26 Jan New Year, New Level
By Leah Parker
Have you ever had a moment when something just clicked? When a question you had been tossing around in your mind finally found its resolution? Isn’t it an incredible feeling?
I had one of those moments a few months ago when Bishop started his series on new levels. I had recently been around some people who were high achievers in their fields, but who didn’t share my faith background. It made me start wondering how it could seem that people who didn’t know God could be more successful in certain areas of life than believers (more specifically, me!).
This disparity seemed counter-intuitive. After all, life with God is, as far as I could tell, full of hope and the promise of greater things, with new discoveries about His goodness and our identity in Him. It’s meant to be an amazing adventure of unlocking potential, embracing timeless wisdom, and of wielding keys to Kingdom truths, isn’t it? Aren’t we the ones meant to lead the way, shining our light for all to see? Besides, Jesus conquered anything that could ever trip us up, right?
So, how could it be that these others I observed seemed to have mastered those universal fundamentals of life – self-governance, personal development, interpersonal dynamics, strategies for financial growth, and so on – while those who had access to all of God’s promises (okay, me!) could be falling short in comparison? Wasn’t I supposed to be victorious in everything? Shouldn’t I be basking in the abundant life?
Then, I heard Bishop say this during the message on levels: “The level you’re on has nothing to do with how much God loves you, but with how much you care about what level you’re living on.” He went on to say, “You don’t have to live on any level you don’t want to live on.” Wow!
Suddenly, I began to see that the particular areas where I was feeling outpaced by others didn’t have anything to do with my relationship with God (or theirs!), or whether or not He loved me (or them!). It had everything to do with how I was managing those areas. I started to see that these were the same areas I had been reluctant to invest in as seriously and consistently as the people whose lives first made me ponder this question. The snapshot of them that I could see was clearly part of a much larger picture of personal investment, determination, and discipline.
How could I be upset about results I wasn’t getting for work I wasn’t willing to do?
I truly believe that God has an incredible life in store for those who walk with Him, but that’s the key! We do life with God. He has provided everything we need to be successful, but it’s up to us to embrace that truth and use it to engage with this life.
He didn’t save me just so I could sit back, prop my feet up, and wait for Him to prioritize my daily schedule, keep up with the kids and the housework, outline my budget, keep me sharp in my field, or navigate my relationships for me. Sure, He could open doors of opportunity, but my part is to be ready and able to operate in the places He wants to take me.
I realized that I had become complacent in those areas where I was comparing myself to others. I had abdicated my responsibility, operating under the erroneous assumption that somehow God, in His grand sovereignty and immeasurable benevolence, was going to swoop in and manage those elements of my life for me (with miraculous results, of course), simply because of my relationship with Him.
This realization could have brought condemnation, but instead I felt empowered! I understood not only where the missing piece was, but I could also see that I had the ability to put it back in place. My part is to uncover those mysteries and marvels He’s hidden for me and use them to build a life that reflects His goodness, kindness, and strength. But, the daily disciplines that create the space for that are my responsibility.
It may seem cliché to say, “New year, new level!” It means different things for different people, and maybe for some it has become an overused or empty sentiment. But, this time around, it has taken on new meaning for me. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I’m confident that I can create and sustain life on the next level. Whether it’s in setting better boundaries, improving my time management, or being more diligent in daily disciplines, the power to make a choice and a change is in my hands. Here’s to new years and new levels!
For more insight into new levels, check out the Open Windows series by Bishop Michael Pitts.
To create conversations in your family about priorities and routines and complete a Family Rhythm Checkup and, click here for this feature from Harida Hampton, Director of Family Ministry.
For more on goal-setting, click here for this article by Meredith Ryburn, Director of Campuses.