Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Goodbye Christmas! Hello 2011!

I feel a twinge of sadness as the Christmas season comes to an end. There's something special about this season and the spirit that comes with it. I hate to think about having to take down the tree, the decorations and the lights, but it's more than that. I find that at Christmas I really begin to reflect on the person that I am and how far I am from the person that I'd like to be. I earnestly begin to ask myself the question: "What can I do to be more of the person that I want to be?"

And the answer rarely has anything to do with career success or success as the world would define it. How could it when the Christmas story is about a great God leaving his greatness to be born as a baby, live as a humble servant, and die as a despised criminal? Where is the success in that? There's no upward mobility in this story -- it's all downward mobility.

The Christmas season makes me pause and recognize that for much of the year I define myself by my career successes or how much I'm able to accomplish on a day to day basis, in other words, my upward mobility. But at Christmas I remove all of these outside trappings and evaluate myself based on more important things like generosity, charity, love for others, selflessness, etc. I put aside my successes and accomplishments, and I get honest with myself.

"So what that you published two books this year?" I say to myself. "How have you loved more deeply or given more of yourself this year than the last?" These are the things that truly matter. And during Christmas I vow to do better next year with these things that truly matter. And I recognize that at times this may mean falling behind on some of my goals in order to move towards greater goals -- the kind that change a person's heart more than a person's status.

As we move into the New Year, many people will make resolutions. For many it will be to lose weight or eat a healthier diet, to get better grades or get a promotion at work. I don't typically make resolutions so much as I set goals for myself. I still have a list of the goals that I set two years ago (some that seemed a bit far-fetched to me!), and it's amazing to see how by writing them down and holding myself accountable, I was able to reach them. These were work-related goals, and I have a whole new list of work-related goals for the new year ahead that I'm still refining. However, I want to set some additional goals this year and be just as intentional about them as I've been about my career goals.

For one, I want to be more generous with my time -- giving it to people above projects. I want to find opportunities to give of myself where I receive nothing in return. I want to act in love even when that love is not returned to me. I want to be someone who gives without counting the cost. In the coming days, I hope to find practical ways to put this into practice and apply it. And I hope by this time next year that I've made some progress.

What are your goals our resolutions for the new year? I'd love to hear them!

Happy New Year!

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