You want to be a better person.
For the past ten years I’ve set pretty ambitious New Years resolutions for myself. I’m not a Type A personality, but I’m close. Like a type A- or something. I love to work hard toward accomplishing a goal, and the thrill of having done something difficult. So in the past I’ve started rigorous work-outs or planned to read through the Bible in a year, or combine the two (B90x) or whatever it was.
But not this year.
This year Leslie and I didn’t have any goals, we had a baby.
And for the past few days our little family has just been living life through the baby fog.
I saw the above picture sometime last year, and I loved it. It’s an actual return letter from the IRS. A couple apparently was being audited because there was some discrepancies in their tax report. And the couple gave as their excuse that the human brain turns to Jell-O when having a baby.
And the IRS accepted it!
Which makes me feel better about where we are at in life. Because if the Federal government accepts this line of reasoning then we are at least somewhat in a normal frame of mind.
Hannah Grace has already gained a couple of pounds, along with her daddy, (generous church members and no resolutions don’t mix well). She’s already growing taller, doing new things, and making new faces. And if our experience with the other kids holds true, these days are long and the years are short. She will one day become a toddler, then an adolescent, and then a woman.
She’s born to change.
So I’m thinking about change, and resolutions and becoming a better person, all while I hold our new little baby that can’t really do anything, and I realize that this season just might be a word from God for my life. And maybe for you too.
We Americans love to do. We are constantly going and producing and resolution-ing. Most of us know the Christian story says that you can’t be saved by works, and then we jump to talking about how we are saved for works.
But maybe it’s important to remember before we are saved for works, we are saved from work.
As Leslie and I watch Hannah Grace sleep, we have the same experience that almost any parent who’s ever existed has had. We love her. Not because of anything she’s done, (her contribution to the world so far is a lot of dirty diapers) but because she is ours.
There is a danger of changing or working to become more lovable to people instead of trying to be a better people-lover. There’s a danger of trying to read the Bible, pray more regularly, go to church more faithfully, to make ourselves more lovable to God instead of trying to love God better. I’m about to start a series on the Sermon on the Mount, and one of the things that Jesus repeats often in there is don’t do things for the recognition of doing them.
Which is kind of crazy if you think about it.
Why else would you do things?
But Jesus knows the heart that is behind this. We love to perform because we perform for love.
And this is what having Hannah has taught me all over again. No matter what I do, I will never be loved by God more than I am right now. And no matter what I do, God will not love me anyless that he does right now.
I’m loved because of who I belong to.
I hope to grow into that.