Sunday, December 30, 2012

the real motivation.

let's talk about goals.
because you're about to see a avalanche of everyone's goal lists, if they haven't already begun.
and that's ok. goals can be good.
here's the deal though: you're going to be like...what?! i need to do all the goals in the world! i can do this! starting january 1!
but before you do all the good ideas on pinterest and make all the best goals and save all the money with your homemade dishwashing detergent and read your bible in 3 days, let's step back and think about something.

you can have good motivation for doing something, but it is not the same thing as "God" motivation. see how i took the O out of good? i know. it was amazing.

for you, "good motivation" might be, i want to fit into that pair of pants. or i want to be skinnier/healthier so i feel good about myself...or so people might notice me and compliment me more? i want to stop having a muffin top and soft arms because it's ugly in pictures.

i want to be more organized so i stop looking like an idiot. showing up for baby showers on the wrong saturday. showing up to my son's class party an hour late and what must the other mother's think of me? and also, my house is cluttered and i'm embarrassed about it when people come over...

i want to be a better mom and i want my kids obey me better. like out in public. because it's a little embarrassing when they're naughty and we're opening all the snacks in target. or deep down, i want to be a better mom because i want people to look at me and say, she's a great mother! or i just don't want to be bothered by my kids. i have stuff to do today kids, don't get in my way!

at least, in my flesh, those would be some of my goals and the real motivations behind them. the problem is my motivation is sinful and not Gospel centered, but ME-centered. these will always produce failure. and maybe, when you look at the real reason behind the goals, you'll see that those goals don't need to be in there at all.  in examining some of my goals, i've found it's more needed to repent for looking to these things to find satisfaction and approval instead of looking to Christ and seeking His Glory. i'm often after my own glory if i'm honest with myself.

but people who don't love Jesus make goals and fulfill them all the time.
you're right, they do make and fulfill goals. but it will never satisfy the root problem. they lost weight, but still are seeking approval from others to make them feel better. the compliments will fade away and they'll need something more. perhaps more weight loss. more toning. perhaps more clothes to make that bod look hotter. more cleavage! that will help! perhaps a new business endeavor. perhaps a new hobby to sink themselves into. somewhere to volunteer even! you see where i'm going....never ending cycle.

it fails every time. the same with me wanting a more organized house out of the motivation that i want others to give me approval for my "home skills". or i want to be in control of everything all the time, so i am motivated to make sure that everything is always in tip-top shape.  if anyone (KIDS!) messes it up, you will deal with the wrath of this mommy. anger ensues. frustration. failure. shame. unfair punishment on children who are messy and will always make messes even when trying to clean up. or is this just my life?

for example, this year i thought it would be good to organize everything. i kept failing. wanna know why?
under my goals i had some sin issues i needed to deal with.
i was too busy being busy "helping God" to help my own self.
solution: not goals and lists to make me more organized but repenting from thinking i was God for other people and that they needed me. repenting from serving other ministries first before the one God gave me and asked me to be a steward of: my marriage and family. repenting from wanting to look good for others and finding approval in others thoughts about me and words to me. repenting for finding my identity in something other than Christ.

my solution was not in doing anything better. the solution was repenting and seeing Christ as my only hope for lasting change. from that i began to see that Christ would work in me and IN SPITE of me. He was doing the work and not me. truth be told, God has been changing me, even in small ways. i'm resting more and in turn, i'm home more. literally and figuratively. things are getting organized and i can actually find things, show up to things on the right day, and so on. because i'm present.

usually my goal is "be more present". and then i try and do better by setting up all sorts of boundaries and rules for myself. i was so backwards. my problem wasn't simply that i wasn't present with my kids, the problem was and still is, a bigger heart issue and a pattern of sin. sin that didn't need goals to fix it, but that need a supernatural solution starting with repentance.

one thing i've learned this year is that out of any other motivation outside of a love for Christ and obedience to him, i fail. i am graceless with others and myself. my heart is uglier than i'd like to admit or even look at. but it must be looked at so that i see the giantness of my sin and the way more gigantic cross. this is my true solution. that i really am nothing apart from Christ and i need him to help me change. i need him in my mundane and i need him even when i make my goals for the year.
it's taken me a long time to believe that about myself because i'd like to think i'm a pretty great person who doesn't need much help.

