New years rarely come in gently, do they? Like toddlers in a toy-store they charge in, carrying resolutions and dreams bigger than their britches.
These fresh beginnings are inspiring and heavy with promise—but often heavy, too, with fear. Fear of failure, of inadequacy, of not being enough for the dreams we’ve dared to wish upon a newborn year.
So much weight on the frail shoulders of a such a young year.
This year, why don’t we add one simple resolution to the list? One that offers freedom for the year ahead.
I doubt many of us identify with a need to impress. I mean, who has time for all that when we’re trying to live and love and serve—all while cramming 30 hours into 24?
But, let’s break it down to its small beginnings: how often do we entertain thoughts of what others think of us?
Which, by the way, is quite different from how others think of us. Of course we care to be seen as physically and spiritually clean—teeth sparkling, clothes matching, grace glowing.
But, somewhere along the way, it can move beyond that. Often, without realizing it, we become so taken with the superficial ideals of what others think, that we lose sight of what’s truly impressive.
And, hint: it’s not us.
So many words we could use to describe the apostle Paul, but subtle wouldn’t be one of them. In Phil 2:3 Paul candidly reminds us that our place is not to impress. ”Don’t try to impress others.” (NLT)
And, isn’t that just a whole lot of freeing?
This year, how about we take Paul up on that challenge and give each other permission to be unimpressive.
Five ways to be (un)impressive in 2017:
1. Become impressed all over again with the wonder of who He is.
“Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; You are exalted as head over all.” (I Chronicles 29:11, NIV)
2. Remember our strength comes from God’s grace. (Hebrews 13:9, NLT)
Anything we’ll ever do—if it has eternal measure—will be accomplished by His power alone as it trickles through our meager hands.
3. Focus outward, not inward. Be the server, not the served. (Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 13:16)
Right outside our front doors are people who need a smile. Who need to know they matter. Who need to meet heaven in us. May we not be so self-focused that we miss them.
4. Work for eternal reward, not for temporary glory. (Philippians 3:14; 2 Timothy 4:8; John 3:30)
With the pace of this modern world, isn’t it so easy to look up and find ourselves at the center? Again. Oh, that we’d decrease so He could increase.
5. Surround yourself with people who give you permission to be unimpressive. Friends who will tell you when you’re slipping into “impress” mode. And be that person for others.
“Two people are better than one, for they can help each other succeed.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9, NLT)
May God generously grace 2017 with holy opportunities to be unimpressive, and may He give us eyes to see them.
Happy New Year, friends.