Every time a calendar flips from December to January, ads pop up on TV, computers, and phones with programs and products designed to cash in on the New Year’s Resolutions season. Gizmos, apps, and membership subscriptions promise to get us out of our comfort zone and acquire a plethora of skills to rise above the mundane. We’ll be fitter, faster, more financially secure. We’ll be smarter, sexier, and more satisfied with life.
It’s all very motivating and at least marginally worthwhile, and I do love to see the heights to which humanity can climb. I’m an absolute sucker for Triumph Over Obstacle stories, and I tear up when I hear someone sing exceptionally well or watch them perform some physics-defying fete of athleticism.
But I have to be careful not to let zeal pull my focus from the most important goal of this life: becoming what God has planned for me.
Why do I bring this up in a book about having a more positive attitude and greater faith? Because sometimes we hook our attitude to and have faith in the wrong things. Remembering who we really are—children of a loving God—allows us to prioritize our efforts in life, and that can take away some of the stressors that affect our mood. For example, God is not waiting for me to be an awesome seamstress, chef, musician, writer, teacher, or athlete. He’s not even waiting for me to get caught up on the laundry or have a weedless garden. Aspiring to such things is good, but He won’t rate my life on a scale of such earthly standards.
God is more concerned about our relationship to Him. Paul reminds the Romans, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” (Romans 8:16) There isn’t a bigger or better identity we could claim for ourselves than this! Overlooking it in search of some worldly accolade will leave us frustrated much of the time. Embracing this relationship will help us become all God has in store for us. It lifts us up to new heights.
In his first general epistle, John says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him.” (1 John 3:2) That’s the kind of ambition that will bring happiness: patterning our life after the example of Jesus Christ, so that when He comes again, it will be said of us that we are like Him in our words and actions. Instead of scrambling to find a mentor in our professional life, we can improve ourselves even more by learning to emulate the Savior. This, regardless of all other accomplishments or failures, will show what we really are.
In a moment, abilities or talents, trophies or accolades can disappear. Accident, illness or tragedy of any kind can destroy what seemed only moments before permanent characteristics of the Self. But the person we become in our heart of hearts—that cannot be taken away from us. And, unlike the roads to earthly success that are wrought with pitfalls of failure, competition, moral compromise, and soul-sapping sacrifice, this journey is one that always has a positive result.
So, feeling down?
Remember who you really are. Remember Whose you are. Remember He believes in your worth and your infinite potential. Let the confidence of that identity lift you up!