"If you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time." Zig Ziglar It is a brand new year and time to kick of a fresh new season of life and ministry. While most people enjoy the relief of finishing a semester, gearing up for the next is often a challenge. New Year's is a perfect opportunity to reflect on the last semester and evaluate your performance this last year, and figure out where you want to go this upcoming one.
In school you are evaluated by your performance through grades. If you do well, you will earn your A's, and if you slack off your reward will be C's or lower. A fresh start in school is amazing. No matter how poorly last semester went, you have an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, hit the books a little harder and come up with a plan to do better next semester.
How are you evaluated?
Outside of school it is a little more difficult to find a way to be evaluated. The more time we spend not being evaluated the harder it is to find the motivation to do well. In the ministry world we chafe at the idea of being evaluated or graded on our performance. This is a ministry, a calling. Who are you to judge? Yes these are both true. But this sort of push back is detrimental for the longevity and health of you and your ministry.
It seems like it should be a no brainer to be evaluated objectively in all things. Evaluation is how we know how we are really doing, the areas of improvement, and the areas we can be proud of. But in our grace filled, entitled culture, being evaluated is an anathema. I think this is partly why fewer and fewer people make New Year's resolutions. After failing year after year to meet their goals, most people give up and settle for sort of, trying to do better.
As Zig Ziglar said, "If you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time." When we look down on objective evaluations or resolutions, we are settling for a C life and a C ministry. God has entrusted us with the lives of students. He has given us areas of responsibility and influence, and we should lean into this high calling and strive for excellence in all things. "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17
God doesn't grade on a curve:
Yes, God is a gracious father who pours grace and love on us, His dear children. But he is also the master of this vineyard, and a hard man who has harvested where he has now sown and gathered where he has not scattered seed. (Matt 25:14-30) He is like a man who has gone on a journey and entrusted us with talents. It is our duty as God's servants, and even more as his very own children, do strive to use them to the fullest glory of God.
The only way we are going to get grow in our return of God's investment in us is by evaluation. We must ask God to continually search us, know us, test us, and lead us. We must be willing to write down objective goals for us to be evaluated by. We need to make goals professionally, personally, and spiritually. Then we will be able to know how we are actually doing in these three areas.
Not making resolutions because you are tired of not following through with them is a character issue, not a "resolutions are dumb" issue. We have to figure out what the real issue is in why we make or don't make resolutions. I have found that my issue is that I am both risk and failure adverse. But without either, I will never experience the rich rewards and joy of living fully into the people that God has us to be. What is the reason you are not making resolutions this year?
May you aim high this new year and do all things for the glory of God our father and master.