Here we are, another year down, another opportunity to reflect and, as it turns out for me, re-direct as I look toward at the new year. I am unashamed to admit that I’m a planner, goal setter and resolution maker. I have great expectations for 2019… you know the books (reading & writing them), the races (a 5k and at least one half-marathon), the growth (spiritually, physically, financially, emotionally, relationally), the trips & travel, remodel & reconstruction, and letting go of alcohol… or making it let go of me (but I’m still not quite ready to write about that...yet).
I don't think there's ever been a year where I've met all my goals (or even 50% of them) but oh how I love the process of looking forward and developing the life I’ve been given!
It's fascinating to me how some people don't plan. I asked people, “Do you make new year’s goals or resolutions?” I got a ton of answers. I identified with goal setters, but the non-goal answers intrigued me. It’s like another language I can’t understand. I appreciated the answers and though I still don’t get it, I hope I heard the heart behind their answers.
For many, the reason for not setting “New Year” goals or resolutions was an aversion to waiting, for a particular day. If I comprehended correctly, these people live in “the moment.” For them, there’s no better time than now, no reason to wait for later. They make a goal and set off on the journey immediately. They don’t hesitate. It was beautiful to me, and I suspect these, non-new year goal setters also start workout routines or diets on Wednesdays or Saturdays, and don’t wait until Monday. I bet they “strike while the iron is hot” and seize opportunities as they present themselves. It’s a beautiful perspective!
There was another group who didn’t plan or plot because of fate, or God. This group felt that a plan would somehow thwart or be thwarted by God, or fate and so they therefore resist the urge to plan out of obedience, or resignation to their Higher Power. This, of all the perspectives, was most difficult for me, and because it is so foreign to me, was fascinating. I can’t imagine just living life on a whim, going where the wind or Spirit leads (although this year, living with the Chicken Farmer, I’ve come to see it in action). Because of my ADHD I screw up more than I’d like to admit with scheduling but still, I need a plan! I need to know what’s next. To them it feels freeing, to “Let go and Let God” to release control, to “follow your bliss”… to me, it feels aimless, like a ship with no anchor or compass. A life lived un-tethered. Not wrong, just foreign to my natural sensibilities.
A third group’s reasons for not setting goals were fear based: Fear of failure, fear of disappointment, fear of change, fear of the unknown, the stress the goal can create, or the concern that their planning for the future some how denotes a lack of trust in God. It makes me sad that people would resist setting a goal because they are afraid.
All of this reflection on other’s answers is simply to speak my peace quietly and clearly: The world needs spontaneity and, in many ways, I wonder what it would be like to “be like that.” I am different. I relish the challenge of a task; like a gauntlet, laid out before me, I’m energized by the work a goal requires and trust in the Lord to lead me… or re-direct me as He has for this year. I trust God to give me vision, to guide me on the journey I have prayed, planned and prepared for. Clearly, God has designed and created me to love a good plan (even though I often fail when I make them), to crave challenge and character building conquests (even when some of the character traits are so ingrained it’s almost impossible to change), and to sally forth ever onward. I can question who I am, why I love to organize my life and make plans and set goals even when I know I’ll fail and fall short; or I can trust God made me just as I am. It's not wrong for me to love new beginnings and look forward to starting lines, it's not wrong for others to wing-it and go where the Spirit leads, we are all uniquely and wonderfully made and it makes for a beautiful mosaic of humanity.
Happy New Year… may the LORD bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you and give you peace as you journey through life in 2019!