As we finish with 2017 people all across the world will resolve to change certain behaviors and aspects of their life by setting goals for 2018. The stats are pretty dismal for the number of people that actually stick with their resolutions long enough to create real change in their life. Maybe part of the reason that we fail at creating permanent change is that we are concentrating on changing everything around us instead of creating the change within ourselves that is needed for a real longlasting change.
Ladies and gentlemen, creating change within ourselves is by far the hardest yet most fulfilling project we will ever take on, mainly because it is an ongoing project. WE WILL NEVER BE PERFECT. For some, that will provide some relief, for others that statement may have created a bit of anxiety for you. Perfection is such an unrealistic and exhausting goal, but knowing that we will never reach it doesn’t let us off the hook for real self-evaluation.
Maybe it would be useful for us to address the benefits of self-evaluation. First, sometimes we display the very behaviors that we criticize others for displaying. No joke! There are times when we need to ask ourselves, “Should I be the pot or the kettle?” Before you deny this, take a strong minute to think about it. Again, there is no need for perfection on this page! Sometimes the problem lies in our inability to accept that we have not lived up to the standard that we expect from others. Just let that sink in for a moment…Okay, moving on.
The second benefit of evaluating ourselves is being able to recognize HOW our own behaviors have contributed to interpersonal dilemmas. Okay y’all, I’m going to go ahead and warn you that this one may be the toughest one to tackle. Evaluating how our own behaviors have affected our relationships with others may require us to acknowledge AND apologize to others for our shortcomings. Apologizing to yourself is hard enough, but going outside of self and admitting to others that you were wrong takes some humility. Guess what, THAT’S OKAY! When we wrong others and are able to apologize for our mistakes it can actually help build trust within that relationship; by humbling down, the relationship can take a step up! Admitting our imperfections can create space for dialogue about how we can improve in helping meet the needs of others; admitting our imperfections also gives others around us permission to admit that they too are not perfect.
Lastly, when we begin to be real about our limitations and imperfections we can make the adjustments needed to set achievable goals. It’s easier to set realistic achievable goals rather than dealing with the disappointment of quitting, not following through, losing, embarrassment, etc. This is not to say that we should not challenge ourselves. No, this was not permission to live a boring, unfulfilled, miserable life. Please, don’t start that rumor that you read on Road to Destiny that it’s okay to live at your lowest level. Nope, not here! What I am saying is that it’s okay that it may take you longer to reach a goal because you are now more in tune with what works for you.
The most critical evaluation that we make in life is asking ourselves if we know and have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I don’t get hyped up or in political debates about specific beliefs, if one sin is greater than the next, or attempting to judge who is going to hell because they did XYZ. That’s between them and God. What I do know is that I fall short every day, several times a day. Yes, the goal is to be more like Christ but I’d be a whole hypocrite if I passed judgment on anyone’s behavior because it is only by grace that I am saved, not by my good works (Thank God because again, I fall short every day). I want to invite you to join the journey of faith. Knowing that Christ was willing to die for a hot mess human like myself encourages me to be more mindful and forgiving towards myself and others. I do not always get it right, and lately, I’ve had to come face to face with many wrongs. So as I reflect on this year and set goals for 2018, my sincere hope is that I can continue to grow in every area of my life. I pray that you will do the same.
P.S. If you need a starting point in knowing Christ read Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mother that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (NLT).
Photo by: Felipe P. Lima Rizo