My daughter tells me her water is “soggy.”
And my other girl chimes in: “I don’t want this old water. I need fresh water.”
Then she bops her head up and down for emphasis: “Really. It needs to be FRESH.”
I pick up the cups of water I poured just two hours before and dump them into my plants. At least foliage appreciates lukewarm refreshment.
Or, perhaps I’m feeling particularly savvy that day, and I pop in an ice cube before handing these daughters the same cups of water.
Either way, my youngest girl guzzles it down and lets out a satisfied “ahhhh” in gratitude.
It’s fresh water she wants. Cold. Newly poured.
Even if the water she has isn’t stagnant or stench-ridden, hot or unhealthy, it sat just a little too long in that Tinkerbell cup and now she needs new.
Normally, as a mom I protest a little. Two hours is not enough time to de-freshen water, I tell her. It’s not ice-cold, but it isn’t ‘soggy,’ or undrinkable.
But my soul takes this in because surely she’s discovered what I’m longing for.
My Christian walk isn’t stagnant or rancid, but still I long for ‘new’ and ‘more.’ I don’t to walk out of 2015 the same way that I walked in.
Each year, I choose this One Word and a Scripture to meditate on all year long to focus my heart, mind, and life.
The first year, I chose “Breathe” (Psalm 62:2 MSG).
Then last year, I spent 12 months meditating on “Presence” (Exodus 33:14 NIV).
These were spiritually life-changing for me, not just a random New Year’s task that seems so important on January 1st but loses all meaning by January 31st and not just a cute catchphrase that is temporarily inspiring but ultimately meaningless.
So I prayed over this year’s focus and searched Scripture until I read it:
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25 NIV)
Already, I relax into the grace of this.
So often, New Year’s is a time of heaping burdens on our backs.
Resolutions. Reading plans. Prayer plans. Devotional plans. Health plans. Schedule plans. Clutter plans. Relational plans. Educational and job plans.
This is what we want to do, do, do this year.
Piled on top of that are the bricks we haul around of recrimination, regret and self-condemnation because of all the plans that failed last year and the year before that.
There are the projects we didn’t finish and the resolutions we let fall by the wayside. There are the 15 pounds we were supposed to lose. There is the study we started and never completed.
So, we carry “Failure” from one year onto the next and chain the new year before it’s even begun.
What if we started Fresh?
What if we let the past go and we eased into the new year with devotion and relationship with God instead of any agenda or program?
What if we take this in?
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul (Psalm 23:2-3 NIV).
He does the work. He leads; we follow. He offers us the cool water to drink and we guzzle it down and let it drench our parched soul.
The beauty in this promise is that as we pour out encouragement, blessing and generous helpings of grace to others, He will refresh us.
Proverbs 11:25 tells us that God looks after the generous. He refreshes those who refresh others.
Not with leftovers or scraps or day-old water, either, but with the deeply satisfying draft of the Living Water only He can give.
I can try to fill up from the tap of the world or the tap of self-accomplishment or the tap of taking care of me, me, me.
But it will be ‘soggy’ and old, tepid and bitter.
It’s Jesus I need. And not the Spiritual experiences I had ten years ago or five years ago or yesterday.
I need Jesus—Fresh—-now—-newly poured into my life day after solid day.
This year, I am praying that God will do this work:
Refresh me with His Word: (Psalm 19:7).
Refresh me with rest in His presence: (Psalm 23:2-3).
Refresh me through service: (Proverbs 11:25).
Refresh me through a pure heart (Acts 3:19).
Refresh me with His people (1 Corinthians 16:18).
It’s strength we need for the weary days and revival we need for the dead and broken within. It’s a filling up so Christ is splashing over the tops of our lives so that we can pour out to others with generosity and grace. It’s rest in His presence rather than perpetual motion, and it’s new, cold, Living Water we need from it’s only true Source.
Refresh us, Lord, we pray.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2014 Heather King