You won’t find things like bringing a child into your family as your own, spending time with a lonely widow or homeless man, or visiting someone in prison on too many 2018 resolution or goal lists.
I don’t know many people who wake up in the morning saying, “Today, I am going to leave my comfort zone and hang out with someone who looks, thinks, or acts differently than I do”.
Loving our neighbor as we love ourselves just isn’t how we are hard-wired. Instead we think of ourselves and our own family and close friends.
We need a motivation that prompts us to do things outside of ourselves. For many that is a sense of justice. Maybe some do it out of obligation or guilt. For others it is for the recognition that it brings.
So what is my motivation for 2018?
I am like many of you, I set some business goals for my writing, blogging, podcasting, and a couple of new things for this year.
I also set a couple of personal goals too. They are quite simple. One is to avoid complaining and criticizing. I do this in my mind more than I vocalize it, except around home. The flip side to that is to use words of kindness and encouragement.
My wife is doing the happy dance about that goal.
The other is one that I know will impact every area of my life, especially when it comes to successfully living a life sent. It doesn’t have anything to do with the external motivations listed above.
My one other goal is to spend scheduled, intimate time with God.
On our property, down the hill from our house we have a large oak tree with two benches under it. I have spent a lot of time clearing cedar and brush on our property, and I will often take a break sitting on one of those benches. I find peace in the beauty, and it directs my thoughts and heart toward God.
But what happens far too often is that I don’t prioritize times to spend with God. Yes, I will read some scripture in the morning. Some days I will journal some thoughts or prayers.
So I decided that I will spend 2-3 mornings by going down the hill without my phone. Just my Bible, journal, and a pen. And spend time with God in what has become a sacred place for me.
Our church called us to a time of prayer and fasting this week. That is how I am beginning 2018. Praying and fasting as I seek God. He is who makes it a priority to place a child into a family, who cares for the widow and the one who doesn’t have a place to call home. God doesn’t forget the one who is in prison, and yes, He set the example of leaving His place of comfort, not just comfort, perfection, and entering our world.
As I spend time with Him…as we spend time with Him, His nature becomes our nature.
If that is the one and only goal that I accomplish this year, it will be the best year ever.