Happy New Year! What a great day for sleeping in and taking naps and football. Lots and lots of football! I have 5 sleeping boys in the basement, 2 sleeping girls upstairs, cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven and a steaming cup of strong coffee. 2015 is shaping up to be a great year! (Now if my Buckeyes can just bring home a win tonight!)
Today is also a great day for reflection and resolutions. Where have you been? Where are you headed?
Part A – A Reflection…
Wordpress put together a 2014 in review report for me, that as a numbers geek, I thought was pretty cool. Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 8,100 times in 2014. (Compare that to 4500 times in 2013.) If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.
This made me think about a post I wrote last February, I Will Be A Subway Preacher and I went back and re-read that post and found it to be such a good reminder, especially today. Here is the reader’s digest version,
Start something…do something…be something. It’s a pressure I feel on a daily basis. One that I quite admittedly make much larger by my obsessing on questions like…Am I living up to my potential? Am I following God’s leading and teaching? What is God’s will for my life? Start something…do something…be something. My self-talk mantra.
I was ready to embrace Ephesians 3:20, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” To infinity and beyond…God definitely knows how to accomplish the “big gesture.” This is the pressure I was putting on myself…Start something (big)…do something (big)…be something (big.) Instead I have felt like I was languishing, particularly in regard to my book and this nebulous idea of a “ministry.” But recently the sand under my feet has begun to shift and I am seeing things in a different light.
So I have begun pouring myself into the here and now instead of looking ahead to the future and waiting for it to happen. I need to throw out the idea of “ministry” by my definition and walk in faith. Maybe I will walk in place for a little while. Maybe I will feel like I am walking in circles but God is in control. He has me exactly where I am supposed to be right now. I can’t second guess that. Maybe someday we will jump on another train and head out, but for today I am going to grow where I am planted. And suddenly, I have found myself at peace in the subway.
Are you growing or are you spending your time wishing you were being re-planted somewhere else? Are you giving God your best in the here and now, wherever that may be? Have you placed expectations on God that He isn’t meeting and you find yourself frustrated? A lot of questions that dig a little deeper than we are sometimes comfortable looking. I have one last one…do you believe the words of Jeremiah 29:11? “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God has plans for us, sometimes they line up with ours, sometimes they don’t. But He knows what is best, His plans are for our good, even when we can’t see it and we don’t understand it. I challenge you to trust God to do what is best for you and to use you for His purpose and for His glory. And if you do, look out. You may get to experience “more than you could ask or imagine” and never have seen it coming!
Part B A Resolution…
I read this and was dually challenged to set a WOW goal for 2015…
A WOW goal is a goal so big that you don’t want to tell it to the whole world not because you fear you might fall flat on your face when you attempt it (although that is a factor) but because the enormity of it makes the goal very personal and close to your heart. A WOW goal is so big you can only accomplish it if God really did lay it on your heart and therefore He comes in and holds your hand every step of the way, picking you up when you fall, sending you words of encouragement when those voices of doubt say you can’t and patting you on the back when you make it one step closer.
A WOW goal…but you can only accomplish it if God really did lay it on your heart. To find it we have to release God of the expectations that we have for Him. Where, in the quiet and the stillness of listening, we are able to realize God’s dreams for us. These are many times a different thing than our dreams for Him.
This reflection and resolution could stand in stark contrast to each other…accepting “small” assignments and setting WOW goals. Not feeling like you are going anywhere but setting the moon as your destination. They come together in Isaiah 28 and it’s where I am able to begin reconciling the two.
Listen to me; listen, and pay close attention. Does a farmer always plow and never sow? Is he forever cultivating the soil and never planting? Does he not finally plant his seeds— black cumin, cumin, wheat, barley, and emmer wheat— each in its proper way, and each in its proper place? The farmer knows just what to do, for God has given him understanding.The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is a wonderful teacher, and he gives the farmer great wisdom. (Isaiah 28:23-26,29)
Timing…planting…and finally harvesting. Our WOW goal may not be recognized in 2015, but that isn’t the point. At least not for me. Having a goal, working towards it, and seeing it develop, step by step, one subway train at a time, only by the grace of God, that’s….well…WOW.
So set your goal and then cultivate it, tend it, and when the time is right it will be harvested. Just don’t lose sight of it in the smallness of the everyday.