Everyone’s been asking what I have selected as my new year’s resolution(s) for 2014. Like I’m the Goal Queen, or something. Hardly. But I’ve been told, “It’s really fun to watch you go after something you want,” as if my life is a spectator sport they’re betting on. What people don’t realize, as it’s taken me forever to recognize, is that independent pursuit of what I think is best for me is actually more of a problem than a solution.
If my ability to set and achieve goals were all it took to make me successful, I would have been ruler of the world by now. Alas, it’s obviously not enough. That quote about climbing the ladder of success only to discover it was leaning against the wrong building fits me to a “T.” Sadly, it’s a one-sized T-shirt that fits too many of us in the same, untailored way.
I’ve been trying to get away from all the socially-generated, goal-oriented, high-achieving nonsense I’ve historically subscribed to as important. Instead, I’m going back to basics and consulting not multiple sources, but THE Source to get and keep me on the right track.
While all the time I should have been leading a highly effective life being authentically myself, as designed and purposed by The Maker, I’ve instead too often settled for being a second-rate version of myself, based on what I think I should be.
Everyone else was doing it. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Much of my career path has been paved with ignorant cultural conditioning. Unfortunately, I was not reared to pray for purpose. Most people I knew pragmatically followed the patterns of walking in family footsteps or going with the economic flow in careers that were either readily available or offered security. Me, too.
When I finally stumbled upon the last resort idea of consulting the ultimate Career Counselor for my next move, I tread lightly, not wanting to bother Him with something so seemingly insignificant compared to more life and death prayers.
Where did I get the idea asking guidance would bother God, the Father? From personal experience. As a parent, I sometimes hate to be bothered. So I assume God hates it, too. But it’s more disappointing when my children don’t bother to consult me, take things into their own hands and do something radically misguided I might have helped prevent.
I’ve approached God similarly ambiguously, not wanting to bother him with the small stuff, although He clearly encourages it in Isaiah 58:9 (NAB), “Then you shall call, and the Lord shall answer; you shall call for help, and He will say: Here I am!” (Not, “I’m busy!”)
Problem is, the more small stuff I tried to take care of on my own, the more it increased my propensity to try and take care of the larger stuff on my own. Before I knew it, I was back flying solo at the control panel of my life, not even offering God co-pilot status.
Far too frequently, it’s only after my life’s crashed and burned, a victim of my own best thinking, that I seem able to again hear God’s voice in my ear, sounding like Dr. Phil: “How’s that working for you, Kristy?” It’s not.
So why do I continue to push my own agenda? Same reason you do. Because self-reliance is as tempting as it is overrated. We’re usually in a hurry to get things done – OUR WAY. It’s why we start assembling the bicycle before reading the directions or jump the gun at a race. The human race.
In his book, Radical Reliance, which I am re-reading, former Moody Bible Institute President Joseph Stowell observes, “The pursuit of intimacy is an intentional commitment to take steps toward God and, in the process of that Godward motion, to grow more deeply conscious of, connected to, and confident in Him alone as the only source to satisfy, sustain, and secure.” Good advice.
While it would be nice to manage time more effectively, become better organized and lose weight in 2014, my resolution is to surrender my own self-serving ambitions sooner so I can become more radically reliant on God’s direction for me.