Our 30 days have come to a close. If you're anything like me, you're one part relieved and one part wanting more time!
The beauty of these bite-sized goals and month-long challenges is that you can always begin anew. Take some time to conduct an honest evaluation - really dig deep into your struggles and work to unearth your inner reasons for the challenges you encountered.
My self-evaluation targeted some issues that I need to work on: getting a solid night's sleep, and creating an outline for my writing projects. Rather than let this discourage me, I will use the next few weeks to think through how I can work improvements and modifications into my life. Remember - there's no condemnation here, just evaluation and goal-setting.
Keep in mind, this process of becoming is intended to take a lifetime. So exhale and relax into the process.
Perfect tension exists in the unconditional love Jesus has for us, and His desire to to work within us to make us holy and fit temples for His Spirit. It's a beautiful truth that encourages and uplifts while it challenges and remakes us.
Thank you so much for joining me this past month! I've appreciated your comradery and wish you all the best as you continue to grow and improve your life.
Go in peace, friends.
TODAY'S BIBLE READINGS
... carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right in the center of God's love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!
Jude 1:20-21 MSG
... take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. Put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the devil throws your way.
... are more than words. Learn how to apply them. God's word is an indispensable weapon. Prayer is essential.
Ephesians 6: 10, 11, 13-18 MSG (selected passages)
Relax, everything is going to be alright. Rest, everything Is coming together. Open your hearts, love is on the way.
(Jude 1:2 MSG)
Even grace-inspired goals can leave us tired and weary. Just as our muscles need a rest day when we are working out, we too need a rest day to keep from burning out. The constant focus and attention can be exhausting.
If you are new to goal-setting, it's important to build rest days into your schedule. Whether it's once a week or twice a month, rest days help us to rebuild our muscles, reset our minds, and rejuvenate our souls. We can make time to take stock, ask ourselves what is working, what needs to be adjusted, and list all the ways God has been faithful to us on this journey.
In Galatians, we're encouraged to be aware of our energy levels: "So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit." (Galatians 6:9)
I like to try and set aside one day a week to rest and relax and exhale. I'll set my goals aside and spend my day in grateful quiet, not going hog-wild and binging on junk food or watching mindless movies all day, but perhaps a quiet day with a good book, a soothing drink, quiet music in the house, and a gentle stroll, rather than a pace-pushing walk.
Rest days are actually a key of success in NOT quitting, or giving up. Rest days acknowledge that God will continue to work in and through us - rest days acknowledge our human-ness!
As our 30-day goal setting challenge comes to a close, if you feel tired - rest. The same grace that works within you to inspire you to make choices to improve and become more like Jesus will also provide you with space for rest.
TODAY'S BIBLE READING
...every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on your altar and watch for fire to descend.
Psalm 5:3 MSG
...on the altar, the sacrificial offering is changed into what is pleasing and acceptable to Him. In the act of offering, we give up ownership and control and watch to see what God will do with what we offer Him. - Eugene Peterson
...you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others the night and day difference He made for you.
1 Peter 2:9-10 MSG
If death got the upper hand through one man's wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in the one who grasps with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right that the one man Jesus-Christ provides?
Romans 5:16,17 MSG
I have a confession.
I've always hated exercising.
Between my attention challenges (I 'just say no' to tracks, treadmills, stationary bikes, and gyms in general.) and my middle-aged, couch-sitting, covid-encouraged, stress-induced, overall-state-of-physical-fluffiness-body in these past few years, exercising has been a battle.
Four months ago when I began setting grace-inspired goals, getting fit and trim was high on my list. So I began walking. Not gentle around the track walking. Let me explain.
Living on TOP of a huge hill, surrounded by other huge hills, my walking paths are not for the faint of heart.
To the left, I have a stretch that is something like this: steep up, long decline, steeper decline, long decline, long incline THEN, long decline, looooooooooong incline, STEEP incline (can't. breathe.), gradual incline (that goes on for eeeeeeeeeeeeeever), steep decline.
No. Flat. Spots.
To the right, it's incline, decline and a minute of flat, killer incline, gradual descent into madness, multiple declines, short flat spot, then turn around and climb until you can't breathe, then climb some more, steep decline trying not to fall forward onto your face, then gasp your way home.
When I began, I was NOT a fan. Of either direction.
It took me four months of walking 6 days a week - no matter the weather - to begin to experience an easy relationship with the hills. Even now, I huff and puff, but my goal is not to stop, no matter how slow I have to go!
What began as the longest one mile and 20 minutes of my life has now become the shortest hour of three plus miles! I was shocked to discover this past month that I actually WANT to walk and look forward to it. (Just ask my walking partner, Mabel, who received my 'let's walk!' text in the middle of a snow storm! She said yes. She's a total beast.) I'm now planning and looking forward to larger goals, longer walks, new destinations. That, my friends, is ALL GOD'S GRACE.
Sometimes the goals God asks of us seem daunting, huge, and scary. Be encouraged that God's grace is ready to get you where He wants you to go! When we choose to follow Jesus, to ask Him into our lives, and step forward in our resurrection life, we are empowered and can live the promise of new life. This new life is like my walking muscles that needed to be used and stretched and built - and on our journey towards health, our new life is strengthened and energized by the grace of God!
God is doing a work in you, my friend. Allow yourself to relax into His plan for you, seeking His truth, accepting His grace, and forge ahead with confidence, one hill at a time!
TODAY'S BIBLE READINGS
We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it.
Proverbs 16:9 MSG
The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on them.
Acts 4:33 MSG
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This down payment from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.
That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!
Ephesians 1:11-19 MSG
Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life!
Romans 5: 9-10
"We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well."
(1 Corinthians 10:24b MSG)