One thing I’ve loved (and hated) about the principal I work for is that he has really pushed me to do important things in teaching that I have not wanted to do. If I had been left on my own over these last five-plus years, I never would have grown so much in confronting students and parents with difficult conversations. I never would have started writing lesson objectives on the board. I never would have gone to observe other Spanish teachers in other schools, to improve my craft.
To be honest, I did a lot of inward groaning as he insisted that I do hard things, but on this side of progress I think he’s the bomb.
Here we are in January, and talk of goals and resolutions swirls around us. I ordered the Growth Book from growthrootsco.com, and I love it. (By the way, they’ll soon be taking pre-orders for a new batch, if you tried to get one and they were sold out.) Anyway, this Growth Book has a place where you write goals for all the different areas of your life.
But I won’t set goals.
Goals come to me like they did from my principal. The Lord points a 3000-lumen tactical flashlight at an area of my life, revealing a place where I can grow (super nice way of saying a place where I’m failing). And I groan and get to work doing hard changes toward that part of my character.
The Lord is very kind. He never shines the light on all of me, because I would die. If he were to reveal every sin and weakness all at once, how could I stand under that kind of scrutiny?
No, he points out a few spots and lets me work on those for a while, before giving me new assignments for becoming the complete person he has in mind.
And when the Lord sets the goals for my personal growth, they’re crazy hard but I make progress. He has a plan for me, and he does not fail his “new you” resolutions. (I wrote about this in detail in my book Blameless, if you want more of my story.) See for yourself in Ephesians 1:4:
For he chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (NIV)
God’s plan. His Christ. His accomplishment.
Goal setting? It comes from an external source –from a God who will push you farther than you ever wanted to go but who is resourceful to help you make more headway than you ever imagined. Work on improvements as he puts them in front of you, and it is going to be a good year.