Going Beyond the Minimum

…but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 CSB.

It’s the first Monday of the year!

Today was the “first real test” of tackling our resolutions on the hardest Monday of the year. With resolutions in one hand and goals in the other, we get ready to go hard in the new year.

Unlike in years prior, I didn’t spend the month of December preparing for the New Year. Usually, I would hurry to complete all that I didn’t in the months prior, double up on my journaling and Bible reading, and create a list of “staple” words for the upcoming year. There was something different about this last year, though.

In the last half-year of 2019, Ruvim and I developed a stable routine that was pretty consistent week in and out. BUT in the previous two weeks, a vacation interrupted all of that. We went back to our home state, Alaska, for two weeks and spent the holidays with his family for the first time since we got married. We also saw some of my relatives and reunited with a lot of our childhood friends.

It was a really great trip, we just didn’t expect the five-hour daylight thing to affect us the way it did. Staying up past midnight, sleeping in till noon… that’s pretty crazy for us. We comforted ourselves with affirmations like, “it’s okay, it’s our vacation,” yet quietly worried about getting back on track afterward.

So, why didn’t we just stick to our routine in another state? Well, you know how it is. When it’s time to vacation, especially during the holidays, we all let loose and allow ourselves some slack because… why not, it’s the holidays! Then afterward, when it’s time to get back into the grind, we end up feeling like failures for not being able to start the year right.

As I was driving down an all too familiar road in Alaska, I reminisced about the many moments I had with God, including the prayer that kick-started my move to Colorado. I remembered the empty feeling I had – that I was doing all the right things but feeling distant from God. For a long time, I defaulted into this mentality simply because I didn’t know who I became in Christ.

adventure aerial beautiful bird s eye view

Accepting Christ is only the beginning, not the ultimate goal. Evangelism is vital, but so is discipleship. – Sitting at the feet of Rabbi Jesus by Ann Spangler & Lois Tverberg

This quote challenged me to think past the fact that I already accepted Christ. It reminded me that salvation wasn’t a destination, but a start to a journey. I pushed to go beyond the minimum, to be transformed by embracing this journey even more. I questioned why I believed what I did and challenged myself to renew my mind continuously.

Why is it we still default to unworthiness and brokenness after we become new in Christ? Why is it we feel bad for thinking evil thoughts and condemn ourselves for the next several days… when the Word says we have Christ’s mind? Why is it we fear what’s to come and complain when things don’t go our way when Jesus tells us to not worry about tomorrow?

…offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your right and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

It’s because of our lack of renewing our minds. We need to renew our minds and remind ourselves who we became in Christ. Worthy, whole, uncondemned. When Christ died for our sins, He died for all of them. Now it’s on us to allow the renewing of our minds to transform us. I purposely didn’t run by my regular yearly routine, knowing that if I did this thing – renewing my mind – I would know what God’s will for me in the new year would be. For me, this was going beyond the minimum. This was a resolution.

  • Offer your body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
  • Do not conform to the pattern of this world.
  • Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

By this, we’re able to see ourselves in our new identity and His original intent for us on earth, which is the ultimate resolution for life! So, as you go about your year, and meet your resolutions and goals, whether or not you set up routines, take time to renew your mind. This is what will transform you this year and the next and the next. Talk about your faith, go beyond the minimum, take your thoughts captive, stop condemning yourself, and don’t be scared to challenge or to be challenged.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

white wooden panel

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