In 2015 I did not set any New Year’s Resolutions. Rather, I chose to focus on a “One-Word Goal” for that year; The word was hope. Over 2015 I focused on hope in a variety of areas. I read books on hope; I changed my view towards things, and I eliminated many influences that were negative. In other words, it was a success.
Despite the success, I didn’t set a “One-Word Goal” for 2016 due to some traumatic events at the end of last year. Fortunately, the transition from 2016 to 2017 are more hopeful (not pun intended), and I’m able to set a new “One-Year Goal” for 2017. My goal is simply, peace.
For the past nine years, I have embraced my “Inner Type-A Personality.” This embrace began when I started seminary as I knew the academics would be demanding. The problem of my choice is that I’ve found myself often very unsettled than at peace. Before this decision, there was little productivity within me, but also little anxiety or stress. In fact, I took the time to have fun and enjoy life, but I was also uneasy about how well I was reaching my goals.
Apparently I need a balance between the two extremes of living leisurely versus being a workaholic. My all or nothing approach is one that I admit has failed one side of this continuum or the other. That said, I believe a peaceful balance is not in choosing just one of the extremes, but how I live each side of life when the moments present themselves. In other words, it’s an attitude change towards both productivity and recreation. A perspective change that is best guided by my faith in Christ.
By walking day-by-day and moment-by-moment with Christ, I believe peace will be gained in all aspects of my life. Notice I said, “with Christ” and not “for Christ.” This distinction is so important for my life and in yours too. Not only is it a biblical principle found in Matthew 1:18 “God with us” and John 15:5 “a man within me can do many things, but apart from me he can do nothing,” it’s a practical step too.
Often in our Christian lives when we engage our faith we busy ourselves with trying to “do for God” than “walk with Him.” Personally, I look back on my last nine years. I look at all of the “spiritual” things I’ve accomplished, and I realize that I started doing “for God.” Yes, God called me to seminary. Yes, he called me to be a minister and pastor a few churches. Yes, he called me to do other accomplishments that I could list. However, I erred not in doing them, but that I ended up doing them “for God” than “with God.” They then became burdens than joyful points of spiritual formation because it became more about me than Him.
The summary of my loss of peace stems from forgetting the true nature of God’s grace. The fact that everything we have in Christ is not earned, but given. As Jesus said, “It is finished.” Therefore the result of his complete work is that we don’t have to nor can we do anything “for Him.” Instead, since Christ has done it all we only need rest in and “with Him.” We need to rest in the exact purpose of Christ’s death and resurrection for us so we can walk together in a two-way relationship that is “with Him” who is Jesus Christ.
In response to this grace, for 2017 I’m choosing to see more through a lens of faith and with my spiritual eyes, In a society that’s driven, I hope to slow down and talk “with God” more through both the fun and work of life. By doing so, I believe that peace will grow in my life because “with Him” that’s the nature of Christ.
What then would be your “One-Word Goal?”