21 Days of Silence
It’s almost the time of year where everyone seems to be joining a gym, making their resolutions and preparing for a successful year. But what is success truly? How do we measure it? I’ve asked myself this question many times. “How do I view success in my own life?” Is it a certain number of followers? A degree? A position/title?
When a new year rolls around, so does all of the “step by step plans for a better you.” We end up setting ourselves up for failure before the year even begins because we start from a place of striving.
Striving to reach a goal without first changing a lifestyle rarely results in success. It only leads to burn out and frustration.
But what if we took a different approach this year? What if instead of starting off by doing more, we did less? What if we silenced the noises in our lives to set ourselves up for true success this year? Instead of jumping right in, what would it look like if we chose to walk into this year slow and steady? Letting our hearts first be hidden in the Father before we share them with the world. What if we replaced the noise with the voice of God and sat long enough with ourselves to truly determine WHO we want to become this year, not just what we want to accomplish?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I believe what keeps us from getting rid of the noise in our lives the most is Fear.
The fear of being alone with our thoughts.
Trust me, I know first thing how scary it is to be alone with your thoughts. But it is in those moments where the Lord convicts us of the sin in our hearts. We don’t have to fear God’s conviction. He convicts us to free us, not to shame us.
When is the last time you were broken over the sin in your heart? When is the last time you fell to your knees in repentance and cried out to God? I’m not preaching this to you, this is a “me too” post straight from my heart and to my heart. That is why I’m dedicating the first 21 days of the year to silence. Silence from the noise.
And I’m not trying to tell you what you need to do or be the holy spirit for you. But I am here as a friend to encourage you and invite you to join me.
So here’s my challenge for you:
For 21 days, ask the Lord what He would have you to silence. For me personally, I like to start the year with the Daniel Fast.
I heard about this fast for the first time a few years ago and I’m not going to lie, when I first heard about it I thought “There’s no way this is even possible.” (This was back when I was eating cosmic brownies for breakfast) so the thought of giving up sugar, meat, dairy, and basically everything but fruits and vegetables seemed i m p o s s i b l e.
This fast comes from Daniel chapter 1. Daniel refused to eat what was culturally acceptable and normal in order to be set apart. (vs 8) In return, we see that the Lord gave him favor for his sacrifice and he came out stronger than all the other men. (vs 9) We also see that Daniel was tested. (vs 12) He then was compared to those who ate the King’s food and everyone could see that Daniel was better in appearance at the end of his fast. (vs 15) Because of his willingness to be set apart, he was given dreams and visions and wisdom from God. (vs 17) Then because of his sacrifice, he was found 10 times better than the magicians and enchanters that were in the kingdom. (vs 20)
What noise in your life do you need to silence to prepare your heart for a new year? They say it takes 21 days to break a habit. What better way to start a new year that breaking off unhealthy habits in our lives and learning to hear God’s voice more intimately? Maybe God has already been speaking to you about this thing of sacrifice. A sacrifice will always cost you something and if it doesn’t, it’s not a sacrifice at all. Giving up certain foods, coffee, social media, shopping or Netflix. it’s not going to be easy, but if God has been pressing it on your heart, don’t think twice.
This will be my last blog post for a little while and I will be off social media as well, but I want to leave you with this. Just in case you’re wondering what in the world you’d do without all of those things for 21 days, here are some thoughts you can read and pray through. I’d highly encourage you to journal daily during these 21 days. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you and journal His voice. We often don’t hear God, not because he isn’t speaking, but because we aren’t listening. Let’s lean in over these next 3 weeks and seek to know God in a deeper, more intimate way as we set the tone for a new year.
1. Dig down deep
I mean really deep. Ask yourself the hard questions.
1. Who do I want to be at the end of this year?
2. How will I define success this year?
3. What area’s do I need the Lord to purify in my heart?
2. Rest and rejoice in the Lord
When we get alone with God it can be a little overwhelming to realize the areas in our hearts that desperately need His grace, but rest and rejoice in the freedom that comes in the purification process. The Father is for you. He wants you to have a successful year even more than you do, but God’s success looks a lot different than our idea of success. He wants to get to the heart first.
Whoever you are reading this, even if it’s just one person, my hope and prayer is that you would know how dearly loved you are. I truly do believe this will be your best year, but know it is not dependent on you. You were never meant to carry the weight of your success. Your highest calling is to be a son/daughter of God. Rejoice in that today. Rest in passionate love for you, and let’s determine to grow in depth, not width in 2018.