What is it about a new year, month, week or day that offers a chance for a do-over? How many of us have made well-meaning decisions about changes we wanted to make and these lined up with a ‘new’ moment?
If we fall off the wagon, as the saying goes, many of us then feel we’ve blown it, so we wallow in self-pity or get stuck in self-sabotage while waiting for the next ‘new’ to come around … so we can begin again.
I’ve done it myself many times. Whether it’s an exercise or clean eating regime, a save-don’t-spend plan or the old Facebook fast—it’s simple but not easy. In fact, ‘simple but not easy’ has become one of my key life messages. It keeps me grounded and reminds me to be kind to others and myself.
We can be quick to heap burning coals of failure on ourselves and others when expectations are not met. But here’s one thing I’m learning more and more: God doesn’t work like we do.
A lot of people are motivated to make positive change on Mondays. For instance, a study on Google search queries a few years back found more people think about quitting smoking on Mondays than any other day.
But I believe God would say to us, ‘No more Mondays!’ God doesn’t require us to wait for the next ‘new’ to come along before we can talk with him or ask for forgiveness. God’s grace is not limited by a time-stamp.
I remember talking with a friend one day about church. They said they needed to get their life sorted out first before they could come along to a church service. Their thinking was, ‘I’ve messed up too much come to church.’ That’s not the gospel according to Jesus of Nazareth!
One of the other life lessons I’ve learnt is that God is more interested in our character than our comfort. Sometimes life gets uncomfortable—and we can choose to stay in that place with its consequences, or we can choose to change something. It might be an attitude or a habit or a mindset.
Dissatisfaction can be a great catalyst for change. So can hope. Do you have a vision for the kind of life you want to live? Do your current circumstances and behaviour lend themselves to this vision? Or are they contributing to you staying stuck in a rut?
I’m a big fan of Brené Brown, a research professor who has spent years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame. Her books and TED talk have inspired millions around the world. Brené says that ‘sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up’. Show up—when you’ve stumbled. Show up—when you feel inadequate. Show up—when you aren’t living to your full potential. Show up—when you feel unworthy. ‘You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot have both,’ says Brené.
As we begin 2017 let’s choose to live with courage. Let’s choose to live purposely. Let’s choose to accept God’s grace without needing to wait till next Monday. That might just help us love Mondays a little bit more too.
by Shar Davis (c) 'War Cry' magazine, 14 January 2017, pp3
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