I recently reviewed The Silent and Soft Communion. As I wrote in my own journal on January 1, 2009, I wondered what Sarah Prince Gill wrote in her journal at the start of a new year. Two entries for January 1 are featured in The Silent and Soft Communion for the years 1756 and 1758. Both are short and quite different from our current brand of January 1 journal entries.
January 1, 1756
I desire to give My self to the Lord in a perpetual Covenant — I trust I have done it this Morning — I long to Live to God entirely and do more for him than Ever, more for Others than Ever. I long to have all my time and talents Us’d in his Service!
Had a quiet, resigned temper of mind this day and desire to wait on God for all Salvation, temporal and spiritual. Reciev’d a remarkable Answer of Prayer. Felt some Gratitude.
January 1, 1758
God has led me on to another year. O, that it may be fill’d up for him — I am going to his house and Table, and there I desire to make an Offering, a free will chearfull off’ring, of my all to God — To Accept of his son as my saviour, to Avouch the Lord for my Ruler, My head, my Portion, and Leave all my desires with him — Leave my case as a blank in his hands to be fill’d with what ever he pleases — I desire to go mourning for sin and to roll all my Burdens on him.
I trust I was help’d to carry all My Load and leave all My Cares with God and leave it to him to do what he pleased with me the Ensuing year.
I find it interesting that Miss Prince (as she was called at the time of those entries) does not write at all about what she will do to maintain her figure or get into shape. She makes no mention of a diet. She does not seem concerned with getting older. In fact, her first sentence in 1758 makes me think she may be a bit surprised that she is still alive. With no husband or children to care for (that comes a couple of years later), any word regarding family and home-life is absent. Her singular concern is Christ — more of him and less of sin and self.
I am not saying that resolutions for health and fitness are bad, that all our resolve should focus on Jesus. It is good to strive to be as healthy as we can be because it means that we can offer Him better service for longer if it is His will. But I know from personal experience that exercise and diet for appearance’s sake can become an unhealthy obsession.
I have hopes for our home and our family for 2009, too. Is that wrong? No. But I must keep in mind our purpose (to glorify God and enjoy Him) so that I do not become a slave to the pursuit of my resolutions, so that I don’t exchange God’s grace for my own law, so that Christ is my goal.
Perhaps if I, like Miss Prince, make Christ my singular pursuit, then my desires for home and family and fitness will take care of themselves.