“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
Sometimes the route we take to victory will seem like a dead end, but never with God.
Ok, so it is the new year, and how many of us feel like we have already failed in our new year’s resolutions? (Enter cricket chirping soundtrack). Not going to confess, now, are you? That’s ok. That’s shame talking. I have a confession to make. Here we are, entering the second week of 2018. And I am already behind in the plans I have not yet finished making for this year. Doubly shamed. Well, not anymore. That’s not a part of living in the Shame Off You life, now is it?
The very thing that can inspire one person can defeat another. Setting a goal or resolution to aim for can cause one person to strive, then heap condemnation on themselves when they fall short and cultivate in another person a sense of purpose that they must not give up until that goal is met. What is the difference? Shame.
Sometimes we feel ashamed because we don’t achieve what we set out to. But rather than ascribing to false condemnation or shame that is performance-based, we celebrate that we were bold enough to aspire to something greater. Success is not defined by achieving our goals, but by not giving up and having the boldness to continue toward our goals and modifying them, if necessary. There’s no shame in that. As long as we don’t quit.
Who told us to set the goal in the first place? Where did the motivation come from? Sometimes our resolution and goal setting has a shaky foundation that the LORD needs to clean up. When we become irritated that we lack the self control or “chutzpah” to push through toward our goals, their might be another purpose in our goals – the shaping of our character or leading of the LORD in another direction. Idolizing our goals won’t help us achieve them. Surrendering our will to God’s as we set our sights on His calling, we achieve far more than just our goals.
What was the purpose of our resolution in the first place? Some would say, achieving it, of course, but there is a better purpose underneath. The mere shooting for something hard is inspiring. We step out of apathy and are participating in this wonderment called life. We are really living when we act out of a calling of God and continue to cultivate His talents – whether or not we achieve what we believe we were think we were supposed to.
It takes courage to keep aiming toward something that is higher than ourselves, different than boundaries we defined for ourselves previously. Joshua understands. When God told him to march around Jericho for 7 days playing the trumpet, it seemed a but counterintuitive. Sometimes the route we take to victory will seem like a dead end, but never with God.
When we run this race, we sill sometimes slow down to catch our breath or fall down. Once, when I was running a 10k, my precious husband made me a three-egg omelet to eat before the race. And a banana. This chica usually has one egg. Not three. Later I found out he intended to split it with me. Yeah. Half way into mile one, I felt like I was going to hurl. Looking for any means of escape in the throng of people running beside me (around 30,000), I realized I was doomed. I was going to have to hurl on the run. Suddenly, someone tapped me from behind. My husband who had not even entered the race, running in regular clothing snd shoes, cheering me on. “You can do it!”, he cheered. Ugh. “I’ve gotta throw up”, I countered. “No, you don’t. Set that aside and just keep going.” The thoughts I was thinking toward him at that moment I will not repeat here. At each mile marker that I came to, there he was, cheerfully dancing and encouraging me to just. Keep. Going. I wondered how he was doing it. Later, I noticed him sprinting on the side, keeping track of where I was and making sure he got to the next marker ahead of me. What a picture of how God roots for us. When I wanted to stop, my husband was there reminding me of the finish line. And I made it! It was not pretty. At all. Picture to be posted later, lol. Sometimes our perception of what it looks like to set and keep resolutions is skewed. We need to be reminded of God’s grace when it gets hard, and just. Keep. Going. There is no shame in falling short of the goals temporarily.
Lord, thank You for the grace to run this race. Help us to not shrink back, but to continue to set goals for Your glory. Grant us success that we may extend Your territory.