A New Years Resolution for 2014

It’s the fifth of January. The new year is wearing off. We’re used to putting 14 at the top of our journal, the gyms have started to become less crowded, and Vince is really late on his new years resolution post.

In 2013, most of my new years resolutions happened(Here’s that old post). I only bought clothes at thrift stores, with just a few exceptions. I made a friend who only spoke Spanish, Kevin, my 4 year old amigo at the playground in the projects who I play tag with on Wednesdays. My friends and I made it to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and limped across the Bearathon finish line for a dramatic finish.

Mi Amigo Kevin

Mi Amigo Kevin

 

I’m a goal-oriented person. I like to achieve and succeed and do. My second-most-used app on my iphone is a to-do list app ( after snapchat of course). I fill it up the night before with a multitude of tasks. During the day, I slide my index finger across the things that have been completed and get a little buzz of satisfaction when a task disappears from the screen. The list is blank before bed on a good day, and I fill up the next day’s itinerary before my head hits the pillow.

It’d be really easy for me to post a list of goals for 2014. Even on a beach vacation with a whole ocean of reasons to rest and relax in front of me, my mind runs off to make that list. It’s a long list under constant construction; additions and revisions happen daily. If I wrote it down, I’d need a pencil with a lot of lead and a good eraser.It’d be easy to share that list with you, but it’s not what I’m trying to focus on as I head into a new year.

I’m not doing New Years resolutions or goals this year. Call it a boycott. New years resolutions and goals, you accomplish them and they’re done, gone with the wind, a feather in a dusty cap, an old trophy shelved away in a closet.

Viewing life through the lens of the Gospel means that the question “Who am I?” is more important than “What do I do?” The Gospel tells me I can’t do enough good things or not do enough bad things in 2014. I just can’t. I’m not able to. My list can’t be long enough. I can’t cross off enough things on my app. But the Gospel tells me that I am His. God looks at me through the lens of Christ and tells me who I am. He calls me Beloved.

In 2014, God has put a full plate of goals on my heart, goals that I can write on my list, do everything possible to accomplish, and then check off on my i-phone app. This list isn’t bad, not at all. We’re supposed to dream and draw up plans and do. But I don’t want to be a task-master. I don’t want to worship the list and miss what’s more important. I’ve only got one resolution, no, one response, this year, in light of the Gospel.

This past Summer at Kanakuk, Chad, our kamp director, taught us something that really resonated with me. First, he told us about our generation and God’s will. We obsess over it. We try to peer into it. We’re one step short from getting out the tea leaves and the crystal ball. Chad told us that Scripture is pretty silent on God’s explicit will for our lives. It doesn’t tell us if we should be doctors or lawyers or teachers. It doesn’t tell us whether we should take the internship this Summer or study abroad. It definitely doesn’t tell us who to marry, although it has some tips for narrowing down the pool.

The Bible tells us God’s explicit will for our lives just a couple times to my knowledge. In a letter to the Thessalonians, Paul writes “It is God’s will for you to be sanctified…” His will is for us to be made Holy. Here’s how Chad put it:

God’s will for your life is that you be about His business.

That’s my response for 2014. I want to be about the Lord’s business. I want to love Him with all my heart and mind and soul and strength. I want to love the people around me with a love that’s costly and brash and bold. I want to proclaim the Good News openly and often, sprinkled with grace and truth. I want to walk in deeper obedience to His Son, never just knowing His commands but doing them. I want to thirst for a deeper knowledge of His Word, making room for, meditating on, and memorizing what He’s written and given. And I want to pray for more capacity, more strength, more Him in me. I want to pray that I’m about His business.

In 2014, don’t be so focused on your list that you forget that God would rather have YOU than the things that you’re doing for Him.

In 2014, understand  that you are His. Understand that if you trust in Him, He looks at you and calls you Beloved because of what Christ did on our behalf.

And then, in light of that understanding, in response to that understanding, be about His business in 2014.

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Seven Steps to Getting More out of the Bible

I sometimes struggle with apathy towards my time in the Bible. I read it, So often, it’s just a daily hoop to jump through. It’s a task to check off. It’s another chore on the list.

But it’s not. It’s not a hoop or a chore or a task. It’s the Word of God. If it reads dry or dull, we’re not reading it right. Around this time last year, I heard Joe White, director of Kanakuk Kamps, speak at a conference in College Station. He listed some helpful ways to keep our time in God’s Word from becoming just another chore.

  1. Read it like a love letter– pore over it like it’s scribbled with pink highlighter and the i’s are dotted with hearts, read the redemption written between the lines
  2. Read it like the first time– recapture that moment when God’s grace revealed through His Words first clicked
  3. Read it like a baby goes after the bottle– come to the Word with desperation and dependence, needing proclamations and promises and truth
  4. Read it prayerfully– pray “God, open my eyes, I want more of you”
  5. Read it imaginatively– smell that musty prison cell that Paul wrote from, watch the Holy Spirit come down at Pentecost, put yourself in the story
  6. Read it purposefully– read it with the intent to act on it, to be changed by it, to let it shape and mold you
  7. Read it possessively– take ownership of what God wrote to you, hide it in your heart and meditate on it day and night
Havasu Falls, Arizona

Mooney Falls in Arizona during Spring Break 2013.