I’m reviewing goals from 2014.
I’ll be honest: on paper, the my results don’t look good.
I set about twenty overarching goals.
Out of those twenty goals, I’m still actively pursuing three or four.
In school, 15% completion would not a good GPA make.
So you would think I’d feel a little chagrined about goals this year. Lazy, unproductive, unsuccessful.
Except the three or four goals that I pursued whole-heartedly?
They were whizzbangers.
At the beginning of the year, I committed to writing an e-book by December. I didn’t even know what kind of e-book—I just knew it sounded exciting and scary and challenging and like something that would help me grow as an artist.
As I started writing it, I poked back into my past, looking at old family patterns and my experience in high school youth group.
That led me to realize how much healing I needed.
I went to get therapy. I started reaching out to people I love and having hard, hard, hard conversations.
I started grieving the past, and fully experiencing my anger about what had happened, and also feeling freed and unburdened and connected in new ways to loved ones.
I am not overstating things when I say I felt like Eustace on Dragon Island, with my whole identity being ripped off my back. Then I was thrown into a pool with my tender skin on fire from the shock.
I came up gasping and realized I was ALIVE, hopeful, free, transformed.
Guys: I can’t share all the details of last year, because it’s not all my story, and I’m not ready. But it has been epic. Not because of what I accomplished, but because of what got unleashed.
All that from a little idea about an e-book.
And that’s not to mention the book itself, and the other creative projects it led to, and my renewed connection to making art with pen and paper and the ways it transformed my attitude to faith and the Bible, and the ways it connected me with other writers and creative people.
I abandoned the seventeen other goals without regrets. They were nice, safe quiet aspirations like buying a love seat to replace the foam pad we sit on in our reading nook. I mean, having furniture is nice, right?
Except when your past is rising up from the ashes like a phoenix as your dragon skin gets ripped off your body, after which you plunge into a cold pool of soul renewal, you don’t feel like browsing for couches.
Who cares about couches?
I abandoned seventeen goals because I was on a rocketship and could only just manage to hang on.
This is what I want you to know about goals: it’s not about getting things done. It’s not about checking things off the list like a teacher’s pet. It’s not about tidy outcomes and productivity.
It’s about dreaming up a handful of things that make you sweat. It’s about deciding to climb into the cannon mouth, Gonzo-style, and asking God to light the fuse and aim you towards the stars.
It’s about committing to a handful of things that scare you. Things your heart is longing for. Things you have always wanted to do. It’s about honoring your yearning.
And the best news, at least for me, is that the goal itself is almost beside the point. It’s not up to you to figure out how one goal will transform your life. It’s just up to you to pay attention to what makes you nervous and excited, and commit to showing up in the teensiest way, even when you’re scared.
Because the rocket that will fling you across your known universe? It’s powered by something grander, greater, and more powerful than you. A goal is simply an ignition switch; it sets off a chain reaction that ends with you in another dimension.
How’s this for a goal: face questions about the Bible that could transform your faith. Check out my petite devotional: Unquiet Time: A devotional for the rest of us.
Image credit: Maggie Osterberg with my modifications.