Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The List

This whole idea of goals for 2017 has me all tangled. I love making goals. I love lists. And crossing things off lists.

But I sit down to write goals for 2017 and I'm stuck. I've made lists of goals for the year before. I even crossed a few things off the list. But this year is different. I find myself waffling. Feeling directionless. Undefined.

Maybe it's because I know myself well and how I leave lists unfinished. And this one matters. It's significant. I want to be better. I want to actually complete the list.'s me. The one who doesn't have her mess together. The one who doesn't always live with consistency. I can manage to brush my teeth twice a day and floss every day. EVERY DAY. And yet I can't seem to manage other small tasks that would bring great change in my life. Consistently.

Or maybe it's because of so much change last year. I took on a new last name, on one of the most joyous days of my entire life! I said goodbye to life as a Cooper and became Mrs. Perry. Stephen and I celebrated 6 months of marriage on January 1st - and what an incredible 6 months they have been! So many joys, a lot of focus as we've learned to be students of each other, a lot of growth, surrender, prayer, the list goes on an on. And somehow, in the changes of a new name, a new home, a new role and title, I'm finding myself the same.

The same sin. The same disappointments. The same failures (and gratefully, I know failure is not final). There was mess and grossness that covered me as a Cooper. And wouldn't you know it, it's there as a Perry too.


I became acutely aware of this when my introverted self needed to be extroverted for a very extended period of time.

I became emotional, weary, needy, selfish, grumpy, short. A whole list of things I'd like to never see in myself again.

I had that moment where the realization hit: I don't really like me.

I don't say that to be overdramatic. Or negative.

But the reality is, in my sin and brokenness...I am gross.

Sitting with God in my sin is something I'd rather not do. It's not a comfortable place to be. It's painful and messy and it sucks. To be honest, I don't do it very often. Not near often enough. But repentance is a necessity. Something I'd like to do more of in 2017 (goal #1?).

And the unbelievable part is that God doesn't leave me to sit in my sin. (Hallelujah!!!)

He covers my naked, vulnerable, prostrate, helpless, broken self with His righteousness. (Thank you to my incredible accountability partner for this gentle reminder last night.)

His grace.

He makes me to walk with strength and dignity.

That is only possible through the hope of His Son, Jesus Christ, because there is nothing strong or of dignity in me...on my own. (I am reminded of this at 5:30 am when I roll out of bed to start a 12 hour matter how I might try to perform...the strength just isn't there.)

But with Him I am made new.

And that's really what I'd like to be.

Made new. Consistently.

I went back to my still empty list of "2017 Goals" and thought, what would it look like to be the person I want to be, the person God wants me to be? Who is that? What does she look like? 

She looks like a whole lot more discipline.

And she walks with a whole lot more patience...for herself and others.

And she'd have to live in grace.

That word. Grace. It is probably the most complex word I know. It is a word where you can read the meaning and think you understand, but you really have no idea what it means. Until you need it. Heaps of it. Again and again and again.

And then you think you've got it. Grace. I am covered in grace. I walk in grace.

And then you realize an even deeper need for it and you wonder if you ever really understood it to begin with!

Enter: my word of the year.


Oh, sweet Jesus, would you sow grace into me? Would you make me a garden where grace is sown. Make my life graceful.

Grace. Full.

I am reminded of a year ago when we attended Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker. Watching the ballerinas? Talk about grace! I wrote about it here.

That is a new version of me. A me where grace is sown.

So my goals are still being written. I struggle to release my vision and embrace God's. Sometimes our goals don't always align.

wake up early every day.
be productive.
get things done.
finish lists.
blog more.
read more.
exercise more.
eat healthier.
budget better.
think with more focus.
journal more.
love your job.
be a better wife, daughter, sister, friend.
have a consistent morning routine.
have a consistent nightly routine.
disciple more.
protect simplicity.
more Jesus.
more grace.

That's my list of unmeasurable goals. Basically every area of my life could use change. That's encouraging. But it's a start. Now I take that list and let God have His way with it.

He can cross things off. Add to it.

Heck, He might even crumple the whole thing up and start fresh.

A fresh start? That sounds nice. Thank you, Lord, for mercies every morning (Lamentations 3:23).

I will surrender and sit in His grace and ask Him to write my "2017 Goals" list. Maybe then, by His grace and the power of His Spirit, I might actually complete it.

1 comment:

  1. GRACE UPON GRACE UPON GRACE . . . God is so very good!!!