Goals For This Season & Hope For The Next

I’ve been looking forward to this week. This week I began my new rhythm. Some people call it a routine, but that always sounds so boring, so meaningless, so rote. But rhythm — ah! It is a word filled with fun, meaning, and yet still a measure of structure. This week, after an interlude of traveling and holidays, like a record set on the turntable, rhythm has returned to my life.

Goals for this Season

On New Years Day I took some time to write down in my journal all of my goals for this coming season. Now, some people define goals by whether or not they’re S.M.A.R.T. goals (a mnemonic criteria that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). I think there’s a ton of value to this, especially for businesses and project management. But for regular life, I don’t tend to define goals this way. My goals aren’t so much specific achievements that I can measure, but rather disciplines that I want to devote myself to. For example, one of my goals is to grow in deeper relationships with my friends. This isn’t something that I can achieve, but it is something I can devote myself to and work toward. All that to say, on New Years Day I wrote down some things I want to devote myself to this season.

When I make goals and reflect on my health and wholeness, I like to consider what Jesus called the greatest commandment. “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” So, I reflect on each of these areas of life: the heart reminds me of relationships with people, I think of romancing my wife and friendships in community; the soul reminds me of relationship with God, prayer, devotional time; the mind reminds me of the importance of always learning, asking questions, and challenging my assumptions; and strength reminds me of physical exercise and also general activity like hobbies and such. After reflecting on these, I set some goals like going on dates with Morgan and going to Starbucks with other dudes; like using various prayer books to direct my heart, interceding for others, and reading the scriptures; like reading books and listening to podcasts that will challenge my thoughts and teach me new things; and like going to the gym and taking time to rest.

All of these things give rhythm to my life. They help set a pace so I don’t get stuck, but they provide enough freedom for me to improv occasionally. My rhythm tends to be more jazz than classical. The ride is swung, but it keeps on tapping away.  What kind of rhythm do you have for your life? Do you have any goals for this season?

Hope for the Next

I tried to set this rhythm for myself because I don’t want to waste the next six months in anticipation. I want to use these months to keep growing. Because in July Morgan and I will be moving to Seattle. I have so many hopes for this new season!  I will begin a masters in counseling psychology at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. Morgan will hopefully be starting a doctorate in psychiatric nursing practice (she won’t hear back from the school until March or April) at the University of Washington. We will be moving into a new home, making new friends, and looking for a new church.

I am excited about starting in a new place with Morgan. It will be so fresh and new. We both have prior foundations here in Abilene. In Seattle we will be building our life together from scratch. I am excited about returning to school and all of the stimulating conversations, books, and papers that come with it. Especially since I will be studying psychology—something I’ve become increasingly interested in, but never formally studied. I am excited about the day-in, day-out life that we’ll get to live, the coffee shops we’ll find and frequent, the parks and places we’ll discover and explore, the people we’ll meet and befriend. I am excited that maybe we will finally have compatible schedules. That Morgan and I might actually have weekends together and get to regularly participate in church together.

There is so much to be excited about and to look forward to. Morgan and I are filled with so much hope in this season as we dream together, imagine the future, and think of how we might touch the world and help build the Kingdom of God.

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These coming months are like a horizon—they are an ending and a beginning, an edge and a bridge—like the pictures on this post. One is a photo taken five and a half years ago during my first week in Abilene, the other is a was taken a few months ago when Morgan and I visited Seattle. In these months there will be many people and places to part from but also so many new things to join. May God carry us through this season. And amidst all our hopes and dreams, may our true hope be found in him. Amen.

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