Grace & Goals Day 3 of 30
Before the pandemic I had been going strong on a life-changing way of eating. It had brought me relief from some health conditions as well as a healthy drop in my weight, better sleeping, and less inflammation. Over time though, I experienced a struggle in the time and effort and focus it required.
Instead of praying and asking for grace, I faltered, made excuses, and slid back into occasional old ways of eating. Then the pandemic hit. Within a few weeks, I slid even further. I went from the occasional old way of eating, to the occasional new way of eating. My weight ballooned, my pain increased, old health concerns began to pop up. I experienced feelings of shame and depression, my health issues gradually returned, my weight increased, and inflammation raged pain through my body.
After seven months, I had a 'come to Jesus' moment. In the span of a week, God sent multiple conversations and devotional messages centered around the concept of discipline. It was time to tackle some old wounds and strongholds and allow God to work in my heart to reclaim my health.
Fast forward four months.
Discipline fueled by grace is what has kept me coming back to healthy choices when I don't want to, don't feel like it, and aren't motivated. I am constantly learning, surrendering, choosing obedience over self-gratification, making bad choices and asking for forgiveness, and starting over. Success comes slowly, hindered by my stubbornness, and continues only because I am not trying to meet my goals on my own. God has made me a promise, that if I follow Him, He will do that hard work in me, for me. He will change my heart, my mind, my desires, my focus - my job is simply to trust Him, to ask for His grace, to accept that I cannot accomplish my goals without His intervention: one long lesson in humility.
Today's reading in Daniel is the response of a king who believed he was a god, that he was in charge, in control, and could rule by himself for himself. If you have a chance, go read Daniel chapter 4. It's a pointed reminder of God's response to those who insist on relying on themselves.
Setting goals to improve our lives is an admirable task - there's nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy, disciplined, improved. However, warning lights appear when we attempt changes on our own, without accepting that God is the source of all good things. Refusing to acknowledge God and ask for His grace and help is a road straight to failure.
If you haven't taken the time to ask God what His thoughts are on your goals, to ask for direction, wisdom, strength, and grace - I would encourage you to do that today. Our improved life lies over the horizon of God's promise and "the fulfillment of God's promise depends entirely on trusting God and His way, then simply embracing God and what He does."
Whatever goals you have set are secondary to our main purpose of being in relationship with our Father, accepting that we need help and grace, asking for direction, trusting His promise, and looking to His power for the changes in our hearts and life.
Today's Bible Readings:
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel and advise you with my loving eye on you.
Psalm 32:8 NIV
...praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything He does is right and His ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble.
That famous promise God gave Abraham—that he and his children would possess the earth—was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God’s decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed.
If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract! That’s not a holy promise; that’s a business deal. A contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect.
But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise—and God’s promise at that—you can’t break it.
This is why the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and His way [...the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace... NIV] , and then simply embracing Him and what He does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift.
Romans 4: 13-16 MSG
"We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well."
(1 Corinthians 10:24b MSG)