Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

11.05.2010

Goalkeeper

Those journal-keepers out there in the blogosphere will know what I’m talking about when I say I sometimes like to go back and read old journal entries. More often than not, I find myself amused by what events were such overwhelming matters of stern, solemn, and sober concern for a twelve year old. But today when I went back and read that one entry that I knew was there waiting for me, I wasn't amused--I was humbled almost to tears. It was a March, 2006 entry, the last one in a book I had begun four years earlier, in 2002. In this entry I was looking back on the past four years and I was setting my goals for four years in the future—the far-off 2010.

Here’s what I wrote at sixteen:

“I think, after reading over a few of my earlier entries, that I have lost a bit of my passion and desire to continue to progress in my relationship with Jesus. ‘I have progressed, so now I’m there,’ kind of outlook….Four years ago I wrote that I was having trouble loving my siblings; I think that through the Lord only, that has improved. Four years ago I was having ‘trouble’ with my conscience. (-: Now I am a little more receptive to the Holy Spirit.

“This isn’t supposed to be a ‘pat-myself-on-the-back’ session. I want to see where my journey has led me, and now look out over the road ahead and see where it will lead.

“In four years, I want to accept criticism joyfully, not cringingly and stiffly. I desire in four years that I would be better at introducing myself and talking to people that I don’t know. I desire that in four years Jesus would be my heart, my thoughts, my everything, and that everyone who looks at me would know instantly and firmly that I am different. I pray that in four years I would be even closer and tighter a friend to Mikaela, Melanie, Susanna, Micah, Jonah, and to Mama and Papa. In four years I desire that I would be mature in my speech and think before I speak. In four years I pray that I will not be selfish, as I am now.

“‘But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ (Hebrews 10:39, 11:1)

“By the Lord’s grace I will not draw back, but envision in faith.”

Talk about lofty goals!  I am humbled to read through goals I set for myself at sixteen and realize there are some issues that, four years later, I am still struggling with. And I thought I was supposed to be perfect by 20!  Part of the problem was forgetfulness.  I wrote my goals down, yes, but I have only looked at them a few times in the four years since. Perhaps it would have been better if I had engraved them on my arm to read every day, or sharpied them on the ceiling above my bed. Satan loves to distract us from reaching God's best in our lives, and busyness is a great distraction!  Carelessness is another part of the problem--letting down my reliance on Christ for an instant allows sin to creep in.  And reading my earnest journal entry written not so very long ago shook up that carelessness and did away with the forgetfulness today. 

Reading through the entry I remembered and realized that I still bristle when I am criticized. I still have sin that keeps Jesus from being my every waking thought, I still say hurtful things, and I still am selfish. But I also realized that, despite my own failings, the Lord has been faithful, and some of the goals have been reached—praise the Lord! I have worked diligently on friendliness with people I have never met before, and I am so blessed to count all of my family as my best friends.

So was my attempt at goal-setting useless? No:

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:12-14)”

Goal-setting is good, even imperative. Without a goal on the soccer field, the game is pointless, and without goals in life, we are apt to be aimless. And that means purposeless: picking out random chapters in the Bible to read each day, getting convicted by the sermons we hear and promising to change, and then promising to change again the next week in a different area with no progress in any area being effected. And a life with goals set merely by the very person with the blind spots (me!) is equally as haphazard. But a life with goals to fulfill that are the result of prayer and crying out to God becomes a life where everything has a point and specific purpose: reading Scripture on humbly accepting criticism becomes a necessity, criticism from others is merely a blessed opportunity from the Lord for my practical application, and that sermon on humility –what providence of God!

And try as I might, just as goal-setting cannot be through my own wisdom, so goal-fulfilling cannot be through my own vim and vigor, as my unmet goals of four years ago can clearly attest. It is only through Christ that I can have any hope of maturing and continuing the sanctification process. Week by week, little by little, I will press on, meeting smaller goals that will lead to the fulfillment of the bigger ones. 

So, I’m off to write a new journal entry. It will look forward to 2014 (yikes!) when I’m a mature 24 (yikes!), and it will contain lots of goals. I’ll be back in four years to let you know how it went.



Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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3 comments:

  1. No one enjoys criticism, but thank God that with grace, time, and beholding God's presence, we are changed into the image of Christ.

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  2. That was lovely. And you're absolutely right- it is imperative that we set goals and set our life on course.

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  3. Thank you, Lauren, for another great post! I recently reviewed my 2010 "resolutions" and yikes! I was disappointed that I had not seen much improvement in any of the areas I had listed. (I never make resolutions, but this year I had decided to.) But you are so right, it is truly only by the power of God that any change can be achieved in our lives. Thank you for the good reminder and thought-provoking words. :)

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