As I listened to the message this week, I was struck by Nehemiah's boldness, but also by the fact that he had an answer ready to go - he had goals! Dave Ramsey (the Financial Peace Univ. guy - you may have heard of him) spoke this week, and his message was focused on dreams, visions, and goals, and the message could not have been more timely for me. Since the New Year, I have really taken the time to step back and reflect on where I've been and where I am at right now in a lot of areas of my life. I've had plenty of quiet with Dan gone, and in these spaces God has challenged me to truly take stock of my life, and honestly there are plenty of areas where I'm just not where I want to be right now. And as I evaluate my reality, I have also begun to look ahead to what exactly I hope my future holds and what I hope it will hold - but it seems that lately I stop there. Maybe I get as far as a dream but I have forgotten how exactly to make those into tangible goals for myself.
Dan & I had a long conversation about this the other night (before we heard this message) about this and how much life has changed for us these past few years. Our goals used to me a little more clear cut - I want to graduate from high school at the top of my class, so I need to concentrate on my studies and make sure to do extra where I can...CHECK. I want to get involved in ministry opportunities, so I'll sign up for a Spring Service Project and get involved in Campus Ministries...CHECK. I want to be a leader on campus, so I'll work towards being an RA, work hard in my classes, get involved...CHECK. I want to experience what true missionary life is like, so I'll commit to doing a Summer of Service Project...CHECK. You get my drift. In high school and college the opportunities abound and you need only "pick your poison" so to speak.
Now my goals are much more etherial and much less tangible. Goals like, I want to have a strong and healthy marriage...I want to walk closely with God...I want to be a consistent daughter, friend, and wife. Will I EVER be able to check off goals like these?! Not on this side of Heaven!
All of this to say, I have been challenged first to sit in my reality, take stock of where I'm at, what's missing, what's gone wrong. But in the midst of this reality, I want to be a woman of prayer who brings this to God and asks him, "What's next? Where do I go from here? What would you require of me?" But I don't want to just stop there. I want to be able to put feet to my dreams - to make my dreams into goals that I can actually achieve. Not for the purpose of checking something off a list, but for the purpose of being prepared when the King asks me "What is it you want?" Somewhere in his grief, Nehemiah was able to come up with a plan for restoration, and I'm pretty confident that he didn't just come up with that on his own. He spent time with God, he pleaded with him, and then he listened. Oh God, that I would learn to shut up and listen to You, and then follow through with what You ask of me!
Thanks for muddling through some of my rambling thoughts. For a much more elequoent delivery (and a lot more insight), I'd encourage you to check out these messages - you can either watch the video or download the MP3. They have certainly challenged me, and now I feel ready to take on the New Year (so I'm a month late!)!