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! Happy New Year to a happy new you! Today was the “first real test” of tackling our resolutions on the hardest Monday of the year – right after the holidays. 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.

In the last half-year of 2019, Ruvim and I developed a stable routine that helped us succeed in many ways weekly, even daily. BUT in the previous two weeks, this routine was utterly interrupted by one thing – a vacation. We went back to our home state, Alaska, for two weeks. We spent the holidays with his family for the first time since we got married. I saw some of my relatives, and we 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 our vacation,” yet worried quietly on the inside about getting back on track afterward.

So, why didn’t we just stick to our routine in a different state? Well, you know how it is. When it’s time to vacation, especially during the holidays, we all tend to let loose and allow ourselves some slack because… why not, it’s the holidays! The problem that a lot of us get into later, however, is that the resolutions we set are pushed aside and eventually met halfway, if not at all. This leads to feeling like a failure, self-condemnation, feeling anxious, and “behind” even though a brand new year just started.

As I was driving down an all too familiar road in Alaska, I reminisced the many prayers and moments I had with God, including the prayer that kickstarted my move to Colorado. I remembered the empty feeling I had – knowing that I was doing all the right things but feeling utterly 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. That this alone wasn’t enough. I pushed to go beyond the minimum, backed up by Romans 12:1-2, to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. When I looked at this verse in the past, I grazed over it because I didn’t quite know how to. Throughout 2019, I challenged what I believed and what was being preached and taught because I had to see for myself.

Why is it that we defaulted to unworthiness and brokenness when we became new in Christ? Why is it that 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 that 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

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 it. Now it’s on us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. 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 in itself.

  • 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 you set up routines or not, 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, and don’t be scared to challenge or to get 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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