And just like that, it’s February. The year is already well underway, each day passing steadily. New Year resolutions which were made only a few weeks ago are either consolidated or forgotten.
I find with a new year comes change and new perspectives. I seem to find myself asking the same questions each year – how is my relationship with Jesus? Is the holy spirit really present in my life? Are there changes I can make in my relationship with Jesus?
I have been a Christian for 20 years – radically saved as a teenager. It was my last year at high school. I didn’t know any Christians, except for the few in my family. Christianity was frowned upon, I would probably even say ‘forbidden’ among my friends and any other teen I knew. But I started searching–quietly by myself–for reasons to believe in God. It was a Saturday night, I had gone to a friend’s party in the city which was comprised of the usual drugs and alcohol. I remember sitting on the steps with the one person I really loved, my boyfriend of two years. Nothing had gone wrong, nothing was out of the ordinary, but I had found something that I just could not shake. Looking into his eyes I told him I couldn’t do it anymore, I wasn’t going to live the same way. We had to break up. I was going to be a Christian.
The next morning I walked myself down to a church held at the Aotea Centre. It was known as CLCA back then, now known as LIFE. That was the start of the biggest change of my life. I haven’t looked back and now 20 years later I see some the seeds planted in my life as an early Christian coming into fruition.
This year has begun and is already at full steam, storming it’s way through, now already February. This is such a great time to re-evaluate where your life is going and look at your relationship with Jesus and what you want out of the year before it runs past, and you start saying things like “where did the year go?”.
I didn’t get through the last 20 years with God by just carrying on as I had in my old life. I had to, of course, give a few things up. But, I also had to make a decision to get to know Jesus, seek God through His word, and of course, commit to attending church regularly. There are many things that have helped me keep on the right path, but only recently have I learnt the power of a pattern.
Patterns created in your life become routine, the routines then become a habit. Everyone knows about habits, and often they are associated with the bad. But you can create good habits. Once you create a habit it is hard to break it. Habits often do not take up much head space, they are often done without thinking.
Many years ago I started running. It wasn’t easy at first, it seemed a chore, and it took a lot of arguing with myself before it became something I did regularly. Then I started running in the morning, as soon as I got up. Often it wasn’t a long run, I could run even just 15 minutes, but I still got up every morning and went for a quick run. Then the magic happened, I started to speak to God while I ran. I had created a new pattern, which turned into routine, which then in turn became a habit.
It took me a while to realise that running with Jesus was where I found him, that was my prayer time. One of the biggest influences and mentors in my life would often speak and hear from God when she cleaned her house, which she also spent, out of habit (especially with four children) doing for quite a while every day. She taught me that prayer time is important, but that it can happen anywhere. What is important is the time spent, not how beautiful you sound when you are praying, or how you are doing it. But to keep it fervent in your life you need to create a habit.
As this year gets under way why not consider starting a new pattern of prayer. It could be during a run. It could be while driving. It could be while kneeling next to your bed. After awhile, the pattern will become routine, and that routine will turn into a habit. Not for religion sake, but for the soul purpose of getting to know Jesus, God Almighty.
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