not so! we all fall short. all of us christians. so so so short. the difference between christians and non-christians is not that we're better than others. no, christians should believe that we're the exact same as far as falling short. the difference is that we believe that Jesus is our only hope and made the ultimate sacrifice for us so that we could have a relationship with God. our lives should look different out of His power to produce lasting change, not for our glory, but for Christ's.

and even so, we get lost in wordly wisdom.
we do the same things we've done every year...
make a goal, fail, shame.
make a goal, nail it, but are unsatisfied.
compare our goals to other people's goals...then change them... then fail.
over and over. the story of humans.

when i go to bed at night and tell myself how terrible of a mother i am. how so and so is better than me, how i was so selfish and then promise myself to do better the next day, i am doing a disservice to the Gospel. i skip over the repentance piece and move straight into penance: the fixing!  and guess what? no matter how hard i try, i eventually fail. sometimes it happens that very day and sometimes i can conjure up enough strength to be better for a whole week or month. but it's not lasting change. nothing in my heart changed except more shame abounds. why is that?

because i can never pay enough penance for any sin.
when i try and change this way, it is in my own strength, not in Christ's. directly opposing the bible which says, i can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
i did not repent first to Christ for my sin and ask him to supernaturally show up and do the work for me. deep down, i believe that i don't need God to help me in such mundane situations.

except that's where i live! i live in the mundane. it's my address. and it's silly to think that God only works in the big things and doesn't care about my small, dinky issues. the truth is, they are not small problems, they are giant heart issues that play out in my mundane everyday.

your weight issue. your organizing issue. your child rearing issue. your friendships issue. your whatever issue is always about you and God. ALWAYS. it is a worldly thought to believe that it's not about God and that you can conjure up enough strength to fix it. and hey, christians are misleading other christians by preaching this to one another. beware.

so hear the truth:  whether you eat, or drink, [it doesn't get more mundane than that] or whatever you do, do it ALL for the the glory of God[not for your own glory]. acts 17:25

not, "do it all" so you feel good about yourself. not "do it all" so you others will like you. not "do it all" so you can remain in control and not be bothered. not "do it all" so you feel more peace in your home and it looks good. not "do it all" so you can be as awesome as so and so.

so instead of making goals this year out of my flesh, i am praying about what God would have me do. one of my goals is that i do need to eat healthier. i feel terrible physically, am tired all the time, and i don't believe i'm being a good steward of my body. i believe God is helping me see Him through my exhaustion and that He is asking me to change. there is no greater motivation than this.

in that, i am asking for forgiveness for eating like this and not working out. ever. and asking that God would show up and help me eat healthier and help me get my jazzercise on.
no cookies for breakfast...sigh. it's kind of common sense, but for me, i've eaten crap in the morning for years. this will take some supernatural intervention. perhaps if an angel cooked me an egg in the morning? it's just an idea, God. (i just pictured nato with angel wings, holding a spatula and i think it was from the Lord.)

even so, in my Godly motivation, i will fail. i'm human and we live in a broken world. but when my identity is wrapped up in the grace of God, and not in the wrath of myself,  i don't wallow in shame. there is no condemnation in Christ.
i repent and ask for God to help me again. if there is ever a pattern in my life, i pray that it is that.

77 comments:

  1. jamiiiiiiii.
    thank you.
    this stings a wee bit, because i love doing all the things and slapping 'to god be the glory' on them.
    but really, i don't think i've been that motivated by HIM. not as much as i think, you know?

    also, i have a major food issue. and i am tackling it again right now. i 'came out' about it in the summer-on my blog. so now? everyone knows, and knows that i am failing. i was doing great! the telling helped me push toward change. but then. stress. holidays. there's an endless list i could blame it on...but it's between me and jesus. i don't hunger enough for him. i don't hate my sin enough. things don't change until those things change.

    anyway. i love this post and am going to read it again. grateful for you, and another year of being blessed through your blog. cheers to fresh starts and looking only to him!

    i love you.

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    1. dude. the sermon this sunday was exactly about this. feasting on the bread of Jesus. i will email it to you when they post it.

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  2. You simply MUST get out of my brain; frankly, it's kinda creepy that you're in there walking around and sharing all the nasty goo that's in my mind, heart, and soul. On a more serious note, I cannot thank you enough for this post! I was just thinking about all the awesome things I'd like to do in the coming year (you know, the things I intended to do first and then tell Him to bless later. *sigh*), but not once did it occur to me to kneel and ask forgiveness for all the ick that is in me. AND I SHOULD KNOW BETTER. That's the truly tragic part of it all. I'm a believer and I neglect my God on the regular.
    Anyway, thank you so very much for slapping me in the friggin' face with the love of the Lord. I needed it A LOT. :)
    P.S. I'm making that bread from your previous post tonight--pray for me!

