If you’ve spent any length of time on social media then you have probably come across the term, “goals.” There is a large house with the caption “goals,” a beautiful person with the caption “goals,” a relationship between two successful, good looking people you don’t even know with the caption, “goals,” hopefully you’re recognizing a trend. Before I go too much farther, let me just say, I have used this term plenty of times. I have taken pictures of large homes, sent them to my fiancée and said, “goals.” But for the most part, I try to steer clear of it. Why?
If I evaluate where my heart is at when I refer to someone else’s appearance, lifestyle, relationship, or possessions as “goals,” I quickly come to the realization that I’m sowing jealousy and envy (Galatians 6:7-8). I am literally comparing my life to someone else’s life. Comparison kills joy like nothing else, it distracts us from the path God has us on and the blessings He has given us ( James 3:16). When I do this, I start to lose touch with God on the blessings. I struggle to give thanks or be content with Him and Him alone. Instead of worshipping The Lord my God only and serving Him (Luke4:8), my interests shift towards myself, hoping to attain something other than Him for satisfaction.
Whatever is on my heart dictates what consumes my thoughts. I’m a driven person, which is great, but not if I’m chasing the wrong things. The moment I move my goals ahead of God, it’s difficult to find the peace that God has given us in Jesus (Philippians 4:7). On the surface it looks harmless. In the moment I’m just speaking or typing a word that gets thrown around all the time. Later on in my day, however, I’ll find myself thinking back on that house, that relationship, or whatever it is I took notice of. I’ll lust after money or different circumstances and it stirs up anger, jealousy, and irritability. My mind goes from being thankful for the roof over my head to being upset that the roof isn’t bigger. I see other relationships and it looks like they’re fun and carefree, so when problems show up in my relationship, I get upset that there are issues. (Proverbs 14:30).
The most obvious critique of what I’ve said so far is this, “Luke, if I say “goals” I’m not trying to compare myself with others, it just drives me to work hard towards my goals.” To that I would say, Amen. I would also say that you are one of the few who can balance the desire that stirs in us to work harder with the desire to dwell on what you don’t have. Dreaming about goals is great if it drives us and we stay rooted in Jesus, all I’m saying is be cautious. With our generation, most people want the satisfaction of having something without putting in work. We want sex without a commitment to one another, we want good grades when putting in minimal study time, you get the gist. In short, the grass starts looking a little greener on the other side of the fence. Don’t get caught staring at another person’s lawn instead of tending to your own.
As I’m writing this I’m thinking to myself, “dude, chill out… it’s just a dumb, trendy saying.” I don’t want this to come across like saying “goals,” will ruin your walk. I’m just trying to make a habit of not saying it often. In my opinion, it’s a quick and subtle way of acknowledging that we have just compared ourselves to another and rendered our life inferior. Here is the thing, just keep your eyes on Jesus. Stay focused on Him. Your identity is in Him, walk with Him, WORK for Him, thank Him for what you have, the blessings in your life, and pray for your future. Just know that the goals of this world are not the standard, no other person, their relationship, or their possessions are the standard, JESUS is the standard. If you gain the whole world but don’t have Jesus, then you are missing everything. (Matthew 16:26).
Thank you Luke Lezon for the guest post! You can follow him at @lukelezon on Twitter and Instagram.
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