The first lesson in this post is to never write ‘I will finish this tomorrow…’ I wrote the first post on January 6th and realised I had too many thoughts to condense into one spiel.
But it’s now Jan 20th and clearly not ‘tomorrow’.
I began writing on this subject because I have been frustrated with how we do ‘goal setting’ in our culture. It seems we divide life into key areas (finance / marriage / career / recreation etc) and then set goals for each area. I wonder if we spoke to the Apostle Paul about goal setting if he would sit down with life areas and aspirations and try to think how he could make a happier life for himself?
I’d doubt it.
If we take him as a model we see someone who knows who he is – who he is in relation to his creator and this defines his identity. It sets the course for everything that comes next.
Paul frames this a number of ways, but I sense his most succinct was when he wrote ‘for me to live is Christ – and to die is gain’. His life was centred on Christ and his ambition to become like him.
I’d suggest that’s the first step in goal setting – know your identity.
Secondly your vocation flows out of your identity so they ought to have some synergy. My vocation is that of a missionary – of a person who communicates the Christian message to those outside the church in ways that make sense. I hear the term bivocational -used to refer to people like me who have pastoral employment as well as another job – but I think we are muddling terms when we use that. Reticulation is bi my vocation, but my vocation can be expressed and served by a small business
From knowing our identity and vocation we are then better placed to frame up goals for the year / decade or whatever.
What’s important though (and this shouldn’t be hard) is that my ‘goals’ are never at odds with my identity or vocation, rather they are an expression of those core parts of me.
It’s not that my ‘reading’ goals should be focused on mission work and the like. But rather that my identity and vocation set the tone for how life frames up.
From identity and vocation I sense its then good to think of the roles I fill in my life at present – father / husband / friend / pastor / business person / Yanchep resident / surfer and so on. There are a number of ‘roles’ that are significant in my life at this point so I like to think in terms of ‘who I am becoming’ as I consider goals.
And goals come from my hopes and dreams – so I have spent time journalling around what I hope and dream of for the coming year. Out of that I have identified some things I want to do – I feel are important – and these have become my goals for the year ahead.
One example is simply to get a better handle on how to prepare for my senior years financially. I have a pretty small superannuation fund, but we paid the house off a few years back and now have some money we need to invest wisely. Part of my reading this year is around wise investment and use of that money so we don’t get to ‘retirement’ age and have nothing to work with. I’m hoping that as I read and learn we will be able to prepare for our future well. At the same time as I consider ‘wise investment’ I also ponder the story Jesus told of the man who built bigger barns and I wonder to what extent I am doing that. So wise use of money – for me as Christian is about both preparation and generosity, and both need to be present in life.
Anyway – that’s two weeks later than I thought, but that’s what goal setting looks like for me now. I only have half a dozen goals for this year, but they are all shaped to a large extent by my identity , vocation and the roles I hold in life.