My life dreams. They were in a hardcover sketchbook, large and thick. Every New Year’s, I would write a list of short-term and long-term goals in that book.
But not this year.
A few months ago, I threw it out. And let me tell you, it felt good.
Perhaps I was a little impulsive. After all, it’s not that I don’t want to dream. And it’s not that I don’t find goal setting important.
But I was so stinkin’ tired of having my life reduced to a checklist.
For so long, my idea of success was bound up in checklists. If I could check certain goals off in my career or homeschool … success. If I could check certain goals off in my marriage and other relationships … success. If I could check certain goals off in my walk with God … success.
Although I’ve found incredible freedom over the past couple of years, that particular dream book reminded me of a time in my life when everything was tied up in my performance.
Everything. Tied up in my performance.
My worth depended on how much effort I exerted and whether I succeeded or failed in meeting my goals. Oh how I would beat myself up when I failed.
It was exhausting.
I still catch myself doing it sometimes, too.
But I’ve learned something over the past few years and I want to share it with you: You are more than what you do. You are more than your ability to check goals off a list. There’s nothing wrong with dreams and goals, but you must understand that you are more than the sum of your successes and failures.
You are a child of God, deeply loved and infinitely valued.
When you achieve your goals, you are loved. When you fall flat on your face, you are loved. When your idea of success looks different than other people’s and no one else quite gets you, you are loved.
You are loved.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with dream books and vision boards and all that other jazz. As long as we make sure we’re catching God’s vision for our lives rather than letting the world (or even other Christians) define success for us.
As long as we remember that there is a big difference between serving Jesus to earn His love and serving Jesus in response to love.
Dream. But dream His dreams. Write down your goals if that’s your thing. But more importantly, make it your overarching goal to simply love the Lord.
And never let a checklist define your worth.