because you're about to see a avalanche of everyone's goal lists, if they haven't already begun.
and that's ok. goals can be good.
here's the deal though: you're going to be like...what?! i need to do all the goals in the world! i can do this! starting january 1!
but before you do all the good ideas on pinterest and make all the best goals and save all the money with your homemade dishwashing detergent and read your bible in 3 days, let's step back and think about something.
you can have good motivation for doing something, but it is not the same thing as "God" motivation. see how i took the O out of good? i know. it was amazing.
for you, "good motivation" might be, i want to fit into that pair of pants. or i want to be skinnier/healthier so i feel good about myself...or so people might notice me and compliment me more? i want to stop having a muffin top and soft arms because it's ugly in pictures.
i want to be more organized so i stop looking like an idiot. showing up for baby showers on the wrong saturday. showing up to my son's class party an hour late and what must the other mother's think of me? and also, my house is cluttered and i'm embarrassed about it when people come over...
i want to be a better mom and i want my kids obey me better. like out in public. because it's a little embarrassing when they're naughty and we're opening all the snacks in target. or deep down, i want to be a better mom because i want people to look at me and say, she's a great mother! or i just don't want to be bothered by my kids. i have stuff to do today kids, don't get in my way!
at least, in my flesh, those would be some of my goals and the real motivations behind them. the problem is my motivation is sinful and not Gospel centered, but ME-centered. these will always produce failure. and maybe, when you look at the real reason behind the goals, you'll see that those goals don't need to be in there at all. in examining some of my goals, i've found it's more needed to repent for looking to these things to find satisfaction and approval instead of looking to Christ and seeking His Glory. i'm often after my own glory if i'm honest with myself.
but people who don't love Jesus make goals and fulfill them all the time.
you're right, they do make and fulfill goals. but it will never satisfy the root problem. they lost weight, but still are seeking approval from others to make them feel better. the compliments will fade away and they'll need something more. perhaps more weight loss. more toning. perhaps more clothes to make that bod look hotter. more cleavage! that will help! perhaps a new business endeavor. perhaps a new hobby to sink themselves into. somewhere to volunteer even! you see where i'm going....never ending cycle.
it fails every time. the same with me wanting a more organized house out of the motivation that i want others to give me approval for my "home skills". or i want to be in control of everything all the time, so i am motivated to make sure that everything is always in tip-top shape. if anyone (KIDS!) messes it up, you will deal with the wrath of this mommy. anger ensues. frustration. failure. shame. unfair punishment on children who are messy and will always make messes even when trying to clean up. or is this just my life?
for example, this year i thought it would be good to organize everything. i kept failing. wanna know why?
under my goals i had some sin issues i needed to deal with.
i was too busy being busy "helping God" to help my own self.
solution: not goals and lists to make me more organized but repenting from thinking i was God for other people and that they needed me. repenting from serving other ministries first before the one God gave me and asked me to be a steward of: my marriage and family. repenting from wanting to look good for others and finding approval in others thoughts about me and words to me. repenting for finding my identity in something other than Christ.
my solution was not in doing anything better. the solution was repenting and seeing Christ as my only hope for lasting change. from that i began to see that Christ would work in me and IN SPITE of me. He was doing the work and not me. truth be told, God has been changing me, even in small ways. i'm resting more and in turn, i'm home more. literally and figuratively. things are getting organized and i can actually find things, show up to things on the right day, and so on. because i'm present.
usually my goal is "be more present". and then i try and do better by setting up all sorts of boundaries and rules for myself. i was so backwards. my problem wasn't simply that i wasn't present with my kids, the problem was and still is, a bigger heart issue and a pattern of sin. sin that didn't need goals to fix it, but that need a supernatural solution starting with repentance.
one thing i've learned this year is that out of any other motivation outside of a love for Christ and obedience to him, i fail. i am graceless with others and myself. my heart is uglier than i'd like to admit or even look at. but it must be looked at so that i see the giantness of my sin and the way more gigantic cross. this is my true solution. that i really am nothing apart from Christ and i need him to help me change. i need him in my mundane and i need him even when i make my goals for the year.
it's taken me a long time to believe that about myself because i'd like to think i'm a pretty great person who doesn't need much help.
not so! we all fall short. all of us christians. so so so short. the difference between christians and non-christians is not that we're better than others. no, christians should believe that we're the exact same as far as falling short. the difference is that we believe that Jesus is our only hope and made the ultimate sacrifice for us so that we could have a relationship with God. our lives should look different out of His power to produce lasting change, not for our glory, but for Christ's.
and even so, we get lost in wordly wisdom.
we do the same things we've done every year...
make a goal, fail, shame.
make a goal, nail it, but are unsatisfied.
compare our goals to other people's goals...then change them... then fail.
over and over. the story of humans.
when i go to bed at night and tell myself how terrible of a mother i am. how so and so is better than me, how i was so selfish and then promise myself to do better the next day, i am doing a disservice to the Gospel. i skip over the repentance piece and move straight into penance: the fixing! and guess what? no matter how hard i try, i eventually fail. sometimes it happens that very day and sometimes i can conjure up enough strength to be better for a whole week or month. but it's not lasting change. nothing in my heart changed except more shame abounds. why is that?
because i can never pay enough penance for any sin.
when i try and change this way, it is in my own strength, not in Christ's. directly opposing the bible which says, i can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
i did not repent first to Christ for my sin and ask him to supernaturally show up and do the work for me. deep down, i believe that i don't need God to help me in such mundane situations.
except that's where i live! i live in the mundane. it's my address. and it's silly to think that God only works in the big things and doesn't care about my small, dinky issues. the truth is, they are not small problems, they are giant heart issues that play out in my mundane everyday.
your weight issue. your organizing issue. your child rearing issue. your friendships issue. your whatever issue is always about you and God. ALWAYS. it is a worldly thought to believe that it's not about God and that you can conjure up enough strength to fix it. and hey, christians are misleading other christians by preaching this to one another. beware.
so hear the truth: whether you eat, or drink, [it doesn't get more mundane than that] or whatever you do, do it ALL for the the glory of God[not for your own glory]. acts 17:25
not, "do it all" so you feel good about yourself. not "do it all" so you others will like you. not "do it all" so you can remain in control and not be bothered. not "do it all" so you feel more peace in your home and it looks good. not "do it all" so you can be as awesome as so and so.
so instead of making goals this year out of my flesh, i am praying about what God would have me do. one of my goals is that i do need to eat healthier. i feel terrible physically, am tired all the time, and i don't believe i'm being a good steward of my body. i believe God is helping me see Him through my exhaustion and that He is asking me to change. there is no greater motivation than this.
in that, i am asking for forgiveness for eating like this and not working out. ever. and asking that God would show up and help me eat healthier and help me get my jazzercise on.
no cookies for breakfast...sigh. it's kind of common sense, but for me, i've eaten crap in the morning for years. this will take some supernatural intervention. perhaps if an angel cooked me an egg in the morning? it's just an idea, God. (i just pictured nato with angel wings, holding a spatula and i think it was from the Lord.)
even so, in my Godly motivation, i will fail. i'm human and we live in a broken world. but when my identity is wrapped up in the grace of God, and not in the wrath of myself, i don't wallow in shame. there is no condemnation in Christ.
i repent and ask for God to help me again. if there is ever a pattern in my life, i pray that it is that.