January is long gone and perhaps so are your resolutions or goals.
(If you’re still going strong, bravo! Go read your favorite chapter from the Book of Mormon and feel free to skip the rest of my blog.)
The first month of the year is both optimistic and daunting—so much ahead of us … and so much ahead of us. As each day passes and another box is crossed off the calendar, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged by not achieving whatever you may have hoped to achieve, even in the midst of spring weather and Easter celebrations when everything is supposed to be rainbows and butterflies.
Whether you tried committing to a new exercise routine or Bible reading plan (like me), I’ve realized in my 36 years that I’m not capable of making sweeping, significant changes of the heart by myself. There has got to be a little nudge or assistance, a push or prompting … usually from the Master of all things Himself.
I’m learning that I have to lean into God’s grace more and not be so hard on myself. It reduces the anxiety that builds to make whatever change I’m determined to make or prove to myself. Goals are great, but running yourself ragged to accomplish them? Not so much. He gives us fresh starts each morning (each moment, really) and sees our efforts, big and small.
If January’s goals are haunting you in April, here are a few verses that might help boost your spirits and get you back on track.
Growth isn’t always easy. It can be slow and painful, but it’s always fruitful. (You may just not always see how immediately.) Following Christ and living the life He asks of us isn’t a one-time goal we cross off our list—it’s a lifelong commitment and journey.
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10)
At their core, goals aren’t bad. They can be wonderful guides. But be careful they don’t take over. Keep things simple because everything will fall into place when He is first in your life.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
We’re still in the first half of a new year—but we still serve the same God who created the earth and everything on it. And while it’s good to keep improving upon ourselves, real and lasting growth comes from staying close to Him and living below His welcoming umbrella (even during April showers).
He takes the pressure off.
We don’t have to prove anything to Him (even though we try daily).
He loves us for who we are.
He loves us for the choice we made to follow Him.
He loved us before there was an “us.”
He loves me whether I can lift 5 pounds or 50 pounds, can recite the 10 Commandments or not. You get the idea.
Goals are great; our God is greater.
His grace picks us up when we fall and sets us again on our course to victory. So let’s get back on the bicycle, crack open the scriptures, learn that new language or put down the cell phone … whatever our goal was on January 1 can still be our goal today.
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)
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This article has undergone ministry review and approval.