What if we weren’t bullied by our goals?
Right now, we’re being inundated by messages like, “New year, new you,” “Make this year count,” and “Plan your best year ever.” Part of me relishes these challenges—this is the year I can do better, be more, and come into my own!
But another part of me shrinks back. It sounds so hard, not because I don’t want to put forth the effort, but because, in the past, I’ve viewed goals as taskmasters and slave-drivers, minimum standards to be met at all costs.
I’m tired of being pushed around by oppressive goals AND I’m tired of not having a clear plan and just hoping for the best. What would it look like to be led by something more than just goals?
Goal-setting is supposed to be helpful, but we dread it.
I think our negative experiences from the past cause us to dread them. Here’s how it looked for me personally:
I make my goals all about who I’m not.
As someone who believes she’s Never Enough, at goal-setting time, I take stock of all the ways I’m failing and create goals to shore up weaknesses. I label this lack of self-acceptance as “self-improvement.”
I make my goals a way to prove my worth.
As someone who believes that she must perform to be loved, I value goal achievement because it validates my worth. Reaching the goal makes me feel talented and respected. Not achieving the goal makes me feel like the worst human ever.
I make my goals define my success.
As someone who wants to be viewed as perfect, I use goals as a way to prove I’m successful. When I meet my goals – or even better, surpass them – I deem myself a success. However, my goals can also serve as the inner critic in my head constantly chirping how I’m failing, that I need to try harder, do more, and in general, get it together.
But friends, it doesn’t have to be this way. What if we viewed goals differently?
What if instead of being pushed around by goals, we’re led by love of Christ?
The bottom line is that goals can feel more hurtful to our hearts than helpful. What would goal-setting look like if we accepted the truth of Jesus instead?