#goals

Goals. It seems like such a trendy word nowadays. We see the social media life of a friend, blogger, or celebrity and think they’ve got it all together. Their life is #goals. Don’t get me wrong, goals are important! We need goals to be productive in life, to succeed, to move closer to making our dreams into reality, to better ourselves. But can goals be too much of a good thing?

I say yes. If fact, #goals is something I’ve really been wrestling with recently. I have so, so many goals, and not only that, but it seems like my goals are all across the board. They’re in all different categories and some are attainable, but some (possibly many) are not. Yet, regardless of their realistic potential, I seem to view them as if they’re all equal. They’re of equal importance, equal worth, equal effort and value. But they’re not. And what’s more… in the end, most of them don’t really matter at all.

You might be asking, “So what’s on this long list of unattainable and unrealistic goals that don’t even matter?” Well… I’ll tell you.

Being in PA school, I obviously want to become a PA. But it’s more than that. I want to be the best in the class, to know it all, to be an awesome PA right away, and to have it all figured out. That is like 110% impossible. People who are already amazing PA’s don’t even have all those checked off. Yet in my mind, I feel this compelling pressure and need to be that.

Having just become a wife, I want to be the best wife there ever was. I want our home to be clean, comfortable, and cozy. I want the laundry to always be done, folded neatly, and tucked away where it belongs. I want to make delicious dinners that are challenging, creative, healthy, and seem effortless. I want to spend time loving my husband and serving him in any way I can. Basically, I want to win wife of the year… but based on a checklist I’ve created. Regardless of what matters to him.

I want to be a pretty 20-something who looks like I have it all together. I want to be super fit; slender yet strong. I want to have impeccable style; up on the trends but classy as all get out. I want to look put together and professional rather than like I rolled out of bed (which is usually what actually happens).

I want to have an awesome blog, where lots of other people can come to read what I write and take something valuable from my words. I want it to be styled elegantly and have cool pictures and styled shots. And… it would be nice if I could make a little side money too.

I want to be an active Christian. I want to be at church every Sunday and be engaged. I want to be a part of, or better yet, lead a group so I can pour out my heart. I want to sponsor a child and give freely to every need there is. I want to bring others to Christ on a regular basis. I want to embody Christ everyday.

But here’s the thing… only that last one is important. And when I’m putting all my time, thoughts, and effort into trying to make the others happen (and not even doing a good job of it at that), I lose sight of what God has called me to do. How can I pour out my own heart if I’m not even taking the time to let God pour into my own? How can I lead others when I’m not allowing myself to be led? How can I give freely when my heart is so selfish? How can I bring others to Christ when I’m not showing His love or speaking His name on a regular basis, or maybe even at all? I can’t.

It is so crucial that I remind myself on a daily basis of where my identity lies… and let me tell you, it should not be in being a PA, a wife, a stylish 20-something, or a blogger. Nope. It should be in Christ alone. I am enough for God. Me… just me. And the purpose of my life is to bring glory to him in every single thing that I do.

To be honest, though I have head knowledge of these principles, I was really struggling to find the source of these promises in God’s Word and grasp a deeper understanding of them as “heart knowledge”. I ended up finding sort of a compilation of materials that helped me understand how to approach my problem. First, I noticed this Instagram post… that lead me to watch this sermon and check out this blog post. Then I searched “women’s identity in Christ” via Google, and came across these articles (the first and the second). All in all, this is what I learned…

Especially in this fast-paced world that is chock-full of jealousy, it is extremely tempting to want to and / or feel the need to prove myself constantly. But when my identity is found in Christ, the worth that others assign to me is irrelevant; all that matters is what God says about me. And that is not dependent on what I accomplish in this life (thank goodness!). Instead, what is important is to be present, and focus my time on the here and now rather than striving for ineffective efficiency or for my identity to be labeled as a PA, a wife, a (future) mother, a great cook, a girl who’s got it all together, or as a successful blogger. What I do is not who I am.  

Oh, how true and relevant Ecclesiastes 4:4 is here… when I read it, it jumped off the page and I felt seriously convicted.

Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and striving after wind. – Ecclesiastes 4:4

This striving… striving based on jealousy… is after the wind! The wind that is so fleeting! And then the concept of 1 Timothy 6:6-7…

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. – 1 Timothy 6:6-7

… being content is for our gain! Our striving is all for nothing since we can’t take anything with us when we go anyway. But instead, how sweet it is to be still. To be a Mary instead of a Martha, and to find rest and peace and contentment in Jesus. Instead of striving for status and success, to strive to love others and make an eternal impact… just using the things we do as a vehicle to express that love and make that impact. When we focus on the relationship instead of the result and make it a priority to be present, we gain a more eternal perspective that shifts our priorities from earthly labels to eternal life.

There is even so much more that I feel could be encompassed into this post. But right now, I feel like I’m still wrapping my head around the revelation of all that I’ve learned. So maybe I’ll expand another day. It’s such a simple concept, but a concept that is so much more easily said than done.

I guess the takeaway from this lengthy, rambling post… I can be all of the things that I want to be… as long as my focus and the intent of my heart is not on earning a label from them, but instead showing the love and the grace of God through them. As a PA, I can love my patients and care for them as Christ would. As a wife, I can support my husband and encourage him to draw closer to God, too. As a young woman, I can focus on being a Proverbs 31 woman who is full of love, grace, and joy. A woman who is only focused on appearance to the extent that she is honoring the temple that her body is. And as a blogger who is encouraging and spurring on the faith of others through shifts in perspective and a joyful take on life.

Identity in Christ… it’s a work in progress. I guess you could say it’s #goals.

 

[Credits: Thanks to @mandacarpenter on Instagram, Abbie Meyer’s blog (abbiegmeyer.com), and the resources I found on desiringgod.org for helping me understand my identity.]

 

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