I feel caught. Again. Just like I am every New Year. The ball drops. A New Year begins. A chance to start over, a reset, a new chance.
Maybe, just maybe, this will be the year; that I will manage my money better, stay in touch more closely with my friends, be a better husband, exercise more regularly, read more… you know the drill. Maybe this year I will become more of the man I want to be. Maybe…
After all the calendars change, the checks have to be rewritten for a while until I get the year right, the gyms offer new memberships for really cheap, and most of all, I just feel somehow “new”.
But geez, how many times have I done the drill? How many times have I prayerfully pondered what God would want from me and for me this new year? How many times have I laid down plans to get there? How many times have I recreated my calendar to make space for these new disciplines? And how many times have I failed?
So why try? Why ponder and pray? Why start again? Why reach for more?
To me, this feels an awful lot like the Christian life as a whole. The Spirit lives in me and gives me this gnawing sense of who I could be if I really gave myself to Jesus. I have some ideas as to how to get there. I resolve and often do live a fairly disciplined life. And then I fall flat on my face! It could be eating too much or being judgmental or wanting to watch TV rather than engage with Lynne. It could be that I would rather get a new TV rather than give to a missionary buddy in the Middle East or a refugee family we know. Whatever the specifics, I know that I want to be more and I know that I fall right on my face again.
But God doesn’t want me to stay there. In fact, Jesus came so that I don’t have to. You and I get to begin again, somehow empowered by a Spirit that brings hope and calling and direction… but somehow not empowered enough that we don’t fall again – and find ourselves back at the foot of the Cross. Jesus died so that we could begin again. And in His death and resurrection we know that one day we will get it right. One day our hopes will be fulfilled. One day we will become all that He intends.
And until then, I think He has us right where He wants us. We want more. We can go after it. We will fail and fall, but can get up again and go for it… because of Him. And along the way, we get the privilege of needing Him and leaning into Him over and over. And that is the plan!
So, let’s not lose the courage to dream and go for our dreams, knowing He will meet us along the way.
Palmer Trice is an ordained Presbyterian minister. He is married to Lynne, has three children and has been in Charlotte since 1979. In his spare time, Palmer enjoys golf, tennis, walking and reading.