Has anyone else been feeling anxious about the new year? A flurry of opportunity is ahead. Adventure, hope and expectation. I’m so ready for the new thing. A different experience, an unknown journey or the opportunity to grow and expand. I’m ready to dive in, say yes to everything and race through every open door. But hold on. Behind all those propelling emotions is a dull angst. Pressure and stress are already building. My mind is on a mental treadmill, working late into the night and ticking over with new ideas and inspiration. Pacing myself has never been my strength. I’m prone to making quick decisions, jumping without looking and relate more to the hare than the tortoise.

Running after God’s dreams and doing His work are godly pursuits, but have you noticed how even the best energy and motivation can get out of hand when the focus is in the wrong place?  The what becomes more important than the who.  Worship is displaced by work. Accomplishment overtakes adoration and before we know it the performance rut drowns out relationship – both with God and people. It’s a slippery and unintentional road. For some of us completing tasks is euphoric and striving can be so natural it takes an intentional and consistent effort to resist the urge to just hit targets. Work is important and godly, but it must be rooted in our deep obsession with Jesus. The who must lead the what. Plans, systems, discipline and straight-up hard work must all bow the knee to Jesus. As people of His Kingdom we seek Him first. We love Him first. We put Him first. Then the rest follows.

As you start the New Year, embrace the who before the what. With Him at the helm you will be the most successful, accomplished and creative person you could ever imagine. Because after all, it’s in Him we find our success, value and creativity. He calls us beloved. He calls us enough. He calls us loved and approved of.  And therefore we are. Start here.