After reading so many pledges of change and growth for the New Year, I felt obligated to speak up. Instead of sinking your aspirations of becoming a better, more successful person than 2011 I want to re-direct or focus your attention on the bigger picture.
It is very easy to get caught up on fulfilling resolutions and setting goals based on the world’s opinions on what you should have accomplished by a certain deadline. Since high school we have been instructed to even use the world’s criteria: S.M.A.R.T. Goals come to mind.
S = Specific M = Measurable A = Attainable R = Realistic T = Timely
Sounds like a solid theory of goal setting/planning, right? Yep, that’s what I thought…until I woke up one day paralyzed by disappointment and lacking the motivation to even get out of bed. Why? Because I had set plenty of S.M.A.R.T. goals and more often than not, I had failed to see them through.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that this system of thinking is completely worthless, but it lacks a component crucial to the development of one’s sense of progress: FAITH. Faith can be defined by many terms, but in this case let’s define it as: the belief that although I have not reached my destination, I am convinced that God is working in my life and change will come. << It’s kind of wordy, but you catch my drift.
Using this definition of faith challenges the S.M.A.R.T. system as a fundamental rule of thumb. You see, the S.M.A.R.T. system does not take into account LIFE HAPPENING. As a young’n, neither did I. Actually I adopted a mentality of setting concrete goals, completing them and moving on the next. Never did I allow even the slightest possibility that a circumstance would arise that would cause me to alter, delay or even scratch a goal off of my life list. Some would say that I was extremely optimistic; others might not sugarcoat it and simply say I was a fool LOL
Either way, life has taught me quite a lesson on the importance of Adapting to Change and Revising Your Plans. There should be a college course on “Reacting to Life 101” because many of our youth (including myself) set out into this new, real world full of hopes and dreams without preparing themselves to RECOVER after FAILURE. I’m sure that it’s not just me that had to devise not only a Plan B but plenty of “How Am I Gonna Get Past This” Plan.
The S.M.A.R.T. system tells us that if we cannot check a goal off of our list by a certain period of time, then we have failed. Faith says don’t watch the clock; instead leave the timing up to God. I missed that part of the equation which put my faith at a standstill, unable to overcome my frustration with my inability to achieve the goals I set years ago. That is until God spoke up for me!
He reminded me that the race is not given to the swift nor the strong, but to the one who endures. Nothing about faith can be measured by human terms, no path outlined by God ever appears attainable at first glance but as you take each additional step of obedience, those callings become more and more REAL to you. He does not give you the specific timing of His Will but He always give you enough hope to get pushing and the peace that calms your impatience while He works.
So when you are feeling distraught, overwhelmed and it seems like your TIME will never come, take a moment to celebrate the progress from one day to the next. Stop looking for grand signs of change and remember where you were a year ago, a month ago, 5 years ago. If you’re honest with yourself, you might not be where you thought you’d be, but you’re still in the race. Celebrate the small growth rather than waiting for the big change.
After all, 2012 is no more powerful or full of opportunities than any year before it. God gives us brand new mercies daily. If you want to break a bad habit or start a new one, you get the chance on a DAILY BASIS! Don’t sell your faith short waiting on the calendar year to change; especially if you woke up on 1/1/2012 as the same person you went to sleep as on 12/31/11.