trying on my birthday

Today's my birthday. And it's not uncommon on birthdays, especially when you've had over forty of them, to reflect on how far you've gotten in life and how satisfied or unsatisfied you are with that.

I was thinking, though, that this is the focus on results or achievement that I've been resisting lately with my focus on intention. Recognizing our trying to do good as more important than our overall success, as I believe God sees it. Then it doesn't matter so much "how far I've gotten," or what I have or have accomplished in my life. What matters is where my heart is right now. Am I with God? In other words, am I willing what God is willing (which is to say am I loving)? Am I trying to do the good God has shown me, where I am and who I am right now? Am I willing to try?

The letting go of the accumulation of your past (whether that's something we look back at with pride or shame) seems to me much like the forgiveness Jesus offered. And the possibility of being "with God," having some grasp of God's intentions and being able to turn towards that—trying—that sounds like the gift of grace Jesus proclaimed. We may think it's impossible to know what God intends, but Jesus told us otherwise: "I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father." It's not something we deserve, but the revelation that allows us to try.

If we choose to stand on our accomplishments, then we have little basis for hope. But if we trust instead the connection with God that Jesus offers, proclaiming that faith in our actual trying, then we have a powerful reason to hope.