    Blessings and love to ya,
    Dara
    www.LivingMySomeday.com

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    1. we al neglect him. we need a savior so bad!

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  3. I really needed that reminder as the new year approaches. Thanks for speaking the truth.

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    1. thanks for being my friend. even though i hermit.

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  4. oh my word. i needed this so bad. its like you jumped in my head and found my goal list. i was reading the first part, nodding my head and saying, "yes". then you said the part about starting a business to fulfill a need for acclaim. i have done it every year for the past several years. but always justify it as being ambitious. but you just helped me see that its me trying to fix it. i am forever on my kids about picking up the house and transferring unfair frustration on them because im the one who feels out of control. all these things are good. but not without Him. dude. that just totally rocked me. thank you so so much for sharing your heart. i love reading your blog and i love your humor. thanks jami.
    ashlee

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    1. God is spanking me with the Gospel too! it's so good for me though. we are all prone to wander.

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  5. I'm a big fan of all your writing but I'm pretty sure this tops my favorites list. Thank you so much for these words of wisdom and encouragement and truth!

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    1. thanks for your sweet words and encouragement.

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  6. Boom. convicted... God sure uses you to spank people with the gospel, girl. Checking my heart motivations on a lot of stuff right now.

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  7. wonderful post- thank you so much for this reminder. So very true.

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  8. You my friend are full of wisdom. Thank you for continuing to share from your heart which so clearly is pointing back to Him.

    I've never been a big 'resolution' fan and I tend to go against the whole 'one word' phenom (mainly because my prideful self doesn't want to be a 'follower'), BUT the truth is, it's a good time to reflect on where your heart attitude is at, where your light shined in the year and where it did not. What areas need to continue to be watered as to stay fruitful and what areas need more work and cultivating so that they can start to grown and bear fruit.

    Remembering like you said though, that none of it will bear fruit apart from Him.

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    1. the new year is a great time for reflection and perhaps, when needed, an intentional reset! we all could use that. praise God that he can use human holidays to turn us towards him.

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  9. beautiful. perfectly timed as we all scramble to see which list will out-list the others lists. what a harsh world we can live in while trying to save face and keep our list better, longer, more intentional... when we're just called to be Jesus-walkers & Jesus-talkers. i have struggled with losing the "last 10 lbs" and a few weeks ago someone told me... when you get to the pearly gates is God going to say, "good job my faithful servant.. i wish you were 10 lbs. lighter."? what perspective. being healthier is on my list. those 10 lbs. are not! thank you for sharing your heart.

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  10. Glory to God for these beautiful and painfully true words. goodness sakes I am gonna re-read it about 10 times. I am so freaking thankful that after years and years and years of terrible goal-making habits there is still grace and a chance to do it right. 2013 better be shaking in its boots because Jesus is going to show up big. I know it.

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  11. Love this. Favorite parts? Hearing that someone else struggles with being present, the verse reminding me to do ALL to the glory of God and your goal to get your Jazzercise on. I love me some Jazzercise.

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    1. i will really probably never do jazzercise. but i wish that i would. LOL. zumba at the Y is kind of the same thing?

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  12. I'm starting to feel like you and God are teaming up on me.

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  13. Wow. So profound. I find myself starting to make lists and lists and more lists for the new year, but you're completely right. GOD should be at the top of my list and His direction should dictate how my 2013 plays out. Thank you for the reminder :)

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    1. isn't it easy to find our hope in lists, which have no power to change anything!

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  14. such a beautiful and refreshing perspective...spoke directly to my heart tonight as I reflect on 2012 and look towards the new year. Oh, how I desire for HIS glory to be the reason why I do anything...and that anything i DO is because of HIS strength. Thanks for sharing...

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  15. You wreck me in all the right ways, I do believe I love you Jami Nato ... Not in a creepy way:)

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  16. seriously.
    the best post everrrrrrr(for me, right now).
    high fives and fist pumps for claiming our position in Christ and always believing that we truly can do all things through HIM Who gives us strength!
    so much to chew on here.
    i'll totally be back to read and reread.
    xoxo
    thanks, jame.

