Fool’s Goals

Between Christmas and New Year’s is this Type A individual’s dream: a flurry of getting motivated, cleaning out, writing down, and 50% off calendar sales. My Saturday-after-Christmas fun consisted of loading up 4 garbage bags for the thrift store and two hours spent at Barnes & Noble browsing for the perfect 2015 planner. I need help, y’all.

There are a lot of us out there, and I’ve lost count of the resolution-oriented articles that I’ve seen circulating on social media the last couple of weeks. Everybody loves a clean slate: blank pages and empty rooms, mistake-free and full of potential. As I’ve sifted through the advice and done my own year-end pondering, here are some of the things I’ve been thinking:

Do my resolutions reflect a heart for things of true and lasting worth? In writing down some goals, projects and dreams for this year, I have to ask myself if they are really all they should be. Alphabetized bookshelves and daily schedules and plans for self-improvement are innocuous enough, but what do they matter in the end? (Hint: not a blessed thing.) I don’t want to spend my year accumulating accomplishments that are the eternal equivalent of fool’s gold.

Do my resolutions reflect an attitude of self-reliance or dependence on God? New Year’s brings out the “Can-Do Barbie” in many of us, evoking feelings of invincibility and empowerment. However, I need to tell myself “I can’t” more and “I can” less. Because, well, I can’t. God’s grace and provision abound in my life; I want to recognize it and credit it for what it is.

Do my resolutions reflect Christ’s love for others? Real life, done with and by real people, does not lend itself to perfection. It is chaotic and full of interruptions. It interferes with the best-laid plans. And it is a daily choice: to prioritize people and value the relationships that God puts in my path, or to view opportunities to interact with and invest in others as an annoying deviation from the checklist.

Old habits die hard, and I know I will mess up. I will spend way too much time neurotically organizing something pointless; I will feel like a failure when my to-do list feels like it hasn’t changed for three weeks; I will become excessively frustrated when a Saturday I planned to spend one way turns out far differently than I anticipated. But I pray that I will look back this time next year and see that 2015, for the most part, was invested wisely and well.


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