All things! What a powerful promise.
I was listening to a sermon this morning in search of a word of encouragement or comfort. This time of year has always been a difficult one for me. Like many “Type A” personalities, I can be highly critical of what I have achieved or accomplished; the passing of another year only exacerbates that negative chatter.
Another year. What have I accomplished? What came of all those dreams and expectations to save lives, change the world, bring hope and love to those who are hurting? It feels as though my scorecard is empty, like somehow I have fallen short or, dare I say, failed.
This scripture encourages me to look at my assessment activities in a much different light. When I reflect on the past year based on my sense of accomplishment, I am looking at a very small picture in the eternal scheme of things. I am looking at an extremely narrow worldly view that pales in scope to God’s much bigger picture and plan.
My actual life assignment is to live according to His purpose and to love others as Jesus loved me (John 13:34). Regardless of the progress I have or have not made regarding my own plans or dreams, what that truly matters is how I fulfilled my commitment to love and serve those around me according to his calling.
As I closely reflect on this, I find myself shifting my thinking away from one of critical assessment to one of gratitude and opportunity. Instead of criticizing my perceptions of accomplishment, I am thanking God for his promise, appreciating all the opportunities he has provided to live according to His purpose while celebrating what he has specifically called me to do.
All things work together for good for those who love God. What a wonderful promise. Good is not defined by me, but it has been defined by the One who loves me, who has made me, and has called on me to share the gift of His love on others.
Next time I find myself frustrated with the outcome or lack of progress in my life or in my ability to affect those I care about most, all I need to do is ask the bigger picture question, have I loved, encouraged, and supported others in the name of God today? It’s a good way to get me to focus on what really matters most.
Wishing you blessing and peace through the week into all of next year!
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