I look down at my calendar noticing the white space, I jot down dates and obligations realizing that soon this fresh page will be filled with opportunities for ministry, connecting, and a few things I really don’t want to do.
It’s the first Monday in January, just five days into the New Year, and everyone is making lists. Lists that will make them feel guilty. Lists that might make them feel a little more productive. Lists that will make them feel like this business of producing never, ever stops.
They even have their “one word” picked out for the year like peace or abundance. And I’m over here trying to find one word to sum up four words.
Try not to suck (Um, how about?) Focus on what matters.
I don’t have a list this year, but a challenge of sorts for us to refuse meaningless striving.
Instead of validation, may we seek to be available to God, to others, and whatever that may look like.
That we could look at our circle of influence differently, perhaps even make it smaller. That we could start in our homes, working outward to our jobs, churches, and community. And if by chance we can only manage one of those things in our circle; that we would know that one thing was enough.
That we would not seek the approval of others and waste time on that bottomless pit of people pleasing, but instead seek time to feel the loving, correcting hand of God in our lives.
That we would no longer throw out the words, “I don’t have the time.” And replace them with the knowledge that we make time for whatever is truly important to us.
No more measuring sticks, just measureless grace for others and for us.
No more dreading what may happen, just take it day-by-day, sometimes even minute-by-minute.
No more beating yourself up, or talking bad about people who might sin differently than you. Because we all have our things and we are all painfully aware of what we need to be working on.
No more records of wrongs and pathetic grudges.
There is no room for growth in our lives and for hate, we have to pick which one we are going to focus on.
We can cry, let go, and forgive. Repeating those steps as often as we need to.
My prayer is that grace will fill our lungs, hope will flood our hearts, and that we persistently trust in the unseen and mighty things of God. That we will pray more than we complain and love each other even when it’s not easy. And because we never know what’s next for us, we will focus on taking one obedient footstep after the other.
May our focus remain on who we are becoming instead of what we produce.