Okay, so I’m a little delayed on the new years resolution train! But before you judge, let me explain.
Over a year ago, Christmas 2019, the Lord brought me to some very deep realizations. Powerful to realize now that I had no idea COVID-19 was on the horizon, or all the difficulty and trial that 2020 was going to hold. As the Christmas break neared back then, I had just completed a long stretch of more than 18 months of strategic planning efforts for our Archdiocese which culminated in a large Convocation event for over 1,500 faithful Catholics from all over central and western Oklahoma. And we released the new Vision 2030 Pastoral Plan for the Archdiocese. It was a beautiful culmination, and the break was a much-needed time of rest and recouping after all that work. I spent some time during the vacation thinking and praying about what was next. It was a natural time at the end of the year to reflect back and look forward. That’s when God interrupted me.
I had just spent the past 18 months trying to envision the next 10-12 years for our Archdiocese. I kept sensing the Lord asking me, where do YOU want to be in 2030? As I prayed with that question I found myself thinking about the big, important things in my life – my own faith, my marriage, my family, etc. Through several stretches of prayer and reflection, I came up with my own 2030 goals:
- Be a Disciple, Make disciples – I don’t want to just be active in my faith 10 years from now, I want to be on fire. I want to be advancing in holiness. I want to be a contagious “change-agent” in the Church. And I want my faith and relationship with Christ to be impacting others for the good, drawing them into deeper relationship with God themselves.
- Thriving Marriage – I don’t want to just stay married and still be with Meg 10 years from now. I want to be in love! I want our relationship to be thriving, pushing us both into greater holiness, and together be a source of grace ad blessing for other couples.
- Thriving Relationships with My Kids – Over the next ten years every single one of my five children are going to emerge into adulthood. There will be a necessary transition of those relationships for every single one of them, from “parent-child” to “parent-adult friend”. I want those adult friendships to be thriving ten years from now which won’t happen by accident. Navigating that transition will require intentionality, perseverance, and even some tenacity.
- Personal Health – There was a poster in a doctors office where I used to live in Denver. It was a simple message that stuck with me, “Think well, Eat well, Move well”. And it pretty much captures what my hopes would be for ten years from now. But again, that isn’t going to happen by accident. It will require regular and consistent attention to good dieting, healthy choices, exercise and growing my mind through reading and other pursuits.
- Financial stability – I realized, somewhat disturbingly, that in ten years I was going to be reaching retirement age. We had made some progress in this area, but not near enough. Again, this was going to require intentionality and planning, it wasn’t going to just “happen”.
What was amazing about this whole process is that I had never thought of my life in long-term view like this. God used this in a powerful way for me. And what was probably most jarring was the fact that of the five big goals that emerged, my day job wasn’t really on the list. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying that I’m not going to keep my job, and not even that I’m going to change the way I do my job. But it was a deep realization that these more important goals were going largely untended in my life. It’s as if I was working very hard at my daily work, but not taking enough time to make sure I was paying attention to the bigger picture. Focusing on yearly goals, which is something I did every year was helpful. But focusing on a 10-year glance gave me a much clearer view of what was really important.
In the end, I called these my “Thrive 2030 Goals”. As 2020 came to an end, I found it has taken a bit longer to measure movement and reset for this next year. My annual goals are not just in terms of the next 12 months anymore, they are measured against the next 10 years.
How about you? How is God calling you to greater clarity about where He is leading you for the future? And how is He calling you into mission? It was powerful for me to realize how fundamental mission was to the big picture of my life. Three of the five goals He led me to were all about mission and my primary vocation.