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Some people do resolutions, others do goals, and some people hate them both. I like making goals, but this year I am TIRED!  It is hard to think about making new goals when you are tired - believe me, I tried, and it was tough!  It was in the middle of my goal-making session that I remembered a lesson that God hit me with earlier this year: receive and respond.

First I have to receive. The first thing God asks me to do... is not to do anything. He wants me just to be His child and soak up His love. In prayer and reading His word, the Lord wants me to draw near to Him, know Him more, and love Him more deeply. I receive God's love as I pour out my heart, my hopes, my frustrations, and my needs. I have to receive first.  Too often I am trying to give, give, give without paying attention to my batteries. When my batteries are charged I am a better pastor, husband, father, and friend. I know this, so why do I keep neglecting my time receiving God's love for me? For me, I receive God's love in devotions, worship, hiking, time with family, travel, study, design, and an occasional nap. Receiving God's love helps me overcome obstacles and remember that God is good. He offers me life and gives me His joy. How do you receive God's love?

I also need to respond. God doesn't ask me only to receive; He charges my batteries so I can shine His light. There is work to do, and God wants to do the work with me. He is working in me and through me. He doesn't want me to be the Savior but a servant, pointing people to Him. There is so much work to do everyday, and so many people to care for; when I have deeply received God's love, then I respond well to the people and the problems that are part of life. I don't try to be people's savior, I have good boundaries, and I point people to Christ. When I am out of rhythm, I try to respond without first receiving, and nothing goes well. I try to "fix" people, I am more pushy, I over-commit my time, and resentment grows inside of me. That is not the life God has for me; that is not the person God made me to be.

Receive and respond - that is the lesson God reminded me of, and hopefully it can help you in 2018 as well.

Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. (Mark 1:35)