A Day in the Life of a Pastor – A New Year’s Resolution not to Make Resolutions

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Happy New Year!

Warning – This post may not sound pastoral…or it might…you make the call.

I was pondering the new year and how I have changed in my approach to the fresh slate of a new year.  In years past, I would sit down and set goals for each of the main areas of my life:  Spiritual, physical, marriage, financial, professional and family.  I would craft statements that would describe what a “win” was in each of those areas.  For the first three weeks, I would review them daily and make sure I was on track.  I bet you are waiting for me to write that, “then I fell off the wagon because life got in the way.”  Actually, I didn’t.  My fervor and tenacity in reviewing my goals changed but I kept with most of my goals.  In the end, I accomplished some, failed in some and others just didn’t seem to matter as much as they did at the beginning of the year.

Honestly, I love goal setting and developing a plan to achieve them.  I love straining toward the prize of achievement because it gives me purpose and a plan.  If you are trying to grow in any area of your life, then I suggest setting real, genuine goals on the journey of accomplishing what you desire in that area.  If you have lacked the discipline or desire before, a strong plan and support system is important for your success.

Here is my one caveat…don’t miss today for tomorrow.

That is the one lesson that I have learned in my recent years.  In the past, I would make the goals more important that what I was experiencing today.  I recognize that in some situations, we need to learn to sacrifice today for the reward of tomorrow. (Finances, addictions, growth planning.)  However, I have seen some people, (and I have been too guilty of this in the past), who have brushed through life events and opportunities because of their goals.  I have put people I love on the sidelines, missed life events and undervalued conversations in the name of “pressing on toward the goal.”  I am not proud of this…and a number of years ago, that all changed.

One of the most amazing and difficult experiences in my life was at the age of 28, I got mono.  (I know, make all the jokes.) I was new in Tampa, with a very young family and a church doing all it could to grow and reach people.  I remember getting one last appointment in before heading to the doctor because I was getting migraines and really tired.  I expected him to say I had the flu…not mono.  I left the doctor’s office with a prescription – “Get plenty of rest for two weeks, eat healthy and stay away from people.”  I did just that.  And I was miserable.  My push to grow and succeed in all areas cost me the ability to actually participate and enjoy all the things I value most in my life.  I remember just being able to drive somewhere when the doctor gave me the “ok.”  I was like a teenager getting the keys to the car for the first time.

With all that time, I had a great opportunity to make some good decisions.  One of them was to eat better and get physically fit.  Another was to value people more and enjoy my time with them.  I have learned the value of finding time to rest daily and over periods of time.  Finally, I decided that I would begin to “live in the moment.”  It has taken me a long time to get this one down.  I find that I do not make my goals my ultimatum anymore.  God is the final say in everything.  I set my goals and expectations and then I turn them over to God in prayer.  I will work as hard as I can to achieve them. BUT, not at the expense of my wife, my children or the people who come into my life that I feel compelled to reach out to in that season.  I have found great balance in this and the results have been amazing.  I am loving my family more than ever and seeing some great achievements as well.  I find that the striving isn’t what achieves the results.  It is trusting in God, a strong work ethic, defined communication, delegating and investing in others and a genuine attitude to choose the best in a situation.  Those principles combined with God’s grace has produced some amazing wins!

2014 lies before you…go get em!

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