As we stare down the end of the year, it’s worth reflecting on how we’ve grown over the past eleven months. Are we becoming the person we were intended to be? In what ways have we noticed a maturing in our faith and in our love for God? We should never stop growing, never stop striving to become more and more like Jesus. If this past year didn’t bring the growth we expected or the maturity we desired, now is a great time to start figuring out how to have better results next year.
Goal setting has long been a tenant of the personal development crowd, but I think it also serves Christ followers well to set some goals in their spiritual life. Who were you created to be? What were you created to do? What is the difference between the answers to those questions and where you now find yourself? This is an excellent first step in setting some goals. If you were to be all that Christ intended you to be, what kind of person would you have to become? In what sort of activities would you engage? What kind of books would you read and what sort of words would you speak? Before you can become the person you were created to be, you need a clear picture of what that person looks like. Once you have that picture you can set goals that will mold your personality into the proper character. Becoming who God purposed you to be will usually not be an overnight transformation. In most cases, it will be a process of single steps compounded over time.
After getting clear about the kind of person you must become, the next step is to understand what actions you were created to accomplish. What sort of skills and talents do you possess? Are you an artist, a caregiver, a compassionate person, a good listener, a strong leader or patient teacher? This is a very short piece of an almost infinite list of gifts and capabilities. What is it that you are really good at, what attributes and abilities have you been given? If you are not currently making use of the talents God has entrusted to you, this is another great place to come up with some goals. What could you do next year that you have neglected to do this year? How could you make better use of your skills and expertise? If you are currently using your gifts for causes other than to further the Kingdom, in what ways could you begin to transition your work into something that reflects and honors God? What is it you have been putting off and can now determine to take action upon in the coming year? Don’t take the time to edit, but rather write down everything that comes to mind.
Once you have listed all the ways you can utilize your abilities for Christ, it’s time to whittle the list down into perhaps twelve specific goals (one for each month) for the new year. Compare your list with the picture of the person you wish to become. What items on your list would that person undertake? Picture yourself as the person God intended you to be and choose goals that you can envision that person achieving. Write everything down. Written goals are powerfully motivating. You can reference them regularly to remind yourself what you have determined to do. Make sure you review them no less than once every week. Commit your goals to memory; post them on your bathroom mirror or on the dashboard of your car, anywhere you will frequently see them and be reminded of the person you are becoming.
By visualizing the person you were created to become in Christ and carefully determining specific, measurable goals for your journey, you will be well on your way to exponential growth in the coming year. All of this must be done with a heavy dose of prayer. Ask God to show you who He wants you to become. Seek His wisdom in determining what He would have you to do. Knowing that He will provide the power behind our meager offerings is an invigorating and motivating force. We can become the person He sees in us; we can accomplish great work for His Kingdom. Don’t let another year go by without the growth that you desire. Tell God that this year you are going “all in”, and diligently follow your plan to do so. Take the time to set your spiritual goals now. Persist in achieving each of your goals. God delights in those who seek Him and He will help you every step of the way.