Melissa and I talked about writing a blog to publish on January 1st, to share some ideas for resolutions that you might consider. But alas, we are different – eccentric as we like to say – and so we publish this more than a week after beginning our year, with an entirely different intent. We aim to put resolve into your New Year’s resolutions.
The Gravity of Resolution
Setting and working towards goals keeps us moving forward, and helps us better ourselves. As we strive to attain our goals, we are forced to change things about ourselves and stretch beyond our “comfort zones”. Even the process of choosing a goal forces us to evaluate where we’ve been and where we are going. Most importantly however, the routine requires slowing our lives down enough to consciously see the reality of our lives, evaluate who we’ve become, and take inventory of what we do and don’t like. Out of this introspection is born a vision of what we can become.
Most of us understand the value of the resolutions. But much more weighty than your new resolutions are your previous ones. Today, Dr. Charlie Weir, our pastor here in Franklin, TN, began his first sermon the year by reviewing his main points from his sermon exactly one year prior. He took the opportunity to reflect on the past year and see if he, together with the church, had accomplished the goals we had set. Only then did he share his vision for the focus of 2018.
This reminded us of an important truth – our accomplishments AND failures from the past year, our achieved goals AND our unrealized dreams, must influence the resolutions we make for the following year. As we consider how and why we missed our target, we learn keys to succeeding on the next attempt. Our new goals can then be set in a way that empowers us to succeed, and stir our drive for accomplishment.
Our Audacious Goals
Anyone can set a boring goal. But the most fun to pursue are the audacious dreams, filled with purpose. Some of the most outlandish resolutions we’ve set as a family were directly inspired by Holy Spirit. We’re talking ideas that leave us shaking our heads thinking, “this is NOT something we would’ve come up with.” We understood the purpose, and while we didn’t see exactly how to get there, we knew it was possible. Often, we could only begin by adjusting strategic things in our lives to help position us to walk it out.
Sometimes these dreams were spoken directly from the mouths of our kids. When we discussed moving away from Kansas City, our then 10-year-old daughter Adrienne said she wanted to visit Clearwater, Florida and see the animal movie stars from Dolphin Tale. Our 6-year old son, Addison (along with his dad), chimed in that he wanted to see a rocket launch from Kennedy Space Center. We looked at each other and asked, “Why not?” Half a year later, we sold our house without buying another, and lived as footloose vagabonds for two months, bouncing all over Florida, loving life and growing as a family.
What’s more – every couple of days we made a “God connection” with someone He put in right in our path. The crowning jewel… a long-lost, abandoned family relationship was restored. Those experiences, relationships, and the spirit of adventure was rooted deep into our family, and continue with us to this day. (You can read more about our adventures in some of our other posts.)
Dream. Your Life Depends On It.
For 14 years, our family lived from each year to the next focused almost exclusively on the dreams of others – following the core vision of our church. We seldom looked back to take stock of where we had been, and rarely looked forward to where we were going as a family.
There is certainly power in supporting the community and working towards goals as a church. But if the vision for our family is simply the vision for our church, we are sadly missing God’s plan for our lives. If we only ever follow the dreams of others, we will only ever end up where others want to be, never discovering the purpose we were created. We will wake up 10 years from now, doing the same thing we’ve always done with little to show for it.
We started to slow down and dream for our family, resolving to take action towards these goals. Our family didn’t abandon the dreams of our community of faith. Rather, we discovered and pursued our family dreams first and found ourselves better suited to help our community. We used that strength to impact others like never before. Soon, we found ourselves on the grandest adventure of our lives.
“Do not go gentle into that good night.”
The famous poem by Dylan Thomas says it beautifully. We are not created to live life safely and gently. “Gentle souls” are guided solely by the passion of others. But we were each created in the image of God – we are ALL creators! Designed to dream, He waits for us to expand our vision, set amazing goals, and run with Him in pursuit of them. “Old age should burn and rave at close of day.” While many simply fill their lives with endless activity in an attempt to “burn and rave”, we have discovered the priority of resolution for life, and embracing purpose as you dream with your family. Our kids know we’re always on the lookout for the next, audacious dream for our lives, and that we will pursue it with steely-eyed vigor and joy.
So this year, be audacious. Discover your family’s purpose, and see your visions become reality. From our family to yours, we give you permission to dream! Challenge yourselves with God-inspired goals that will carry you from previous failures into boundless success. May these resolutions push you and your family into new adventures and see you grow together in faith. And may the challenges of 2017 become your overcoming exploits of 2018!