You are never too old to set another goal or to dream another dream – C.S. Lewis
This is the time of year when it is quite popular to look back over the previous year and think of all the things you either did, or did not, accomplish. I don’t want to take too much time explaining the why behind goal setting as every individual has reasons to either set them or ignore them.
Some people set out clear goals for their work life and at times are even required to for their job. They may plan a few things in their personal life and figure out what they would like to do for trips etc. We as elders try and look toward the coming year and set goals for Lakeside whether it be yearly or over a few years. Some of you may even top the scales and have a full on spreadsheet detailing all that you want to accomplish this year.
The other side is having people who don’t want to be saddled with a goal. “Let things happen as they will”, they say. The more they plan, the more they realize they aren’t in control of anything in their lives. This is a bit fatalistic for my taste, however, this is the practical way some folks live their lives.
One biblical example of goal setting is found in the lives of David and Solomon. David had the goal of building a temple for God. In 2 Samuel 7 we see David tell Nathan that he is tired of seeing the Ark of God in a tent and is going to build a temple to house it. God quickly tells Nathan that David will not be able to do this due to the ‘blood on his hands.’ God will, however, use David’s son Solomon to build His temple. David, knowing that he will not build, starts to set aside everything that will be needed for the temple. Even though he is not the one to build, he is planning. David realizes that all he has is from God, and he exists for God alone. The remainder of the chapter is David’s response to hearing the news. As you read on, Solomon builds the temple, and the goal set years before is realized.
A quick google search for goals will provide you will multiple quotes from folks who weigh in on goals. Many of these come from a humanist standpoint that states I can do what I want to do. I can be who I want to be. I can do anything I set my mind to. These types of quotes sound great but in reality, they are hidden statements of self-salvation. “I” is the wrong personal pronoun. “He” is the only one that matters. What does God have to say about your goals as we learned from the story of David?
All of that being said, most years I try and write does a few things that I can look to, and hold on to, as the year goes on. Some years I am not very successful at what I try to do. Other times some of them fall in my lap without hardly any work at all. What I have ultimately found the most helpful in my own life is the physical act of writing down my goals. Thinking through what I want to accomplish is almost more meaningful to me than achieving any of them.
What is one word that you would use for 2015? As you go through your year, what word would you like to use in order to ‘filter’ your year? For example – this year my tentative word is CHANGE. My goal is to not have things continue the way they are so I will filter the actions of this year through the word change. “Is what I am about to do going to produce the same results as every year or will this produce change?” I do not want to do a lot of ‘good things’ at the expense of doing a few ‘great things.’
After I have my word, I go through a list of 5 areas of my life and jot down any notes that come to mind. I pray for guidance but not for God to move the pen. I use the word as a filter for what I write in these sections and let it define some of what I am looking to achieve.
The five areas in my life are:
- Spiritual – Me and God
- Familial – Me and family
- Vocational – Me and work
- Communal – Me and community
- Physical – Me and health
Some examples for Spiritual would be: read the Bible in one year, work through 3 topics of Theology in a deeper way, read 2 books with views that differ from my own etc. For communal – join a small group, join a town committee, serve at a local food pantry, make one meal a month for a person within a 2 miles radius of my house. These ideas may be completely off from what you would want to do but the idea stays the same. Break your life down and see what you can do this year.
I don’t stand here as a goal guru in any way. What I am saying is that God has shown me things in my life that needed to be different and writing them down helped tremendously and I want the same for you.
What do you do to plan for the coming year? What did I leave off that you would include? What should be taken away? We would love to hear from you. Share any ways that you set goals here so the rest of us can see other options.