I typically am not one who makes resolutions with the passing of each year. I am, however, one who sets goals — lots of them. Too many. I have been known to set, and work seriously toward, some pretty silly goals:
- how many times I can make a restaurant coaster flip in the air before catching it (6)
- never being the person in a car that asks to stop and use the restroom (not once from 1993-2009)
- how long I can hold my breath (2:30+)
- finishing my plate, no matter how full I am (I’ve thrown up at least twice as a result)
- growing my hair and beard for the entirety of my wife’s pregnancy
I also have to confess there have been times in my life in which I worshipped my own accomplishments. I have gained my worth from running longer, faster, more difficult races, or from climbing taller, snowier, more challenging mountains. Conquest has been my god. But not any longer. A lot has changed over the last several years. I am happy to say now that my worth comes from God — and there is nothing I could ever accomplish to make him love me any more than he already does. Coming to understand this has prompted a pivotal and decisive shift in who I am and why I do the things I do. I am no longer performing in order to gain God’s love (or my own, or anyone else’s). Rather, I am operating out of the love that God so richly lavishes on me.
Lately I’ve been singing to my daughter a lot — or singing to God with her in my arms (some of you will be horrified to know that we dance). Two lines that have stood out above the thousands of others I’ve been singing are these:
Jesus loves me when I’m good, when I do the things I should.
Jesus love me when I’m bad, though it makes him very sad.
That’s good theology.
“A goal properly set
is halfway reached.”
As I said before, I’m not typically a new year’s resolution-maker. But this year I am setting some new goals (and renewing some old ones) that happen to correspond with the changing of the calendars. Over the next few days, I’ll be listing the areas in which I’m setting goals this year, and some of the goals themselves. I am doing so because I want these goals to be spoken, printed, and made public. I want my friends and family to understand better where I am in my life right now. And I want these same people to hold me accountable to the goals I’m setting. I’ve also been blessed this year to sit at the feet of some very wise brothers and sisters — they’ve helped me to understand a lot about myself, a lot about who God wants me to be, and what I can do to be open to his working. I honestly feel if I share some of my goals for the year and the reasoning behind them, that you may be encouraged or motivated to sit down and do the same.
But I would be remiss if I hadn’t begun my blog’s goal-setting festivities by confessing that it’s been a trend of mine to bow down to my goals. I will not do so any longer, and actually haven’t for some time now. Goals are made for mankind — not mankind for goals. I’ve got a new motto of sorts when it comes to goal-setting:
Balance in all areas.
Discipline in all areas.
Stiff-necked and unbending rigidity in none.
Next post: In what areas should I be setting goals?