It’s February and I don’t know about you but I’m a goals girl so the beginning of the year is a fun time for me to take stock of all that I want to accomplish and create a plan to get going.
So I started strong last month, I set goals. Good ones at that, learning goals and coaching goals, writing and creative goals, de-cluttering and organizing goals. Homeschool goals and health goals. So many good goals! And then a few days later I started feeling my anxiety level rising. So many good goals. . . but why do I feel so stressed? Were these the right goals for me? For MY life? For this season?
There’s a post it note that I keep in front of my planner with three questions:
Who do I want to be?
How do I want to live?
How do I want to live so I can be who I want to be?
I found these questions several years ago when I read Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton. I was in a season of beginning to explore the spiritual disciplines and wanted to really discern God’s will for my life. Those questions stuck out to me because they were at the root of what I had identified as key for pursuing a life of alignment and fit in so well with the Life Aligned coaching principles I have been using.
- Who do I want to be?-defining my first things and most important values
- How do I want to live?-designing a life that supports those values
- How do I want to live so I can be who I want to be?-making choices align with the life I want.
I am very conscious of the things that matter most to me and I am hyper aware of counting the cost for any good endeavor since I have limited time and energy so how I spend my time is very important to me.
Well I looked at my post-it note and realized that the goals I had listed were all good things to work toward. And they were likely great goals for some people but these goals were not all the best for me at this season of life.
I was feeling anxious because these accomplishments were not actually going to help me move toward being the person I want to be.
But it’s the beginning of the year, I thought. I still needed some goals, right? So I decided to really just pray about what God might want me to focus on this year (duh, I probably should have started with that in the first place, but I’m a work in progress).
Anyway, I felt like God was reminding me to shift my focus from “doing” or accomplishment type of goals to really thinking about who I want to be and what I would like to “be” more this year.
The Bible gives many commands on how we are to be:
- Courageous Deuteronomy 31:6
- Joyful Philippians 4:4
- Wise Proverbs
- Thankful Colossians 3:15
- Patient Romans 12:12
- Peaceful Romans 12:18
- Kind Ephesians 4:32
Now let’s be real, being these things is not easy. In fact there are many times when I feel like being the exact opposite. My sinful nature is such that I don’t always “feel” like being kind or joyful. I often say or think unkind things about people (even loved ones). But this year my word is ABIDE and I know, I KNOW that my ultimate goal is to stay close to Jesus so that His Spirit will bear much fruit in my life.
No amount of hustling is going to produce the Fruit of the Spirit in my life; it is a gift and a grace.
Knowing that being a fruitful person is who I want to be helps to position myself in a way to allow God to work in my life.
But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. Galatians 5:22-23 The Passion Translation (TPT)
This has become my favorite translation of the verse. It reminds me of the whys of bearing fruit and how to live it out so we can BE loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind and so on.
I’m realizing my most important goals for the year are those that involve relationships. I want to BE intentional about how I spend my time, I want to BE available to friends, loved ones and divine appointments, and I want to BE a peacemaker and an encourager. I want to BE expectant of Spirit’s work in my life and the lives of those I love. I want to BE willing to have Him rearrange things in my heart so that I can BE transformed.
So this year, I’ll be focusing first on my to-be list and then my to-dos. If I can be clear on who God wants me to be, then I can design a life that is in alignment.
How about you friends, who do you want to be? And how can setting goals with that in mind get you closer to the life you want to live?