The new year has brought me to a place of reflection on the past and looking forward to new things. I have come to the conclusion that my old ways of planning have produced rather poor results. By the way, the "old ways of planning" really was no planning at all. It's like that old saying that says if you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time. So I am interested in change this year. I don't want another year of mediocre achievments and this year is going to be that year of change.
Probably the biggest obstacle that I am facing is a lack of direction. The way I feel makes me think back to a toy car that I had growing up. It was one of those cars that you had to roll backwards to get the little motor inside to wind up. When I let this car go it immediately shot forward but just as quickly started driving in circles. I could hear the little wheels spinning and the car essentially went nowhere. Granted, I loved this feature in the car but it doesn't translate so nicely when I compare it to life. Life without a plan goes nowhere. Years pass by and suddenly you realize that you are in the same place you were back then and--most frustrating of all--you're not any happier with who you are and what you've accomplished.
I hate this.
I also know that I am not alone in feeling this way. I've talked to several people that are lost and directionless. They don't know what they're doing and they don't know where they're going. They desperately want direction but they don't know where to find it. I have thought to myself several times that I would GLADLY do something if I simply knew that it was the right way to go. If I knew what God wanted me to do then I would tirelessly pursue it. The problem, though, is that "the way" is not merely handed to us. Obviously, there is no cosmic, heavenly road sign that points us to the road of happy fulfillment and it would seem that the mere act of finding that road is, in itself, part of our purpose.
So this year I will be in hot pursuit of this road. I know that about 85% of finding our purpose comes from looking within (according to Dan Miller, author of No More Mondays) and this can be a daunting task in our culture today. It's really easy to lose touch with who you are when we are caught up in the pseudo-reality of TV, the movies or even in the hype created by news organizations. Everything is instant and patience is now and ancient and nearly lost virtue (just think about the last time you had to sit at a traffic light for more than 2 minutes). Looking within takes a lot time when you have to get through all the superficial muck that clogs our brains. Digging through that stuff to find what's truly in our hearts can be a long and arduous task. Yet, I will do this in 2009.
Here are some other obstacles that have hindered me in the past:
1) Paying too much attention to one thing: By this I mean that I worry about one part of my life that I want to change. Really, I'm referring to my career. Since I spend SO much time at work, it's natural to want to make that something we are passionate about. The problem, however, is that it may take time to do this and I typically forget other things that will make my life good as well. For example, exercising, building relationships, getting involved with my church, etc.
2) Freaking out: Yes, I tend to freak out about being directionless. There is a lot going on in this but I essentially forget that I need to make decisions from a peaceful state of mind (or as peaceful as possible). I get all worked up that I am not doing what I ought to be doing and then I start obsessively seeking something out to fix it. I just need to relax and remember that I am OK right now. God doesn't hate me for feeling lost and I have a lot of good things going for me.
3) Forgetting about my goals: Well, truly my goals have been quite weak in the past. However, I still wouldn't make them specific enough to measure. This year I'll be checking up on myself on a monthly basis.
4) Not having fun: I am terrible at this. I believe that life was meant to be enjoyed and I make myself miserable trying to determine the next step. I need to make sure that as I am taking care of the serious business of creating a meaningful life I also need to have fun.
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