Originally published Saturday, 24 January 2015.
When I found myself getting irritated at the wide pronouncements of one-word resolutions, I started to wonder, "What's my issue?"
How can someone not like words like:
Why am I so frustrated as others passionately pursue the Lord?
Sure, I picked a word - it's "patience." It was wisely given to my by a friend.
Patience in writing.
Patience with my husband.
Patience with my kids.
Patience in growth.
Patience in relationships.
Yes, I see the value.
But, what I can't handle seeing - at the end of my year - is failure. I don't want to see that. I don't want to see the shame, regret, fear and embarrassment tied into that. Why should I set myself up for this?
So I find, it's simpler to get annoyed and to avoid.
It's easier to hate than to embrace.
It's safer to go protected than to become dejected.
So, I push goals, dreams and hopes out of the way to protect a heart that could break along the way.
Truth is, I know I will fail in many ways.
I won't be patient. I will get irritated. I will blow up at my kids and probably my husband. I will drop the ball. I will mess up. I just know it - and I hate that.
I hate that I can't reach out to all I want to be - and grab hold of it.
And, underneath it all, I guess this is what really aggravates me about 1-word resolutions. We will all fail in our own way. We will all do the exact opposite of what our 1-word is.
Good luck on that 1-word friends!
For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7)
And, he is not content with stagnant hearts that hide from his life-giving, love-producing, purpose-provoking truth.
So he says to me, "Kelly, running from failure is running from me."
And, who can argue with that?
Failure is the beginning of something new.
Failure is the meeting point of love.
Failure is the hidden treasure - we let go of self and grab hold of Christ.
Failure is the heart of growth.
And the starting point of hope.
Jesus doesn't stand as a judge of 1-word resolutions.
He doesn't demand a 1-year illusion - here today and gone tomorrow.
He is not a master of confusion.
Ready to throw us into seclusion.
This is not our Lord. He never withholds love -
and he doesn't shame us based on failures.
In this, I realize our resolutions don't stand as a barrier to his love -
but as a conduit for it.
I realize if I stop aiming to please him, I can start aiming to just behold him.
Because a student best receives, when she isn't trying to do things her own way.
Deeply, so deeply, I want to remember:
- We are safe in his sacrifice. Held tightly, cupped in his loving hands.
- Secure. So secure in our position as children of the most high King.
- In the safety of his love - and the finality of his sacrifice - we can embrace grace and all the gifts extended through it.
A grace that doesn't stop at our failings.
A love that is never given to be taken away.
An eternal position that can never be snatched.
A God that doesn't give to steal away.
What kind of God would that be?
Truly, all wrath is gone.
All that remains is love.
Because of Jesus, I am safe - safe to move forward in perfect love. Love that casts out all my fear. Love that conquers all. Love that makes me an overcomer. Love that let's the Spirit of God pour out from me. I can't even comprehend the start and end of this grace.
So, the Lord just says to me...
"Patience, Kelly. Patience.
You are my work in progress.
It is not you that is at work - but it is me.
At the proper time, you will be exalted.
Do you trust me?
In my good time (which may well be more than a year), you will be patient.
You are my work, my craftsmanship, my love."
And, in these truths, I can rest. I can rest because there is no condemnation left for me. It's gone. It is gone for me and it is gone for you.
So for now, it just becomes a journey to his destination. In his timing. In his way. Until the day until he flings open the gate to welcome in his new creation - that he made me to be.
Until then, I will rely on him during the process of being patient.
And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 JB)