Today’s the first day of a new year. The past is behind you and a wide open future is before you. You’ve set your goals. You’ve made your resolutions. You’re ready to achieve!
Good. I’m for it. But, be careful…
When December 31st shows up again, and when your last day on earth shows up, the most important thing about you will not be what you’ve achieved, but what you’ve received. Please do set big goals and work hard to achieve them, but it’s more important that we wake up to big gifts and learn to receive them.
Right now, January 1st, you are surrounded by gifts: The pursuing presence of God, grace, the Word of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, a new identity, a bright eternal future, and treasure chests of people, places, and things that you did not achieve. In 1 Corinthians 4:7, Paul put this receiving-reality of life this way: “What do you have that you did not receive?” Answer: Nothing…all is grace, all is gift.
You don’t achieve gifts, you receive gifts. Maybe we should delete some of our achieving goals for the year and set some receiving goals. Some ideas:
- Wake up to God’s presence. Open up the gift of God’s constant, pursuing presence. God is always present to us, will we grow more present to him this year?
- Receive more deeply what you’ve already been given, enter into greater receptivity and gratitude with what you already have. What’s holding us back from being wildly grateful right now, with zero achievements so far in this new year?
- Live a new year of life powered by gifts and grace, not achievement and accomplishment. What is this is the year we receive the humbling, liberating reality that God’s at work and achieving all around us, and we’re simply joining him in this grace journey?
This year everybody is going to try to sell you something or get you to achieve something. But not Jesus. He’s here in this new year to give you something. I’m writing this for me more than I’m writing this for you. Let’s make this new year mainly about what we receive, not what we achieve. And, ironically, the better we receive these gifts the better (more health, more impact) we’ll achieve some goals. Happy new year!