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  17. all of my comments feel weird, because what i really want to do is tell you that i just totally ugly cried and want to give you a big hug that probably would be awkward. but seriously... thank you. for being obedient and listening to Him and encouraging us {ok, me at least} to just want to RUN INTO JESUS this year with abandon. thank you for writing out stuff like this. i just had a little "coffee date night" with myself, and started writing out goals that turned into this big long letter to Jesus about "what the crap do YOU want me to do?! because this is all going to be a big ole fail" and it was really good... and then i come home and read this. and i'm like YES. God is good. that is all.

    also, nato with angel wings making you an egg:: totally of God.

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    1. you're so sweet. it's true...run for cover people...there's too much out there after our hearts and it's easy to stray. Jesus is our only hope.

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  18. This post is so right one! I never really knew how to word my issues with resolutions/goals/etc... but you summed it up perfectly. Glad I found your blog! (Thanks to an RT on Twitter ;)

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  19. love this. seriously.

    earlier this weekend, i was like, "what pithy word/phrase/verse/lyric awesomeness do i want to write on our giant chalkboard wall for the new year?" then it occurred to me. (or the Spirit moved.) "DO IT ALL FOR THE GLORY OF GOD." it doesn't get more appropriate than that when trying to describe where my heart ought to be.

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  20. Great stuff here. The work in your heart that must happen to learn lessons like this is never easy. Thank you for sharing.

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  21. Thank you...all I have to say is that you are right! Have an awesome New Year! Marisa

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  22. exactly what i needed to hear (read?) this morning. thank you for the reminder that everything we do should be centered around the healing gospel of JESUS and not ourselves and our own goals.

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  23. i love this so much. so much. it's like all i've ever wanted to say about goals but didn't. only way better because you wrote it.

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  24. Can I just give you a huge virtual hug! Love this post! THANK YOU! This is exactly what I needed to read this morning!

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    1. i am preaching it to myself too! i need this just as much as i tell others to do it. :)

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  25. So good, jami nato. Thanks for the truth and honesty (as always).

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    1. you're so good. thanks for your sweet words.

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  26. Thank you thank you! I NEED this! I NEED Christ and His cross! Thank you for the reminder.

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    1. isn't it silly how we gorget how much we need the cross?

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  27. love it. my husband and i were talking about this last night. we had an extremely rough 2012 and of course the first thoughts about the new year are, "it has to be better than 2012" but I'm convicted that God doesn't change according to my good year or bad year. he is the same. his love is the same for me no matter what. so instead of obsessing over having a better year than last year and setting goals that eliminate my discomfort and pain (impossible), my goal is to focus on the God that never changes and isn't shaken by the trouble that is promised me in this life. he is my source of peace, contentment, joy and an abundant life. my goal for 2013 is Jesus, the source of pure joy in all circumstances.

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  28. You rock. My socks. Straight off. I want every woman, man and child in Christendom to read this. It is not only timely, it's foundational.

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  29. (I am totally the 'opening all the snacks in target' mom). This post is so good. So encouraging. So convicting. Thank you.

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  30. You have no idea how much I needed to read this today!! Thank you for letting Jesus talk through you! Keep speaking truth! Happy New Year!!

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  31. AMEN SISTA! I want to come back later and read it in more detail when I dont' have crumb snatchers climbing all over me, but I LOVE this and I love YOU! Happy New Year, Nato family! may it be a year full of God's favor, provision, and blessings! ~ cat (www.catdmoore.com)

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  32. hi jami,
    this is exactly what i needed to read (and i think i may have said this about your last post... but nonetheless, it doesn't ring any less true).

    i have a question for you.. and it may require a longer response. but you don't have to answer it if you don't have time!
    this upcoming year, i really want to ground myself in the Word... but a couple of days ago, i came to this conclusion that i don't know how to... (for a lack of a better word) "properly" do my quiet times. not that there is a proper way to read the Bible but i'm trying to figure out an effective way to dig deeper. do you have any suggestions on how you do your quiet times?

    if you do answer, thank you.
    if not, that's okay too! i hope you have a great new years :)

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    1. I know you asked Jami, so feel free to ignore this!

      My system is here: http://lordgirl.blogspot.com.au/search/label/quiet%20time%20with%20God

      Basically: Read a passage using the SOAP method, write out prayers for my hubby, myself, then others, write 3 things I'm grateful for in my gratitude journal. Takes about 30 mins depending on length of the passage. If I'm a more "theological" mood I'll read a daily devotional, or a chapter of a book and round it out to 45-60 mins.

      Hope that helps!

