To the Idealist at New Years

I’m an Idealist, which means that I am passionately concerned with personal growth and development. I have insanely high standards of how I should live, how our family should behave, how our house should run, how I should relate with God.  High, high, high.

Nigh unreachable and certainly exhausting.

And now it’s New Years, the time to reflect upon my 2013 goals and set new ones for 2014.

Can I tell you a secret? I haven’t looked back on my 2013 goals yet, I’m terrified to do so.  I don’t even dare open that blog post for fear that I will set off a shame spiral from which I will never recover.  But I know that I need to, so here goes.... reading post now….. 

Okay that was rough.  I only hit about 40% of my set goals for 2013, much of this has to do with the fact that we moved 1,000 miles and lived on half our normal income.  But still I struggle with unrealized goals, everything I set out to do in 2013 were things I seriously believe I SHOULD be doing, but didn’t.

Things like Run a 5K.  Ideally I would be someone who does that, but I don’t like running.  I want to like it, I like the way I feel after it, but I don’t like it overall.  Maybe I’m doing it wrong.

I read all the blogs about how to do it better, make it easier, more effective, change your mindset, your outfit, subscribe via email or there’s an app for that.

This me at New Years:  I can do EVERYTHING BETTER THIS YEAR!  Look at me go, I have Goals!  Big Ones!  I will subscribe to all the blogs, use all the tools, buy all the systems ensure I succeed at doing all the things better!  

2014 will finally be the year that I’m okay with myself! 

Wait a second, I think this is why I’m in therapy.  Well… one of the reasons at least.

My Idealism gets me every time across the board, and it gets my friends and family too, because I have high ideals for them too.  Lucky them…

So I’m an Idealist who wants to, but can’t do all the things and set (then meet!) all the goals.  And this year I know it ahead of time, so…

Well I can’t just NOT set goals, can I? Without Vision, the people perish. That’s in the Bible so I can’t just toss it aside.

But how do I have goals while being realistic, leaving margin and being enough for myself?

How do I make progress on personal growth and dream-realization without depleting myself and feeling like a total failure at the end of the day because my 33 item to-do lists didn’t get done before I passed out covered in medicinal brownie crumbs?

I think these two three things might help.

1) Don’t allow the meeting (or not meeting) of my goals to define me, to give or take my enough-ness.
2) Stop comparing, contrasting and overall being preoccupied with everyone else’s goals, progress and mantras.  I’m not them and they don’t need so much head space.

3) Remember this scripture: “now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.” You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.”

This scripture has always bugged me because it plays into the “Lord willing” talk.  I mean I’m not going to tell Kel: “If the Lord wills it, I am going to go to the grocery store and return home with milk, eggs and bananas. So help me God.

He’d eventually punch me if I prefaced every intention like that.  Or at least start throwing things at me.. that sounds more like my husband.

No, this verse isn’t meant to shape our every sentence, but rather to be an overarching reminder of our time here on earth.  We set goals and this is good but God might have other plans, bigger plans that inch our goals out of feasibility for now.

We work, we make progress, we love, we eat, we sleep, we breathe in the earth… but we’re not in charge… and it’s wonderful.

It’s not on our shoulders to turn the earth and it’s not up to us to bring the sunlight over the eastern horizon each morning.

It’s not on us to earn our breath, our love, our grace.

We can, and we should set our goals this year, set them wild, dream big, dance wildly but in the end when we’re spent and we land where we land, we are enough for a God who doesn’t care about my goals when he doles out his love and grace.  

Goals are good, but grace from the Father and lavishly received is ultimately better, at least for this idealist anyway.

So on that note, I shall set my goals, one of them being to be enough for me for a change.  Yes I think I’ll let this shape my year.

enough