I try to lead a reflective life… asking myself where I’m at in my own story, continually clarifying my own priorities, goals, and passions.
Recently ran across this journal entry from about a year ago. It was a couple days after Christmas and I was thinking about the upcoming year (this year):
What questions guide how I think about an upcoming year? How does one even begin to think about what’s important, what to focus on?
God, the self, my family, my friendships, this congregation, my work…
I want to adore God more
I want to present him a “self” that’s worth all He is
I want to nurture my family in faith and love, and own this place and this moment in time with them
I want to be a good friend to my friends
I want to lavish love on this congregation
I want to take seriously my abilities and steward them wisely and faithfully, producing “good work” – a body of effort that is measurable and definite, and contributes to what is Good, True, and Beautiful
Those are the things I want:
Loving God; a glimmering, shining self alive to all that God is; a vibrant family; healthy friendships in which my friends feel valued by me; a congregation that bears all the marks of a pastor who loves her; and meaningful work…
It occurs to me that these are the “tangible intangibles” in that they are very real but so very difficult to measure. And I suppose they are so for exactly that reason. “Love” or the quality of feeling valued is so difficult to quantify but is also so very real. “200 people” is easier to measure, but it seems to me that I could set and achieve goals like that and totally overlook the “tangible intangibles” that make having a congregation of 200 people meaningful in any real sense. I’m quite certain that if I focus on qualities rather than quantities, I’ll get both, in appropriate and healthy measure. But if I focus on the latter and neglect the former, I’ll get one without the other… or worse: neither.
I love going back and looking at entries like this. It reminds me of what is truest and best in my soul, and keeps me from acting out of that “false self” that is so driven by ego and a desire to impress.
I hope that you take time to reflect often, and to stay honest before God about who you are and where you’re going – about whether or not you’re “filling up”, in your own life, your nature and destiny as a human being (see Gen 1-3).
Grace to you…