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  33. dang. i have nothing profound to say... just...dang. i get all caught up in lists and measures of productivity and miss the whole point. way to go, jami.
    but do i have to stop eating cookies at breakfast? ;)

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  34. you put into such beautiful words what i have been struggling with for for several years now. the ministry your blog has had on my life is much needed and has been such a blessing. thank you for laying your faith on your blog.

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  35. you put into words what i have been struggling with for several years. the ministry your blog has been in my life has been such a blessing. thank you for laying your faith on your blog.

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  36. amen. "...your weight issue. your organizing issue. your child rearing issue. your friendships issue. your whatever issue is always about you and God. ALWAYS. it is a worldly thought to believe that it's not about God and that you can conjure up enough strength to fix it..."

    finding your blog on new years eve is no coincidence. this was God ordained and I thank you for your honest post.

    God bless your home and your efforts toward healthy eating (and exercise...sigh).

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  37. "...your weight issue. your organizing issue. your child rearing issue. your friendships issue. your whatever issue is always about you and God. ALWAYS. it is a worldly thought to believe that it's not about God and that you can conjure up enough strength to fix it..." A M E N!!

    finding your blog on new year's eve is not a coincidence. this was God ordained and I thank you for your honest post.

    God bless your home and your efforts toward healthy eating (and exercise...sigh)

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  38. this is a fantastic post and just what I needed to read today. and hey, I'm with you on needing to break this cookies-for-breakfast habit!

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  39. Thanks for this post Jami. It's gold.

    I was tempted to gab my awesome new diary and fill it with a zillion good intentions. Now, I'm pulling out my mission staetment from 1/1/12 and reading it - and I still am in the same place. God's done a lot, but those concepts I planned last year are foundational and based in reflection with God.

    Rinse and repeat this year. God's not finished with me yet.

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  40. Jami, a friend sent me a link to this post. She knows me well. Thank you for your boldness. I needed your comparison of repentance vs. penance today -- in so many areas of my life. Your fifth paragraph... thank you. Happiest of New Years to you.

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  41. Goodness. I found this through Jones Design Company blog who was a favorite of Talk of the House blog...so glad I did. You spoke to me and my unadorned house (Christmas decorations came down today and nothing back up yet) and my flabby arms/muffin top middle who was thinking about the only 5.8 months she has until her daughter gets married to get her act together. Thanks for the gentle reminder of why my intentions, however good, have not really worked out before.

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  42. Goodness. I found this through Jones Design Company blog who was a favorite of Talk of the House blog...so glad I did. You spoke to me and my unadorned house (Christmas decorations came down today and nothing back up yet) and my flabby arms/muffin top middle who was thinking about the only 5.8 months she has until her daughter gets married to get her act together. Thanks for the gentle reminder of why my intentions, however good, have not really worked out before.

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  43. I usually LOVE the freshness of a new year - the blank slate that is begging to be written all over with my lists/goals/betterments . . . and just have been feeling very downcast about it this year. Couldn't get myself rallied to try better because I know failure is right around the corner. This post was fabulous and timely. I need to readjust my focus and give myself a little grace . . . and rest in that. Doing it all for Him. Thank you!

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  44. Been thinking a lot lately about Abraham in Genesis 15 - where God promises Abraham that God Himself is Abraham's reward. And, then wondering how I feel about that? If God Himself is my reward . . . In resolution making, I'm always seeking some other reward, just like you mentioned ... other people thinking my house is so clean, or that my kids are well-behaved, or keeping them out of my way. Essentially, I'm seeking some reward other than God Himself. Ick. The Lord just used your blog to add to what He's already working out in my heart this week! Thanks lady!

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  45. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is my current struggle & the perspective you offer is just what I needed.

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  46. WOW.. I'm sitting here teary eyed.. that was so true, every.single.word. Thank you so much for your honesty.. I just happened to click the link from jonesdesigncompany to this page, and I'm so very glad I did.. definitely divinely appointed! I don't know what else to say, I'm speechless! But I will definitely be putting these things into practice, seeking God and His will for my life, not my own! I've tried that for so many years only to end in failure, just as you said.

    God Bless you!
    -Jeana

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  47. always inspired when i read your posts--you make me laugh-cry-and want to be better! dang you!

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  48. You "liked" a photo on my instagram so I looked you up. I have to say... I LOVE your blog, I love that you don't use capital letters, and it feels like your words are coming straight out of my heart (only much more eloquently). SO encouraged by your love for the Lord and your honesty. Thank you.

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