Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.’ Louisa May Alcott US American writer (1832-88)

I long to be better, more like Jesus, less like Jon. Every day I fail in many ways. But, most days, I succeed in some small way – and I believe that whilst my failures disappoint and sometimes anger God…..my pathetically small victories please him massively. I’m trying to follow where Jesus leads. And, just as he promised, it’s flipping hard.

If I want to compare myself to man…..then I can always make myself feel good. I lust less than this bloke, I fight less than that one, I’m not Peter Sutcliffe, Saddam Hussein or Ian Brady. But because my highest aspiration is to be like Jesus in character, action and love……over the past 7 and a half years I’ve got very used to failing. I may not reach the dizzy heights of perfection that I try so hard to mimic but I’ll be closer than if I had never tried at all. I’m selfish, sinful and weak…..but then, as my God said, ‘My power works best in your weakness’ – and he’s right. So, as a friend said (and it stuck) – I’ll ‘keep on keeping on’. And hopefully, in his power, I’ll do a little better, BE a little better, each day. Thank you Lord God for your extraordinary patience.

And I’m proud to be a struggling disciple of Jesus Christ. Proud that, crap as I am, he still wants me, still wants to help me. It’s a hard and narrow road and I stumble and sometimes fall. But ‘his grace is sufficient for me.’ Which is why today, as I go to a posh office building in Manchester for meetings with a client…….I’m less scared of the nightmare for someone as style-unconscious as me that is ‘dress-down’ day. I fully understand why the highest absenteeism at any UK school is ‘non-uniform day.’ Whilst it’s certainly true that I look better with clothes than without (!) I’m no sort of style icon. But today I’m proud to be going to work in the ‘Not Ashamed’ (www.notashamed.org.uk) T-shirt that turned up in the post this morning. Yes, it’s two sizes too large, yes I’ll still look 43 or much older and yes I’m still wearing jeans when I promised myself I’d stop 3 years ago.

But I’m proud that Jesus loved me enough to die for me, proud that he has never given up on me, and proud to say that following him in my slightly flawed way is the best thing that ever happened to me. And today I can try and follow where he leads. Who knows, the T-shirt may even create an opportunity for me to tell someone else how much he cares about them. Enjoy the weekend. Enjoy God’s ridiculously extravagant love for YOU.