With spring’s arrival, I look back to the start of the year to evaluate my progress through the first quarter. Not only am I analytical, but also I am driven. This can lead me to set unrealistic goals that I could never meet, which would lead to disappointment.
Looking around to see if other people have goals, if they are realistic, if they are accomplished also can lead to disappointment. The comparison game begins. There is always going to be someone doing better, someone succeeding, someone further ahead. At the same time, I can be happy for those individuals and disappointed by my efforts.
Was there something I could have done better? Is there something I can do different? Is earthly success something you learn from your parents? Do I really have a chance?
If you are like me, take heart! I know diligence, persistence and patience are all necessary, and if you don’t add prayer to that list, forget it! Remember, what Jesus said, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”
Not anything at all.
So, what can we do with Him, then? In fact, He even said something about this. Paul coaches us here. He says, “We can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us.” Really? All things?
Okay. I don’t want to deceive you. This isn’t a take-home verse to imply that God will help you do anything to set your mind do. It does mean, though, that with God’s help, I can be content in all things, in every circumstance.
I sure do feel tested in this. I am challenged to be content physically, as I face many challenges. I am tested to be content as I struggle to have deep relationships here with people so busy and family and close friends far away amidst a very transient society. I am challenged to be content financially, especially living amongst high society.
On the spiritual side of things, am I loving enough? Am I giving enough? Am I using my God-given talents? How much am I letting God do in me?
I want to see practical applications as evidence that I am living out my faith, and that my faith is increasing. I want to look back and see my growth. Is it too much to ask to see progress in only three months?
I don’t think so.
Here is where I apply my goals, my talents, my faith and the idea that I can do all things, be content with all things, through Christ Jesus.
For many days spanning over the past year, more or less, I have been given melodies and lyrics, full or partial bits of songs. I receive these precious nuggets in my sleep, in prayer and contemplation, in studying God’s word, in times of praise. When such inspiration arises, I run for my iPod, find the recorder and sing away.
I have had zero time to give any of these snippets attention. The files stack up, waiting for me. Last summer, very much aware that I would not get to any of these songs for months, I had set a goal of recording an album ready for release by the end of the coming spring.
My challenges were many. As far as recording vocals, my lungs are still severely inflamed, and my voice weak. As far as musicians go, there are none available for such a lengthy time to commit to learning, practicing and recording songs. Then there is the financial aspect. How am I going to afford to record my material?
I own a Yamaha keyboard. I own a Macbook. I have decent recording software on my Mac. Not having used this software before, I was highly intimidated by it. I am an artist, not a technician, after all! Standing before God with five loaves and two fish, I said, “Here I am Lord, use me!”
Determination set in. In a labor of love, I got familiar with my equipment, added a quality laptop mic to the equation and I had all I needed! Never once did I forget where my talents came from, who they belong to and that apart from this connection, I could achieve nothing good.
I am relieved and over-joyed to tell you that my goal is almost reached! I have recorded my album and in less than a fortnight, I believe, it will be released. I am so satisfied by my accomplishment, and pray that God is glorified and people blessed and inspired by the songs.
How about you? What has God given you to do? Do it with all your might!
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…