On Following Jesus, my story for 2011, my goal for 2012

I am a minute miser.  I did not use to be so, but I am now.

I feel like (no, actually, I know) I wasted so many years of my life (and, since they were my teenage and early twenties, I often feel the best years), that I must now devote myself wholeheartedly, 24/7 to God.

This is something I want to do.  If I could go back, I would have started this way as an 8-year-old and never stopped.  But it’s not what happened.  And so I’m left with these years in a vacuum that I look back on as a dry, bombed-out gulch . . and a resolve to do much, much better in the present and with any future God gives me on this earth.

I sometimes get caught up in, well, legalism about the things I want to do for God.  I put minimum “factory requirements” on myself for how many blogs I will produce, for example.  I want to plan out each minute of the day.  I want to dissect seconds to make sure they are ministry minded.

The problem with this is, I sometimes get, well, a little out of whack about it.  I’ve been on winter vacation, and I wanted about, oh, I don’t know, 300 blogs to transpire over the break.

Counting this blog, I think I’ve only fallen about 294 blogs short or so.

I wanted to deeply minister to about, oh, I guess maybe 12 people.

I am way short of 12 people.

I would have really liked to have brought at least one person to meet Jesus.

And that did not happen.

It’s discouraging.  I failed myself.  And, while I am sure there are people already sitting back with arms folded pronouncing legalism upon me, I hope you’ll hear me out.

I’m not trying to get to Heaven on my good works–well, there are moments, I’ll confess, when I get out of whack about that, too, and I think I do have to contribute a tiny bit here and there–but for the most part, that’s not why I want to pour every second of my life out for God.  What really drives me is the love of Christ.

It frustrates me that there are billions of people around the world who have no idea that they could be loved like no one has ever loved them, that they could find peace like they have never found peace, that they could even be released from the guilt of everything they have ever regretted.

I know what’s coming.  Someone in their mind right now–and very validly–is thinking, “Like you?”

I mean, haven’t I just explained, rather elaborately, that I am still, in many ways, a mess?  That I get out of sync with God’s will and get wrapped up in perfunctory duties rather than following the grace of Christ?

But don’t you see?  Don’t you see?  This is why I have such a fire in my soul to tell others about Jesus!  If Jesus can love me, even though I have always fallen short of giving Him the hundred percent devotion I long to give Him . . . even though my mind gets all crackers sometimes when I try to express my love for Him, because the love I feel for Him is bigger than the breadth of my entire being . . . and even though I do get caught up in sins that Satan is so fond of offering me, such as legalism . . . Jesus is for everyone.

And I see that so clearly sometimes that I can hardly stand that everyone doesn’t know it.  I want to scream it from the rooftops.  I want to fly (with an experienced pilot beside me) a plane through the sky trailing a huge banner of John 3:16.  I want to dance through the streets singing of His love (with someone else’s singing voice so as not to scare people away–and maybe somebody else dancing, now that I think about it).  I want to tell everyone, everywhere that Jesus is alive and He’s here to save.

But I don’t always show that Message in the way I follow.  Not nearly always.  Way, way away from always and I hate it.

I fail in my quota and in my quality control.  I don’t always remember that Christ has given me everlasting peace or that I’ve been freed from the guilt of that valley of nothingness and sin that used to be my life (and that I sometimes still visit).

I worry about my vulnerability, that it will drive people away from God, that they will look me and be disgusted rather than see that God must really be a God of mercy to have invited me in, too.

I wish, wish, wish I could do everything I want to do to thank Jesus.

But I am not everything I want to be     .     .     .     .     .

And so here I am, right here, Jesus.  I’m struggling, I’m bungling, I’m disappointing my own self, and I’m full of imperfections that drive me batty.  But here am I, loving You.  And You tell me that is enough.


You tell me that is enough.

Every standard, every requirement, every quota, and all quality control, has been met and answered in Your walk on earth and Your death on the cross, because You are not like me.

And that is why You came. 

I love You.

Help me to give You my every second.

And my goal for 2012?  I don’t right now have the faith to believe I can be the 100-fold servant in Mark 4:20, with as much of my life as I wasted before I loved Jesus and with the ridiculous mess-up I know myself to be.  So I want to be the 60-fold servant.  I want to be that 60-fold servant desperately.  I want to be planting seed.  I want to show how happy I am to be on God’s farm and in His family.

. . . But I can’t do that by placing quota on myself.  And I won’t be able to manage even my own quality control.  It’d be something like that scene from I Love Lucy where Lucy and Ethel try to work in a candy factory.

Instead, my goal is to cling to 2 Corinthians 5:17, my verse for 2012.

I believe You, Jesus.  I’m ready to close down the 2011 factory of my me-centered efforts . . . to join You on the fields of 2012.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)