11 Jan What Are You Learning?
2017 is in full swing but somehow I’m still on my Christmas trip. We’ve been crisscrossing the East Coast for three weeks and it’s been lovely to be with family and friends. I am, however, ready to sleep in my own bed, tackle some longstanding projects, and stop losing important things (the tally so far: my new sunglasses, Penny’s last water bottle, Pete’s work phone, and all my essential oils/vitamins, UGH).
A few weeks ago, I shared about my New Year’s guiding principle—live like you’re 87. Today, we’re diving into what I’m studying this year: money, healing, and prayer.
We’re all lifelong students, right? When we stop learning, it’s easy to become boring and stagnant. One of the things I love most about my husband is that he’s forever coming home with strange and obscure “facts of the day.” His fun facts run the gamut from hilarious to bizarre, and occasionally disgusting, such as, “Did you know billy goats urinate on their own heads to smell more attractive to females?”
Whether it’s trying new recipes, reading parenting books, or diving deeper into the Word, ideally all of us are always learning, always growing.
This year, I’m diving into what the Word says about money, healing, and prayer. The first topic, money, has been brewing for a long time, but the other two, healing and prayer, came together a little bit unexpectedly at the end of 2016.
I love to read, so my method of study is a big ‘ole stack of books on my bedside table. You might prefer articles, audio books, or intentional conversations with a friend who’s knowledgeable and ready to share. One of our budgeting tactics for this year is a commitment (pretty sure, probably) not to buy any new books (prompted by my tendency to devour Regency period novels through Kindle), but instead use the library and read the books we own already. Fortunately, my parents have a pretty robust spiritual collection, in addition to the books on my own shelf I’ve been meaning to read for years.
As I’ve written about before, this year was full of big changes for us. We moved to California, took a job with a pay cut and a commission schedule, and we’re in the process of selling our home in Washington, DC. We’ve also moved to a ridiculously expensive area, and we’re bunking with my parents. In many ways, this year represents a totally fresh slate for us. We get to start over, catch our breaths while staying with family, and overhaul our financial mindset. We started by signing up for a financial planning class through our church, and we will both be reading God and Money, an excellent book that outlines what the Bible says about radical generosity. The authors encourage the practice of setting both annual and lifetime spending and saving limits, and giving all excess funds to Kingdom purposes. It’s a great read and I highly recommend it.
In Exodus 15, God reveals himself as Jehovah Rophe, “the Lord who heals.” In Proverbs 4, God exhorts us to devote ourselves to his Word, “for they are life to those that find them, and health to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:20-22). Isaiah 53:4-5 declares, “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” And Psalm 107:19-20 says, “Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” I know several people who have experienced miraculous physical healing, and recently I received physical healing when two dear women prayed for me. This is an area of faith in which I’d like to grow and there is a lot to learn.
Last year, on the recommendation of Laura Thomas, I worked my way through the study Living a Praying Life. The study is phenomenal, but I believe I can study prayer until I meet my Maker and still have more to learn. I finally picked up a copy of Andrew Murray’s classic, With Christ in the School of Prayer when we visited the Billy Graham Library over the holidays. This excerpt from the preface made me eager to dive in:
The place and power of prayer in the Christian life is too little understood. I feel sure that as long as we view prayer simply as the means of maintaining our own Christian lives, we will not fully understand what it is really supposed to be. But when we learn to regard it as the highest part of the work entrusted to us—the root and strength of all other work—we will see that there is nothing we need to study and practice more than the art of praying.
So these are my topics for the year: money, healing, and prayer. I’m looking forward to what the Lord is going to teach me. What about you? What are you learning about this year?