Gods and Goals

Lately, I’ve been in a bit of a rut. Sometimes in our walks with God, we start to feel as if we are running in place rather than moving along. I hate that feeling. So there I was, trying to get myself on the right track with God, when I stumbled upon a poem by author Steven James. In essence, this poem was a prayer that can be summarized in one sentence: “If goals can become gods, may You be the only goal I have.”

Maybe I struggle with this more than you do, but sometimes I let my dreams take over. Lately, I’ve been trying so hard to figure out where I’m supposed to go next that I forgot to sit down and soak in God’s Presence now. Somewhere along the lines, I got my priorities wrong. But in the moment I read that poem, I decided to set them straight.

“I choose You,” I whispered, echoing the prayer of Steven James. Then I turned on some music, basked in God’s Presence, and danced until my feet were on fire. It was one of the most beautiful nights I ever spent with my Savior.

So how about you? Where are you letting your goals and desires take first place in your life? What do you need to sacrifice in order to experience true intimacy with God? He’s waiting for you to choose your god today. I pray you choose to drop your idols and whisper those infinitely freeing words: “I choose You.”

The Best Year of Your Life

I had an interesting conversation with a coworker the other day. It was one of those conversations that left me thinking, then praying, then writing, and now blogging. He asked me this question: “If you could relive one year of your life – not to change anything, but simply to relive it – what year would it be?” Now, my initial thought was, “What’s the point? I’ve already lived that year once, so why would I want to return to something so familiar? What would be the fun of that?”

What left me pondering this thought long after I had gone home from work was the fact that I didn’t have an answer. Every year of my life has been filled with ups and down, joys and pains. How could I choose one that stood above the rest? The only answer I could offer my coworker was, “Well, I know which year I wouldn’t choose.” But now I’m not so sure. As I laid awake in bed thinking of that year I have long considered to be the worst year of my life, I began to think that maybe it wouldn’t be so terrible to return to it. In fact, if I could go back with renewed vision – if I were able to take with me the perspective I have now – that would probably be the year I would choose.

I learned so much in that year. I learned how to stand in the midst of a storm while the wind and waves pressed against me and the sands shifted beneath my feet. I discovered how to love through the course of that nightmare – unconditionally, that is – because up until that year, no one had presented any conditions that I was required to love around. I learned how to fully trust the God who creates the light at the end of the tunnel, because throughout that year, I knew nothing but darkness. And if I could go back with the perspective I have now, I might be able to see the things that I missed. Perhaps my worst year would become my best year, but I guess we will never know.

The only thing I am left absolutely certain of is this: I don’t want to live my life stuck in the past, savoring the moment. I don’t want to get so caught up in a memory that I miss what is happening here and now. It’s like the old proverb says,

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery; but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.

So here’s my answer to my coworker’s silly question: This year, 2010, is the year I want to relive. And next year it will be 2011. And the year after that, 2012. My lesson learned (and encouragement to you) is this: Don’t walk around yearning to relive the best year of your life, but strive to make every year a year worth reliving.