The New Year always brings a sense of self-evaluation. You can’t escape it. There’s a healthy tension that comes with this where you can’t be too hard on yourself, but need to set up new challenges to grow and flourish.
There is always room for improvement, no matter what area of life you may be applying it to. We need to improve our finances in order to take care of the community at a greater capacity. Our occupation needs to be a constant focus of growth. Our relationships with both friends and family need to be worked on, strengthened, and cultivated constantly. Our spiritual lives need to be practiced, prioritized and deepened. All of this at one time, which we all definitely take on, is extremely overwhelming and seems impossible to ever get a grip on. There’s always room for improvement, sometimes too much room.
I’m going to speak from a different angle than most of us take in the beginning of the New Year – an angle I’ve been observing since the first of January. I walked into 2016 wanting to make strict routines, jump start my health, and conquer my strongest mind games. I signed up for a yoga camp, began the Whole30 challenge with my husband, and set some achievable goals for my spiritual life and job performance. This is something I think everyone should do. Goal setting and asking yourself what you really want is important; none of us can grow without this being a constant in our lives.
But there’s also another side to all of this.
What happens when who we are today, completely as we are, isn’t good enough? What happens when we get so caught up with results and progress that we don’t appreciate the version of ourselves we are today? This is a dangerous place, and we can damage our confidence in the future by refusing to fully accept ourselves TODAY. Who’s to say that once you lose all that weight, make all that money, and advance in your workplace that you’ll be satisfied? Could this turn into a constant need for change in order to feel content? Before I make any changes and start pushing towards anything, I have to be completely proud of, content with and appreciative of my current situation – even if it’s not a good one. This moment, right now, is a piece of our journey and an important milestone to our personal growth. Accepting ourselves in the worst of moments and understanding that we are still enough because of Jesus is one of the most difficult challenges to face.
I’m afraid that if we constantly move forward without allowing God to touch the present moment the next step won’t be as powerful. Accepting ourselves completely as we are today is a very important goal. We should strive to be grateful for every piece of our lives and learn to fully love our bodies, paychecks and journeys. Jesus loves you. He loves you as you are with whatever you’re struggling with. He loves you in your fear and insecurity, in your self-hate and lust. He loves you in your shortcomings and is with you in your failure. He is made STRONGEST in these moments.
9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-11
It’s in our dissatisfaction that we’re able to tap into the love of Christ, to love ourselves even when we may not deserve it. To believe that His graces are new every morning and that He delights in us.
“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17
He will no longer rebuke you. Rebuke: Express sharp disapproval or criticism of someone because of their behavior or actions. If the God of the universe who we are completely unworthy of calling our Father can choose not to rebuke us, why do we choose to constantly disapprove and criticize ourselves? This is not the way to grow! Enjoy the process, feel every part of it, and allow it to transform you making you into who you are. Allow it to launch you into greater heights and profound depths. The future is nothing to look forward to if your heart is in an ungrateful posture to begin with; nothing can satisfy that, no matter how many goals you reach.
Let’s all make a goal this year to humble ourselves enough to fully accept where we are at this very moment (good or bad) and allow Jesus to speak to us about how much He loves us. You are enough – just as you are. Do you believe it?