My mother might be the most amazing woman I have ever met. Juggling 3 kids, a husband, and a job teaching at one of the top public institutions while quickly becoming a renowned thinker on social entrepreneurship, she certainly keeps busy. She’s the last one to go to bed and the first one up, and I can’t remember the last time she missed one of our sporting events or concerts. She is literally a superhero in a pantsuit.
She and I are built very similarly. We are task oriented and goal driven. We love making lists and setting benchmarks. Because of our similar makeup, we also butt heads a lot. Our ultra competitive natures make it a challenge when we disagree on something because neither wants to back down or give an inch. Our disagreements can last for days but we always manage to make up and move on. The reason I am talking so much about my mother is because she called earlier tonight and told me something that shook me to my core. I mean literally made me sit down right there in my dorm room and reevaluate everything.
Oh and before we go any further, I should probably mention the thing that I respect most about my mother: she is an amazing woman of faith. She puts such a priority on her relationship with Christ that it stands right up there at the top of her list with raising us kids and being a great wife.
Back to the story….we had been discussing my plans for the New Year, my possible summer employment, etc. Because of her work through Penn State, social media, and networking I have been fortunate enough to do: I have met some pretty cool people and gotten involved with some pretty cool projects. Over Christmas break, I had created a list of benchmark goals for this year as far as the projects I’m involved with and the things I want to accomplish. This list was complete with dates and everything was totally itemized.
As she and I were going over this list she stopped and told me:
“Jared you realize that this list isn’t important.; it’s not about who you know or what you do. It’s not about the people you touch or the families you can help. It’s not about Twitter followers or the blog reads. I know you have lofty goals and aspirations and that is fantastic…but at the end of the day that is not where your identity lies. It’s not the golf trophies or the fast cars or the big houses. Your identity lies in being a man of Christ. At the end of your life, I only want you to be able to say “I lived my life for Christ and Christ alone.” So this year, you could miss every deadline and shut down every social network (*gasp*) but if you glorified Christ in everything you do, this year was a tremendous success.”
Those statements dropped me to my knees. All of our conversations as of late stem from who we talked to most recently or our most recent project or newest management book. Frankly, she said exactly what I needed to hear. Because of this conversation, I jotted down a new list of things I want to focus on this new year…
- This new year will be like other years – mixed with joys & hardships. Be humble in the triumphs and steadfast in the trials.
- Rather than always looking for the spectacular, learn to find purpose, beauty, and meaning in the mundane and every day.
- Don’t let my circumstances dictate my faith. God has not left me and God is greater than any circumstance I could find myself in.
- Finally, remember that grace can change everything. Grace forgives our past, sustains us in our present, and compels us into our future.
I will admit that this post is not for everyone. But if you’ve read this far, it was probably for a reason. I challenge you to reevaluate your goals for this upcoming year. Think about whats really important and focus on that this year. Find your identity, pour yourself into your relationships, and strive to make this year the best year of your life.