People often set goals for themselves. We see it often in New Year's Resolutions. Goal-setting is often sparked by occasions-- milestone birthdays are another common time to set them. In the spiritual life, we also set goals for ourselves. We choose virtues or behaviors that we aspire to, so that we will grow into the best version of ourselves. These are more spiritual goals. By doing this, we become more like Jesus, who we follow.
Each year, those of us who are young in religious life set goals for the year. It's part of a program that we follow in the community to help us continue growing. We set them at the beginning of the year and evaluate them at the end. Did we follow them? What did we learn? I enjoy the support for my spiritual growth, and will probably continue to do this when I'm past this stage of my religious life.
These are my goals for this year:
1. Connections: Pursuing, Maintaining, Benefitting
When I’m connected to key aspects of my life, it’s a generative experience. Being involved in my local community, field of ministry, the province, and world events engages me in the present moment. Plugging into day-to-day situations and long-term relationships with friends and family nurtures me. I want to take opportunities to be connected and keep those connections going, so that I can be blessed by them.
2. A More Intuitive Approach to Personal and Spiritual Growth
I want to have a more contemplative approach to personal and spiritual growth. I believe that by living fully, engaged in my life, God will shape me into who He intends me to be. He uses life’s events and circumstances to inspire reflection and growth, and if I embrace what these have to offer, I will journey with Him as I become the best version of myself. The quest is not a new one for me, but yielding control to God will open me up to how He is working in my life and ultimately, to His will. It will also make the process more Spirit-driven and less intense than setting goals and making plans for myself.
3. A Centered Approach to Balance
The attainment of better balance in my life is also not a new goal, but this approach is a shift for me. I can remain connected without devoting time to each aspect every day. There are limits to my time and energy. I’ll only try to do the most important, the ones that are central to my values, on a daily basis. These are: involvement in my local community, personal prayer, exercise/healthy habits, and ministry. I’ll continue to seek connections in other ways, but less regularly. This will relieve some pressure that I feel and help me to live from my heart in a simpler, more genuine way.
May God bless these endeavors as I continue my journey with Him!