Goals. Guilt. Grace.
Goals. Guilt. Grace.
I love January and the new start it brings because I love looking to the year ahead and to the person I want to become. As I write this on December 17, I'm planning on putting the finishing touches on my goals this week for the next year. (Be jealous of my awesomeness. Okay, that's a lie. In actuality, I'll probably procrastinate and finish them between mid-February and early to mid-May.) However, when it comes to creating goals for the new year, I'm a bit of a cynical optimist who believes in big life-altering changes but deep down knows the change will be incremental at best. With that being said, I want to approach my goals for next year a little differently and hopefully with a lot less guilt and a lot more grace.
I think I approach God in a similar manner. I come expecting these massive life-altering changes and transformations in my life on a daily basis. (Don't misunderstand me, I wouldn't be sitting here writing this if he hadn't massively altered my life.) However, over my last thirty years, He has moved and worked much more profoundly in incremental ways. Always revealing His character. Always leading me forward. Always extending grace to me for not reading my Bible enough, not praying enough, and not going to church enough. Yet at the end of the day, those incremental changes add up to a life forever altered and an identity marked by the Creator of the universe as an adopted son of the king.
Our goals are intertwined with our identity, so this year I hope you will find more of your identity in God and who He says you are as sons and daughters of the king, rather than who your goals say you are. He is extending grace, not guilt, in this new year. Not partial grace but whole grace. A complete grace that is undeserved, unearned, and unearnable. Follow God's lead this year and give yourself grace. When it comes to health, work, spiritual, and family goals, at the end of the day, just doing incrementally better than the previous year is progress toward discovering who you are in God.
Let's make 2019 a year marked by intentional action through our generosity of time and resources.
By our willingness to extend grace and showing our community that we are FOR them this year.
Here are a few ideas:
1. Super Bowl Party - The Super Bowl is February 3 and is a great reason to intentionally throw a party and invite your neighbors, co-workers, or classmates over to build relationships.
2. Snacks for Students - A lot of kids go to school without a snack. Consider contacting a local school to be connected with a teacher and provide them with big bags of animal crackers, pretzels, or another snack item for teachers to give as snacks.
3. Pay-it-Backward - Pay for the car behind you in the drive-thru line at your favorite coffee shop or fast-food restaurant. (You can pick up a #ForStarkville car decal in the Commons and place it on the rear window of your vehicle.)
Remember that being #ForStarkville is about intentional actions to break down the walls we allow to go up around us so that the church can be bigger than you, bigger than me. It is about building relationships with our neighbors so that they can know that God is for them, not against them. Will you live that way in this new year?