I am notorious for not following through with New Year’s Resolutions.
(Or, maybe, you can’t be notorious if no one knows you haven’t made progress on your resolutions, because you haven’t told anyone).
Because of this, I’m making some SMART goals. I learned about SMART goals through my field education programme, but they seem to be a thing in general. SMART goals are:
SPECIFIC: Can be articulated succintly
MEASURABLE: You and others can see the progress that you made on your goal.
ACHIEVABLE: You have enough power/capability/resources to make it happen.
RELEVANT: It relates to the stage of life you are currently in.
TIMELY or TIMEBOUND: It can take place during a specific period of time.
With that in mind, my SMART goals for 2018 are:
- To be more honest with myself and others. I had a moment last week when I realised that I have multiple versions of myself depending on my audience. The persona I exhibit at home is different from my persona at work and at school, which is different from who I am when I am alone. I don’t think this is healthy. And at some point, changing myself in order to please other people results in compromising on pleasing God. 1 Jn. 2:15-17: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (KJV)
- Seek God more. I’m the type of person that prays intermittently, and when I do, it’s always to ask God FOR something. I want to change that this year by spending more time with God in different ways. I have already begun that by joining a group bible plan for the year. I’m also going to decide if I should start fasting/more often. At the moment I have 2-3 major decisions to make and am deciding whether fasting and praying will give me more clarity. I hope that it will also have spiritual benefits for me. If I am 100% sure that God is leading me to fast, it will be to determine whether or not 1) I should join a denomination or 2) be ordained as a pastor. There are pros and cons to each:
- Denomination: I was “raised” so to speak in the classic Pentecostal church (not the new apostolic movement) and still identify fully with its conservative values because I view them as scriptural. However, during my time in seminary, God has allowed me to work as an intern in a young adult ministry affiliated with a Presbyterian Church (USA), a notably progressive/liberal denomination. I also attend a PCUSA seminary. So question #1 is: “What community does God want me to join?”
- Ordination: Full disclosure: I am a woman. Depending on the authority people give to the Bible, some may think that women should not be allowed to preach to adult men. I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing with that point, because to me it is a matter of interpretation and authorship. I believe that the entire Bible was inspired by God. I was not there when it was written, so I can neither defend nor condemn Paul and his writings. However, I am fortunate (I think?) that my current strengths and interests do not require ordination into pastoral ministry. My key areas are ideally worship ministry and young women’s ministry. That being said, question #2 is related to question #1: “Once I join a denominational community (if any), what is my calling? What are the gifts that God has given me, and what is the role that I am to play?” Alternatively, this may result in my working in academia or motherhood or law or something completely outside of the church. I want to practice listening to God and acting by faith on what I hear (or what I think I hear?)
For this section, the scripture is Matt. 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” The passage this was taken from is all about not worrying about the future, but Philippians 4:6 also says: “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make your requests known unto God.” (Both taken from KJV). Thus, we pray.
3. Marriage. I am almost embarrassed to admit this to the public, but this has been on my heart for years, and it’s quite annoying, tbh. However, one thing I am grateful for is the whole “He who finds a wife” thing (Proverbs 18:22) because nowhere am I expected to do anything except sit pretty, love the Lord, and be holy. Which is good, because no way am I about to ask a boy anything #anxiety, am i right? I do like 1 Corinthians 7:34-35: “There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.” (KJV) Ultimately, what I want to do is “attend upon the Lord” and will be satisfied with whatever state helps me to do that best.