Wednesday, January 7, 2015

lifetime goals.

It seems like the older we get the faster the years go... am I right? It's so hard for me to believe that we've passed through another 12 months... another Easter, another summer, another blowing out of the birthday candles, another pumpkin season, and most importantly another celebration of Jesus' birth. And in the in-betweens we've celebrated births and deaths, cried with laugher and cried with sadness, sang out in joy and sang out in lament. 2014 was a short year filled with a variety of things. I had high hopes of writing a post that included an array of 2014's highlights like I did last year, but it's currently January 7, 2015 and I've already set my sights forward.

As Roy and I rang in the new year, we talked about goals we'd like to have for 2015. It's a big year for us! The year we end long-distance and I move to the lone-star state. The year we get married and go on our honeymoon. The year we will rent an apartment and decorate our own home (of which I am so excited!). The year of new beginnings.

As I thought about goals I would like to set, though, I kept thinking... but that was a goal I had last year. I'd like to be more active... but that was last year's goal. I'd like to pray more... but that was last year's goal. I became quickly defeated and resolved to the fact that this year would be more about new beginnings than goals. I'd take life as it came.

But then I read a post a dear friend posted from the Gospel Coalition about resolutions and goals for the new year. The author was reflecting on a book of 70 resolutions from a theologian and preacher, Jonathan Edwards. Edwards wrote 70 resolutions that he wanted his life to be about. Not just one year, but a lifetime of resolutions. There were three main themes to his resolutions...
                     1: Pursue God
                     2: Make life resolutions
                     3: Draw from God's strength

I love this idea that our goals or resolutions should be greater than ourselves and greater than this year. We must ask ourselves, if our goals do not push us to purse God more, then what is the purpose of the goal? If our purpose is to know God more, our goals must point us in that direction. I was also given great encouragement when I read that Edwards advises to make life resolutions. It was as if a light-bulb went on. You mean my goals from last year can be this year's goals too? Why hadn't I thought of this? It was true, 2014's goals weren't ones that I only wanted to focus on for a year, they were things I wanted my whole life to be about. I want my whole life to be about prayer and I want to be active from now until the day I die. These were life goals, not just yearly goals. Edwards' words also helped me to conclude that I don't want to resolve to do things I can accomplish through my power. I want to lean into something greater. I want to need more than myself.

So as I look ahead and press on into 2015, 2014's goals are still hanging. And I pray they will be hanging in 2016 and 2025 and when I am old and gray. These are not goals for a year, they are lifetime goals. They are the exact things I want my life to be about. I also pray that this board will become too small as I add to it year by year. Although I am keeping the goals I set last year, I am also adding to them as the journey brings me to new places. This year, I resolve to...
      memorize two pieces of scripture a week
      be more disciplined
      learn how to and practice being a gracious fiancé and wife
      find peace in the temporary
      be present in the waiting

Eventually these goals will make their way onto the board as well. And a whole lot more as the years pass by. I pray that as you set goals or resolutions for the new year, you will stretch beyond yourself and beyond this year. May your goals be for a lifetime and may they push you to something far greater than this world.

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.   {Philippians 3:13-14}

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