31 December 2013

Failing Forward

The end of year is fast approaching.  Frankly, it cannot end quickly enough for me.  I haven't liked very much about this year. Please, don't get me wrong, it wasn't all bad and it certainly contained some good belly laughs and blessings. If I had to sum it up I would put it something like this:

It wasn't the best of times and it wasn't the worst of times. It was just time.

The clock struck midnight 365 times and not once have I turned into a pumpkin or a princess. I haven't had any startling revelations. Oh sure, I have had a few crises of biblical proportions, but it's like they never really registered. I sort of plopped down and held my place like a cow pie marks its area in the field.  I haven't moved in any direction. I haven't composted and fertilized anything. I haven't achieved a single goal. I just sat still and let the world revolve around me.

I think it would be safe to say that before achieving a goal you have to actually set one. Everybody is talking about making or not making New Year's resolutions and I am thinking it's going to take a bloody revolution of some sort to get me up off my arse and doing something at all, even if it's wrong. Wait, can you be a Christian and use arse? I guess you can, I just did.

If I am going to be transparent it is fair to mention at this point that I couldn't possibly have achieved a goal as I never actually set one. Not even a little one. To the best of my knowledge I never gave goals or aspirations a single thought. It's upon this reflection that I realize I don't want to spend another minute, let alone another year, as a dried up old cow pie. IIf I want something different, I have to do something different.   I may fail but at least failing would be moving forward from simply existing, right?

I could certainly stand to do any of the normal things people resolve to do. I need to lose weight. I need to develop my prayer life, I need to develop discipline. If it is a admirable trait you can rest assured that I need to work on it. I have so many things in need of attention I can't sort out which to do first. I am frozen. Overwhelmed with my need and fear of failure.

That darned Paul. I always go into these tailspins thinking they are original with me and suddenly the Spirit brings to mind Romans 7:15. Paul starts complaining about not doing what he should do and doing what he doesn't want to do and I am certain God had him write that to prove to me I do not have a proprietary formula on screwing up. Sure, it's a comfort, but don't you ever long to be the exception to the rule?  I mean, I know that nothing has overtaken me except that which is common to man and God is faithful.... always providing a way out... but somewhere down deep don't you secretly yearn to be the one person God can't fix? Or is it just me whose pride runs amok with thoughts like that?

Where does that leave me? Apparently it leaves me in front of my computer considering the folly of not having goals or plans and cringing at the thought of spending another year as an old cow flop.   The Bible says, "Man makes his plans; God orders his steps" (Proverbs 16:9).  It seems I have some responsibility to make set some goals and make plans all the while keeping in mind that God will ordain my steps.

So, no grand statements of change. No resolutions to be mindful of or comforts to go without.  I don't know where to start so I'll start with the Word and thinking about what it is that God says about plans and goals.  If the Lord wills, I may even keep writing and let you know where my meditations lead me.  Until then, I wish you a New Year of blessings and encouragement as the Lord sanctifies and refines us all.

Ps 37:23-24
23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
when he delights in his way;
24  though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the Lord upholds his hand.

Proverbs 19:21
21  Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Isaiah 46:10
10  declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, 'My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,'

James 4:13-15
Boasting About Tomorrow
13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." ESV

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