A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Celebrate, Cultivate

by Lindsey Funtik, Coordinator of Volunteer Ministries, Ashland First United Methodist Church,  Ashland, Ohio.
A few years ago, I started praying for God to give me a new word to define each New Year that rolled around. The idea was one of those little morsels that one picks up from those further down the roads of life and wisdom, and I was excited to see what new insights the Lord would have for me as I rounded those corners, toasting to fresh starts.

But since then there has only been one gift from the Lord in this specific packaging. I have prayed at each concluding trip around the sun for something by which I can gauge the coming months, but we keep coming back to the same ones, delivered to me years ago and sticking with me through season after season after season.

Celebrate and Cultivate.

Though I want to think about the New Year with anticipation, I am also liable to fall into the trap of believing that I will be an entirely different person come January 1. Though ambitions and resolutions and goals can be a good thing, they have also led to millions of disappointments and a whole lot of unnecessary shame for not living up to the (often unfair) standards that we set for ourselves.

Enter gracious Jesus, who gave these words to remind me that I am worthy whether I am where I am or whether I am where I want to be. I can celebrate my current weight, page count, or water intake while also wanting to lose a pound or two, read or write a few extra pages, or drink at least 52 more ounces. It is a lie from the pits of hell when we hear that who we are is not good enough. A desire to improve in one way, shape, or form does not mean that your current reality is not good enough. It is good enough. You are good enough.

It seems that, despite my requests for something different, the Holy Spirit wants to keep me firmly planted here. So I will dive in once again, I will hold fast once again, I will oscillate between these two poles of the same balance beam once again and see what they hold. 

Perhaps one day I will be given new words, but I am beginning to understand this rhythm of celebrating and cultivating as an ongoing theme that will be sticking around. After all, when we reach a certain point, there always seems to be somewhere just beyond that strived-for horizon that begins to look nice and green; a new goal, a new destination. This, too, defines the life of discipleship: we are ever being taken deeper while also being thoroughly loved where we stand. Through it all, keep celebrating, keep cultivating.

Today, celebrate who and where you are. Allow yourself enough grace to realize that you're worthy right here and right now, no matter what. But also look to the areas in which you want to grow and slowly, gently cultivate an environment which will encourage that growth. You are okay now; you will be okay tomorrow, no matter where you are in your particular journey. 

Here's a toast: to a new year, a new perspective, and the same, good you.

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