You've got three kids and none of them sleep through the night.
You're family had an unexpected cancer diagnosis.
There was a death.
Everybody's taking time to thoughtfully page through 2017 journals and photos and artfully create a word of the year. Everyone's making Plans for Whole30s and Camp Gladiators. There are a lot of new books being written, new businesses being started, and new relationships being kicked off.
But you just found out you were pregnant (it wasn't planned).
You lost your job.
Somebody hurt you, real bad.
Maybe you're just burdened by the knowledge that you've never reached the things you really want and you never will so why keep trying.
If your only goal is to say yes to God this year, no matter what comes or doesn't, then you've already succeeded.
Loving God and being loved by God is success.
Achievement isn't success. A big ministry isn't success. This is a backwards kingdom, where you can't do anything to be successful. You can only be loved, and love in return.
Being loved = winning?
WHAT KIND OF SCANDALOUS BACKWARDS CRAP IS THAT?
Go on, let yourself admit that it sounds too good to be true. Don't let Christmas whitewash it for. Stare this in the faith: this is scandalous and it utterly flies in the face of everything we deeply suspect. I don't know why we fight to feel worth loving, worth succeeding, worth being treasured, but we do (I do know why, actually--as ardently as Jesus tells us he loves, there are a million people and circumstances telling us we're not worth being loved) .
But it's true.
The scandalous backwards crap is TRUE.
A long time ago, when Jesus walked the earth in the flesh, he met a man obsessed with achieving, winning, and the rules. He was a good man. He was successful by your standards and my standards. Very successful. And Jesus loved this man. Even as Jesus told this man that those standards of success were meaningless in the kingdom of heaven, even as Jesus' truth was dismantling everything this man believed, brick by brick, even then Jesus wanted this man to succeed.
What is the secret to success? It's in a person. It is a person. Jesus said: "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible."
The man shook his head sadly--he couldn't accept that there was something extravagantly better. He left, without hearing Jesus' invitation to something truly miraculous.
With God, it is possible for being loved to be success.
With Jesus, this backwards miracle becomes reality.
If all you do this year is feed an infant and keep a toddler alive, but you've said yes to God's miracle--you win.
If all you do this year is juggle chemo appointments...
If you don't even start a book...
If you gain weight instead of losing weight...
If you never finish one of those resolutions...
If you're too tired to even choose a word...
Be loved by God, and you'll be successful.
Say yes to God's miracle, and you can't help but do much, much more than just survive.