We’ve come to the half-way mark of the year, and with it, a great time to reflect and recalibrate. A few short months ago, many of us took the time over the winter holidays to pause and think about what this year will bring, or, better yet, what will we go get this year? We determined that this would be the year, a year for stretching, propelling and launching into new things. “This will be the year that I will do all the things!”. 

At a party recently, I asked how many people could remember their resolutions from only a few short months ago. It was a resounding zero. Perhaps many of them were the standard ones: lose weight, be more active, eat healthier. I have several resolutions, all of which I remembered, few that I’ve accomplished, but I learned something from those so-called failed resolutions. 

We all do it. We write our goals down, post them on sticky notes, put them in a pretty font on our desktop to make sure that we are reminded that these are the things to strive toward. What about those years where no matter the effort, we fall short? We pile our things on top of those pretty fonts, and day to day life takes over. We follow all the rules about goal setting, we keep them SMART, DUMB, SMARTER, HARD, CLEAR, FABRIC, whatever it is to keep them within reach and not too overwhelming. We glance over our goals from time to time and see if we are on track, often discouraged at the gap between here and the check mark crossing it off our list. We reflect, we make lists, we scaffold, we strive. 

We do all these things to keep ourselves on track, but still falling short, I believe, because we try to do everything on our own. We try to be everything and do everything. We make things happen, will things into being, wrestle and claw our way up the mountain. This is a form of protectionism. We think that by doing it ourselves, the only person to blame if we struggle or falter is ourselves. We protect ourselves from accountability, vulnerability and fear of true intimacy. We hide what is closest to our heart, worried it is too big, too much, or not enough. Sharing our goals and dreams is intimidating.  There’s the concern that people may laugh at us, or (if you’re anything like me) keep us accountable.  

Much of what we think about grit is forging our own path, when, for many, grit truly comes from doing the one thing that we loathe: asking for help. Often we think that to get to the top of our mountain it has to be alone, and we stand alone with our flag waving proudly from the top. “Me, I did it, I climbed my mountain, fait accompli!”. We forget that the Kingdom is counter culture.

What society says to us and what Jesus says to us are more opposite than alike. 

Daniel had his support. David had his mighty men. Jesus himself had disciples to help him in His ministry. Paul’s relationship with all of his friends and followers brought him much needed encouragement in times of trial. Why do we think we need to do it alone in order for it to be a true accomplishment?

The kingdom of God says, gather a community, let every joint supply, let every part fulfill its purpose, look for both a mentor and a disciple. Seek out the people who have climbed to the summit to gain their wisdom and, in turn, look behind you for those following and help to lift them up. 

The beauty that is found in community is the encouragement, the empathy, the wisdom, the support and that it comes from the heart of God. Romans 15:5 tells us that the God who gives us perseverance and encouragement also tells us to give that to the people around us. Encourage one another, strengthen and uplift one another so that we can climb to those insurmountable feats before us, not alone, but with a supportive community that has their eyes fixed on God. 

Take a moment to check in on your goals for the year. As you sit down and reflect on the accomplishments and blessing of days gone by, think of those that have helped you along the way, and those that you have been able to help. Recalibrate your goals, make them SMART, or make them STRETCH, whichever you prefer, but make sure that you include community. Share with others, look for opportunities to disciple and be discipled, and most importantly, ask for help. This is the time to ask for help pursuing your heart’s desires.