I referenced in a blog I wrote yesterday, that rather than setting goals, I prefer to diligently cultivate specific thought patterns. You can read my reasoning HERE.
A couple of reasons I value a well cultivated thought process over a well thought out goal is my belief that “accomplishment” is inferior to wholeness. I’m not against goal setting, especially if you take into deep consideration what I wrote yesterday. In general, a healthy, consistent thought pattern has influence on every area of your life, whereas a goal tends to be more regionally specific. Right thought patterns nourish your soul, whereas a goal at times drives your soul. A healthy thought pattern allows you to navigate and override your circumstances, whereas a goal is often subject to uncontrollable circumstances. Again, I have no moral issue with setting goals, but I do believe personal growth and health is more profoundly fueled by right thinking than by markers and benchmarks.
In my own life, I spent December prayerfully considering some thought patterns I wanted to establish. I wrote them in my journal and in the notes of my phone. I chose some of the thought patterns because of identified deficits in my soul. I chose some because they were at one time prominent in my life and I had allowed their prominence to be diminished. Some are course corrections, others are for progress. Some are to deal with wrong attitudes, while others are to solidify right attitudes. The thought patterns I chose are both led of the Holy Spirit, informed by Scripture, and strategic after self-evaluation. None of them are especially profound, and that is intentional. I’m not trying to blow my own mind, nor am I trying to blow yours. I am trying to intentionally nourish my heart.
The first thought pattern on my list is as follows:
Every day is a gift, receive it well.
As a believer, one who has been saved to the uttermost, one who should be marked by delight, joy, and optimistic energy, how I think about every day matters. On occasion I am afforded the opportunity to stand in front of large crowds, preach, and see them respond passionately and deeply to God’s word. However, most days are as run-of-the-mill as any other human being. Most days I wake up, carry out my typical routine, go to work, do my job, come home, talk to my wife, engage my kids, watch a little TV, and go to bed.
If you aren’t careful you can lose your sense of wonder. You can drift into a state of numbness. If you aren’t attentive, you see less beauty, smile less, have your heart swell with emotion less, and fall short of feeling fully, abundantly alive. No one wants to live that way, and as a believer, that is beneath my station in life.
Thus, I began the work of establishing the thought in my mind, that every day is a gift, and I must receive it well. There is no such thing as a mundane day. I am not ready for the weekend to hurry up and get here. I’m not passing time until the excitement of summer camps finally arrives. I’m not waiting for the spring bloom to see beauty. I’m not trying to “just get this day over with”. I’m not daydreaming about the time of year when I can do my favorite hobby. I’m not daydreaming a brighter, more wealthy, more grande, more celebrated future.
Today. This present moment. It is a gift, and I am determined to look God in the eyes graciously, smile, and receive it completely. Within this thought pattern, I acknowledge that some days are difficult, pressure gets applied on occasion, stressful circumstances can mount, and people can be less than encouraging. Some days are tragic and painful. Yet, they are a gift as well.
If I firmly establish the thought pattern that every day is a gift, I am flooding my soul with hope, trust, focus, humility, worship, love, and beauty…to name a few. Simultaneously I am flushing out boredom, purposelessness, insignificance, fatigue, dread, and the overall “bleh” of life…to name a few.
I want to encourage you to be intentional about your thought life. Be strategic. Be attentive to the Holy Spirit. And hang with me the next couple of weeks as I break down the thought patterns I am working to institute in my life.
Oh, and if you are still a fan of setting goals…how about you make it a goal to establish healthy thought patterns 😁