Yesterday I started sharing some updates about the goals I've set for myself this year and progress made I've made toward them in the last few weeks. It started to get long-winded so I divided it up into two parts. (Rewind if you need to read the first part that I posted yesterday.)
Here's the second half of my May progress report:
Goal #11: Cultivate a more generous and hospitable spirit toward others. (Maybe throw a party?)
Well, no there haven't been any parties, at least not yet. (Though Michael did graduate from college, which was definitely a cause worthy of celebration!) But May did provide multiple opportunities for us to get our feet wet with hospitality and practice inviting more people into our homes and learning to serve through meals.
As you know, I'm still not very confident when it comes to the kitchen. So the idea of cooking for more people is often intimidating to me: What can I make that everyone will like? What can I make that isn't too complicated but is more enticing than spaghetti? Is that going to be enough? Okay, what about the side dishes to go with it? Will it all be done at the same time?
Those questions and more all flood through my mind in about five seconds when I begin thinking about having people over for dinner. Which is the exact reason I put this goal on my list...to challenge myself to be more intentional about overcoming those fears and just learn to let my best efforts be good enough. I've had to learn that it's not about the food. No one comes over to your house expecting to be served a la Julia Childs. They come over to your house to spend time with you. The food is but an accessory to the moments you invite someone to come and sit on your couch, to eat at your table, to get a vantage point into the real you and see that this is friendship.
Our first foray this month was inviting the woman who called me concerning her dream about "redemption" over for dinner. Another was having a couple from our church (who were also in our Monday-night class--hi, Carissa!). Then, finally, we volunteered to take dinner over to a family while the wife recovered from a health scare. (And if you would like to know, we only served spaghetti once. To the family, who had four children. I waved the white flag when it came to cooking for six people. I did make homemade croutons for the salad though, so I think that kind of makes up for it!)
Goal #22: Keep up daily quiet times and Bible readings.
Honestly, I have struggled with this goal as of lately. There seem to be those seasons when even when you know better, your apathy gets the best of you. That has been the case the past week or so regarding my daily quiet times to read the Bible and pray.
I don't believe that you should only pray when you feel like it, but that sometimes we have to force ourselves to do those things. They are called "disciplines" for a reason. And it's a struggle I face more than I like to admit. It's the reason why I have etched into one of the first pages in my prayer binder Psalm 27: "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: That I may live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life and gaze upon his beauty and seek him in his temple." I pray that precisely because I struggle with having that sort of passion. I pray it because that is what I desire, that is my hope. That someday, those words will be my reality.
So when I find myself in times like this--when my spiritual health turns weak--I do get a little discouraged and disappointed. But only just a little. More than that, I reach for hope. I know God's grace and mercy is neverending, and that all he asks is that I return. So, even with dragging heels and a limp heart, I return. Even though I still don't feel like it. I do what I can: I resolve to pray and seek and serve and wait in the meantime. But what I don't do is give up.
We all find ourselves in these moments where we know we aren't living up to the Lord's "glorious standard." And yet, it's okay. When we understand that it's not about that, that we'll never be able to live up to that standard whether we're praying for five minutes or five hours, then we begin to understand what it really is about. Him. And his desire to just be with us, mistakes, misfortunes and all.
I remember all this, confess it, and return.
Read (Part 1) of my May Goals Update
My list of 27 things to do while I'm 27