My contribution to Christmas dinner this year was a plain green salad. Out of a bag.
This is because my family is smart. And it’s basically how we lived through the Christmas meal with no burned menu items or other various oven-related catastrophes. (Hallelujah.)
But Christmas is over, so let’s pack it up and talk about New Year stuff.
(It’s already Valentine’s Day at Walmart people, so we are clearly behind already.)
Since I tend to be a bit neurotic about a thing or ten, I get a little anxious when everyone starts talking about New Years Resolutions and I’ve still got tinsel hanging around from the current year.
Because holy smokes, if I don’t hurry up and set some new goals, I’ll be 0 for 1 right out of the gate for 2016. Before you think my strings are about to snap, let me confirm that they probably are except by the grace of God.
(I’m compelled to stop right here and thank God that Crazy hasn’t gotten the best of me.) (Because grace is the only way I’ve made it, and there’s not an inch of dramatics in that statement.)
If I were trying really hard to make this a well-written blog post, I would call this my “New” New Years Resolution Strategy or something equally clever. But ain’t nobody got time for cute blog titles when there’s a Christmas tree that needs to be packed away, a 10 year old on Christmas break to entertain, and a second semester of Greek that looms ahead and begs for vocabulary review.
In other words, you can bet there’s passion behind the following words, but you probably won’t find anything fancy about it. (But heck, that basically goes for anything you read around here so keep it real and carry on.)
There was a time when I thought goal setting was hung up on modifying outward behavior.
Yet every single time that I set a goal just because I needed to do better at______, my tail would spin in frustration because I’m actually not that great at discipline for discipline’s sake.
So then I would get all mad at myself for not having what it takes to do better, and I’d chuck the whole thing because that’s basically how I roll.
But over the last couple of years, I’ve learned that change for the sake of looking different on the outside won’t even make it to February. If the change isn’t made on the inside first, then the outside really shouldn’t waste it’s time.
Oh I could make a lofty list of how I’ll eat better and exercise more and spend less money and follow Paleo to an all-out T and write more and love more generously and quit getting so distracted by Hobby Lobby.
I can’t even.
Those are awesome ideas and all, but trying to fit my behavior into neat little boxes without first having a heart transformation will drive me plum mad. (And I don’t even know what plum mad is, but I heard it enough in my childhood to know it’s not good.)
I know that I need to eat better, but I don’t really want to, so there’s that.
I need to be more disciplined with my time, but truth be told, I don’t really want to do that either because it’s hard and requires effort and planning and stuff.
I need to settle down and quit trying to do All The Things, but sometimes I still catch myself believing that’s what it takes to be liked and successful.
I know I need to give grace to others, but for crying out loud, if they would just be nicer they wouldn’t need so much of it. (Never mind that grace isn’t grace if it’s deserved, but still.)
Bottom line is that unless I want to do it and believe in the “why” behind it, you can pretty much bet it won’t happen.
So here’s the deal: I’m looking at New Years’ Resolutions differently this year.
I’m asking God to change my Want-To’s. I’m asking Him to line my Want-To’s up to His.
I’m asking Him to tell me what He thinks about a certain thing or two, and then to change my mind so that it lines up to His way of thinking.
Because God knows if I’m left to my own devices, my mind will wander into a comfort zone where change goes to die. Which is mental depravity at its finest, y’all and just goes to show that without God I’m a wreck. #truestory
The biggest difference about this year’s approach, is that I’ve come to see how my own lofty, urgent, and determined expectations are driven by a need to perfect the outside.
But God’s aren’t.
In fact, He knows who we’ve been, who we are, and who we’re becoming. He knows the end from the beginning but doesn’t get in a panic when the middle gets a little hairy.
So perhaps there’s room for grace in our goal-setting. Maybe-just-maybe we expect perfection when God is outright delighted with our tiny progress?
Because He knows. He knows.
And I’m convinced that He’s not so impressed by our ability to do better…as He is with a heart that is just plain willing to trust Him.
And that’s all.
Forgive me for not spelling out 5 neat practical steps. One of these days maybe I’ll do that sort of thing. But if you think this is a Resolutions Strategy you can buy into, here’s the two resources that inspired my thought process about goals and change:
Grace Goals by Arabah Joy
Audacious by Beth Moore
While you do that, I’ll go study or something.
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