by Randi Peck
I can still remember setting the table for my family when I was probably 10 or 11 years old. I don’t think I could ever successfully collect six matching cups or forks. Plates, if I was lucky.
I silently vowed one evening that someday when I was a wife and mother, my kitchen would be filled with beautiful, matching dishware and cutlery.
Now, my childhood was the most enviable sort. Scarcely did I imagine my own kids being raised much differently. And yet, don’t we all have those mental notes we carry on to adulthood; those solemn promises beginning with “I will never” or “I will always”?
My resolution to “raise the standard” from my mom’s disorderly kitchen is now laughable, years later, as I scan my own cupboards for just two matching glasses. Having only been married 3 ½ years, somehow our kitchen has become an assemblage of missing and mismatched tableware.
And that is not the only promise I have broken to myself. I also confidently stated I would travel to Africa someday. I was sure I would stick to the “five-year plan” for having children. And I swore I would never allow my children to wear cartoon clothing, like Hello Kitty or Dora. The list could go on…
This week, you may not be mulling over broken promises, but chances are you’ve given thought to making promises. For many of us, the simple swapping of a digit- as 2015 becomes 2016- represents a dawn of dreams, a fresh start on our goals. So we grab our notebooks, number 1-5, and write out our New Year’s Resolutions…
All this, despite the fact that statistically, we have an 8% probability of carrying out these resolutions. Eight percent.
Want to know why I think we tend not to carry out our resolutions?
I don’t think we fail to accomplish our goals because we dream up things too grand or wildly unrealistic. I don’t think we ask too much out of life. I would propose that, on the contrary, we aren’t asking enough.
“You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” James 4:3
Whether or not you keep a list of goals taped to your mirror, write them out every January, or lock them away in the recesses of your heart, unspoken and unwritten, we all have hopes and dreams, resolutions and aspirations. We all have a “there”. And whether your “there” is a Hollywood beach bod, a padded 401K, or a yellow farmhouse with black shutters, the reality is most of us have not set our sights high enough.
Colossians 3 challenges us to, “Set your mind on things above, not on things that are on earth.” For every follower of Christ, our ultimate “there” should be heaven. When our ideals are unfulfilled or unfulfilling, perhaps it’s because our resolutions are reflections of our shortsightedness.
We are called to a revolutionary mission: the mission of heaven on earth. The hope of an eternity with Jesus allows us to live for the things that will matter- not just in 10 minutes or 10 years- but in 10,000 years and 10 zillion years.
And yet, we are tragically so easily distracted by the details. They creep in and drown out heaven’s anthem, causing us to settle. We are so quick to settle… For healthy children. A 5-bedroom home. One date night a week.
What we need are goals that moth and rust cannot destroy. Hopes that financial crises will not triumph over. Dreams that cancer or even death cannot rob us of.
What if we believed that 2016 possessed soul-transforming, life altering encounters with Christ? What if we dared to ask for the unrestrained power and glory of God to unfold into the very fabric of our families and churches? What if we resolved to see souls saved and saints sanctified?
What if we asked for more than matching dishes?
God will not refuse our eternal requests… will we refuse His? I pray that 2016 is a chance for us to lay aside self-improvement and pour our lives into enjoying our Maker and sharing His excellencies.
“That you may know what is the hope to which he has called you… the riches of his glorious inheritance… the immeasurable greatness of his power.” (Ephesians 1:18-19)