My maternal grandmother turned 83 last week. Despite her age, she is one of the most active people I’ve ever met. I had the opportunity to visit her in Williamsburg, Virginia during the holidays and I was reminded of where I get my go-getter personality. One night while we were there, we wanted to go out to dinner at a local restaurant but knew that it would be crowded during Christmas. I picked up the phone to call and make reservations, and realized my grandmother was already on the phone with the restaurant. We then proceeded to race to see who would get their call picked up first, and naturally, she won.

On her birthday last week, Williamsburg was still recovering from the huge snow storm that left them paralyzed for several days. My grandmother told me over the phone that she was bored and tired of being in the house. An opportunity came on her birthday to work the front desk of her son’s sports complex, answering phone calls so the rest of the staff could have a meeting, and she jumped at the chance to finally do something useful. Not only that, she also cooked a huge batch of chili and brought it for the staff to enjoy. She later went to her church and helped them take down their Christmas decorations. She spent her entire birthday doing things for others.

Since the new year has begun, I’m excited and eager to set goals and work to become a better me. As I’ve been thinking through my goals the past two weeks, I’ve felt God speaking to me about where I’m putting my energy. We should all use the new year as an opportunity to better ourselves, but as we set goals we would be wise to remember the great commandments Jesus shared with us.

When Jesus was asked what were the most important laws of the Bible, he replied,

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

If the entire law of God is based on these commandments, then my life and my goals this year should align with them too. This verse clearly states that we should make an effort to grow closer to God, but it also reminds us that we need to give our time and energy to love others. That’s why this year I’m creating goals to work on myself individually, and goals that challenge me to serve others. This is as simple as making a goal to call my brothers once a week, and to check in with a friend over coffee once a month.

I want to use my energy to give to people! I hope to be just like my 83 year old servant-hearted grandmother, who worked a front desk, cooked a meal, and gave away her time on a day that was supposed to be all about her.