“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
– L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve lived far too long to know there is nothing but guilt, shame and condemnation waiting at the end of the first week, because no matter how ‘set’ and ‘pumped’ I am about it, I always fail. I know this…but there is just something irresistible about a clean slate…a blank sheet of paper waiting to be written on…a chance to start over again. So in later years, I’ve started making more general ‘goals’ to work toward in the New Year, but I’ve always failed miserably at those, too.
Years ago, (I’m thinking it was over 20 years ago) I was listening to some guy on a Christian radio station. I don’t even know who it was, but it really made an impression on me. The sermon centered on a question he used as a ‘conversation starter’ with people. The question was:
“What’s the Lord working on in your life right now?”
I remember going into a mild panic at the time, as I thought about how I would answer the question if it was posed to me at that moment.
How does one answer that question? It’s so BROAD, and PERSONAL. Closer to the truth, was that I just didn’t KNOW what the Lord was working on in my life at that time. Even though I called myself a Christian, had gone up to the front of the church several times, said the ‘Sinner’s Prayer’ in private a million times…I just didn’t know Jesus. I didn’t know who He really was, I didn’t know who He made me to be, and I certainly didn’t know what He was ‘working on’ in my life. Quite frankly, I wasn’t allowing Him to do anything in my life, and I didn’t WANT Him doing anything in my life, except when I said crisis prayers to help me when I was desperate…and He seemed so far away. He was usually the last thought on my mind.
Fast forward 20 years, and I can tell you that there seem to be ‘themes’ in my life that the Lord is ‘working on’ at any given time period in my life. Sometimes, these themes can run a year, two years or more. It’s not ever-present on my mind, but periodically, I have a ‘light bulb’ moment where I hit my head with my palm and say, “This keeps happening over and over. The Lord keeps showing me this again and again.”
Up close and personal, lately the Lord has been ‘working on me’ to show me that I can do nothing without Him. Kind of anti-climactic, huh? For someone as ‘dull’ as me, each time the Lord whams me over the head with this, it’s like an epiphany. The clouds roll back in the heavens, the angels sing, and I’m caught up in an ecstasy. (Extreme poetic license taken in that last sentence.) At that moment, I close my mouth, wipe that bit of drool out of the corner of it, and look behind me and remember how this has been a theme in my life. Yet again, the Lord is proving Himself in my life.
I can do NOTHING without Jesus. He is my strength, He is my will, He is my motivation.
I can’t DO good, and I can’t BE good without His help….and when I fail (and I know I inevitably will) Jesus is one of the few who won’t look at me in disgust and frustration. When I just admit that I’ve dropped the ball, yet again, admit and confess my faults and failures, and ask for the Lord’s help…He’ll meet me where I am at. When I draw close to Him and express that I can do nothing without Him and I need His help…He wraps me in His loving arms and says, “I’m on it,” and things begin to change…on HIS timetable.
I said all of that to say this: This year, my goal thingees are going to be the Lord’s goal thingees. I’m asking Him to show me the things HE wants to work on in me, and I’m asking Him for His help. Rather than work on the things that bother ME this year, or help with what I want to do, I’m asking Him to work on the things that bother HIM and guide me into the things He wants me to do.
I WILL write them down as He shows me what those things are…but I’m not quite ready to share them yet. So far, they are very personal things, and likely to bring judgment from mere mortals, because…okay, yeah…I am flawed, and weak-willed…but God is not finished with me yet.
“…for it is God who is working in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
“My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9,10