Usually at the beginning of the year I make plans and set goals for the coming months. I don’t do resolutions but I lay out the agenda for the coming year, write down the objectives and map out the necessary steps to get there. I don’t always accomplish all of my goals but one thing I have found is that if I don’t make goals I NEVER reach them.
I noticed this year that my goals are two dimensional. I focus on height and width; How many people does Branches need to minister to this year? How much should I try to have in my emergency fund? How big of a footprint do we want to make with New Life University? These are all questions of doing, accomplishing, reaching, achieving. Necessary I think. Good measuring sticks but certainly not the only or even most beneficial targets. I want to go after more than high and wide. I want to go after deep.
Now don’t get me wrong. Deep is always a consideration for me at this time of the year. I certainly want to increase my devotional acumen and strengthen my spiritual life. I even set some goals to move me in that direction. I plan to read through the Bible every year. I decide how many religious books I am going to read and how much time I want to spend in prayer. But those are just high and wide goals. They are still things that can be checked off the chart at the end of the year. To plan to go deep must be more than reading plans and prayer retreats. It must be more than doing. It has to be about being.
And the problem with being is that is always calls me to change…well, me. You see my high and wide goals are about out there. Making a difference in the world around me. Helping other people. Establishing a sphere of influence. But the deep goals, the deep goals are ALWAYS about what’s in here. My own heart. My way of thinking and behaving. My spirit man. And that stuff I would rather not fool with. High and wide is far easier than deep.
The first book I read this year is by Richard Rohr called The Naked Now. It’s about deep. Here’s a list from there that is calling me to deep.
• If you want others to be more loving, choose to love first.
• If you want reconciliation in the world, reconcile your own heart.
• If you want to see peace around you, be at peace in you.
• If you are seeking justice, act justly.
• If you want to turn the world to Christ, focus on the Christ in you.
• If you want to defeat despair in society, let go of the despair in you.
That seems like a pretty tough list. I would much rather set goals about miles to run or new clients to see. Those things have a number and I know when I’m done. But deep goals are hard to finish. And maybe that’s the point. Deep is not a goal or an objective. It’s more of a walk, a process, a journey. And just like my high and wide goals I may not get there…but I know if I don’t plan to, I won’t. So here I go, seeking deep. Wish me luck. Better yet, go with me. (That’s deep.)
Lord, this year call us to deep more than to high and wide.