when desires and goals become ultimately important

I love a fresh start, but I've really struggled with setting goals for this new year. I normally LOVE making them and diving in, but this time I feel myself pulling away from my normal desire to be all-in. 

I want Jesus to be absolutely first in my heart, and I know my own tendency is to let what I want to do take over first place because I am determined to follow through, no matter what. So I've been in this middle place of uncertainty when it comes to setting goals for 2015. I've written them out and am praying about each one to see if they are truly good ways to invest my life this year.

This quote from Matt Chandler made me stop and consider how I go about this whole goal business:

"Here's the reality outside of Genesis 3. When any desire, be it a desire for a man, a woman, a desire for a job, a desire for comfort or an achievement is elevated higher than it should be, then that person or that thing we're desiring will rule over us. Any desire we demand and make ultimate actually ends up controlling and ruling us. Hear me. What is your ultimate? Whatever it is, it is ruling you."

I know this has happened to me over and over again. Desires for material things, desires for accomplishments, desires to maintain a particular appearance- even desires to be a certain number on the scale have overtaken my life and controlled me for YEARS. My heart is constantly yearning to DO something- my flesh always wants to invest and be passionate about something that makes much of ME, but the Spirit is at war against my flesh, quietly whispering, "Mandy, don't go back there. Don't set up a golden calf to feel the comfort of the old days. Have faith in my promises."

Oh you guys, I want Jesus. I want Him more, but I tell you in my heart this war is raging right now with the new year- and if it's raging inside you to do more, be more, have more other than Jesus, I want you to know that you aren't alone in this battle. The flesh may be strong, but the Spirit brings light to the darkness and overcomes it!

He is our strength, even in our fleshly weakness- He is strong and delights in us- He bought us with a price!! Let us not go back this year into serving ourselves!! I am praying for your {and my!} strength to stand firm in the Lord, moving toward the day when we see Him- not shrinking back, but leaving behind earthly desires and pressing forward in the strength of the Spirit, who was so freely given to us so that WE CAN BE FREE in Christ this year, and through eternity!

I would love to hear from you- how are you keeping Christ first in your heart when earthly desires creep in? How have you done it in the past?

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16 

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