It's 31st December. The last day of our calendar year. The last day of 2018. The last day of writing '18 in cards and on documents where my signature is needed and seeing the number 2018 on every electronic device I own. On this last day of each year I (like many would I imagine) sit for a while and take stock of the year that's been, of what was and now has past. I like to count the many, many blessings I've been showered with. I like to think upon the experiences I've had, the places I've been, the people I've met, what I've learned and then take a look over the 'new year's resolutions' I made a year ago.
My "Personal Goals for 2018" as they are called in the Notes app on my iPhone are many and varied. I divided them in categories:
Spiritual/ Family, Physical, Friendships, Board Work, Pastoral Work, Spending/Stuff, Social Media/IT, Ministry/ Writing.
I know- I'm over the top! These are only the titles. Each title has approximately 7 goals!!
It's at this point, when I'm reminded of my great intentions for the year that is now almost gone, that discouragement and guilt rise within me. I start to mull over the wasted opportunities, the times I allowed apathy and disillusionment to creep in, said 'yes' when I should have said 'no' and vice versa and that how many of my 'resolutions' never saw the light of day.
Sure.. some of my resolutions came to pass.
I published the fourth book in February.
I received my pastor's credentials as one who specialises in pastoral work for single and step families in May.
Some resolutions...well..they "sort of" or " in part" came to be. Our family holiday week was just a weekend in Melbourne but we were grateful for a couple of days having some fun together.
Tony and I celebrated our 12 year wedding anniversary.
I wanted to eat healthier and exercise more (probably like a lot of middle aged women on this planet!). I wanted to lose 10 kgs. I lost 6kgs and then gained 1kg over Christmas. (insert massive eye roll here). We had some family devotional times but certainly not the 1-3 weekly ones as was a 'goal'.
I wanted to be a better wife, loving my husband in a deeper way and be a more godly and patient mum. Yet, we had so many issues between us and as a family this year I could hardly believe it! It sure made those 'goals' difficult to attain!
Yet I believe it is important for me to remember God's grace in all of my unfulfilled 'goals'. Although they are/were good goals, they may not have been God's goals for me or that He had ordained them to be fulfilled in 2018. It is He who numbers our days and has written every day of our lives before one of them came to be. It is He who has a plan and purpose for our lives. It is He who tells us through Jesus' own words not to worry about our life. It is He who says through His Word that He who has began a good work in you WILL complete it. Our Salvation begins and ends with Him. In Him says the apostle Paul we live, move and have our being. And it is not until we see Jesus face to face that we will be like Him. That fact and the timing of such is not in our control. It should bring peace to control freaks and high achieving nuts like myself!
We often mistakenly believe that the Lord thinks as we do. He doesn't.
In this scripture, The Lord goes on to say that His ways and thoughts are higher than ours.
My favourite Bible commentator, Warren Wiersbe says this...
'It is not a mark of wisdom to try and second guess God, because His ways and thoughts are far beyond our comprehension. We make God after our own image and conclude He thinks and acts just as we do and we are wrong ! Have you ever tried to explain the grace of God to an unsaved person that heaven is a 'Hall of Fame' for achievers instead of the Father's house for believers.'
A wise person asks the Lord the way to go in life. We ask then wait for Him to say "This is the way, walk in it". A wise person "knows that we can make plans but the final outcome is in God's hands."
So, I'm going to rest in the lavish grace of God. I'm going to hold onto any 'Goals for 2019' lightly and pray more fervently that His plans are my ultimate goal. I'm going to remind myself that I'm a believer who has received the grace of God and therefore has become a child of God. I don't need to achieve- just believe then rest and trust; trust in the One who has my family, myself and my ministries in the palm of His hands.
See you in 2019. Blessings....