This morning was the first time I have had to opportunity to get out and run since mid-December. Once my family arrived in town and the busyness of the season caught up with me, getting outside at 5 am wasn’t my priority. Starting over again today, it almost felt like my first time running. However, as I sit here writing this letter, I am reminded of my New Year Goals last year. At some, I succeeded. I completed my first half Marathon this last month and I competed in a fun-spirited CrossFit competition called Festivus. Both goals were fun. They took a lot of preparation, training, encouragement and great friends to work with. I also exceeded all my expectations in accomplishing those goals, finishing 15 minutes faster than expected at the race and winning a “Spirit Award” with my teammate at the Festivus Games. It always feels great to accomplish a stated goal.
What’s tough is knowing the goals I didn’t meet. I fell short of meeting another personal goal for my physical health and have quite a bit more work to do. For the past few years, I have been working on a personal goal and put it up on the board at the gym each year. Three years in a row now. That stings just saying it out loud. You see, as much fun as reaching those other goals last year, this goal continues to be a struggle and one that isn’t going away anytime soon. When I come to the new year I like to look back on my goals and see how grace has interacted in my life to keep me going. Friends, family, even complete strangers in some ways have offered encouragement to keep me going, especially around the 2-hour mark during the half-marathon. There have been so many examples of people who helped me work through my goals, even when I slipped up, didn’t train as hard or missed a day in the gym. All the while grace seems to abound in the goals that I’ve completed and the ones I’m still working on.
What I find interesting is how important grace is to any goal that we set, especially this time of year. Grace is the encouragement to know that when we fail, there is something there to offer us the next step in the right direction. When we want to give up, or just say “it’s not worth it”, or my favorite saying “I’ll start again tomorrow,” we find grace there beckoning to keep going. Grace was there before we knew we needed to change, grace is there to beckon us onward and grace is what will be the thing we proclaim the most when we reach our goals. Wesley would call it prevenient, justifying and sanctifying grace.
Where do you need grace in your goals, in your life, relationships and so much more? Where can you recognize that grace is there with a hand out to you calling you back into working towards that goal? For me, it was a text message from a friend inviting me to get out and run this morning. I thank God for that kind of grace. It never fails, it never gives up. I pray for you to see that in your goals and in every part of your life in the new year. One way to start thinking about how that grace has entered our lives is through worship. This Sunday we will be looking at John 1:1-18 and discovering what a Grace-Filled New Year looks like.
Looking forward to a wonderful day of worship with you on Sunday!
With Grace & Peace,