:15).
“For you make him most blessed for ever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence” (Psalm 21:6).
“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad” (Proverbs 12:25).
“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15).
“Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well” (Matthew 9:22).
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
“The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome” (Acts 23:11).
Now, I do have some specific action goals and some measurable ways to work toward them – areas like cooking, hospitality, reading, etc. But this is the main focus.
Because of Christ. Because of his presence.
Praying for you in your own endeavors in the new year ahead, friend. Make sure that it begins in Christ’s presence, for that matters most. Everything else will fall into place, then. Our duties will become clear, and our endeavors for faithfulness will be an overflow of being with him.