The Best Movie Line
Michelle and I watched a movie -- "The Lost City of Z" -- the other night. It had a one liner I thought was wonderful and hugely appropriate for those of us setting New Years goals.
It's a true story circa 1915 of English explorer Percy Fawcett who was convinced of an ancient lost city deep in the Amazon. Each highly-publicized, death-defying expedition he made to find the city resulted in failure... and an increase in his obsession to prove his theory -- and himself-- worthy. You see, Fawcett had a chip on his shoulder: Despite being a brilliant military leader, a renowned horseman, and an unparalleled marksman, he was consistently passed over for promotion due to an Irish bloodline and a father who disgraced the family with drinking and gambling.
His insatiable drive toward the goal of finding the city brought him fame and notoriety, but his repeated failures cast a shadow over his theory, his judgment, his leadership, his worth. The collateral damage to his marriage and 3 children was not lost on him, but he couldn't tame the maniacal drive to accomplish this goal.
The point in the movie that reveals (for me at least) the most poignant truth about human nature and goal setting comes when Fawcett is trying to recruit his steadfast, right hand man from past trips to go on one last trip. When his companion refuses to go, Fawcett asks: "Have you come to doubt the city's existence?" His reluctant side kick replies: "No. I have only come to doubt that it will provide the answers you seek from it."
So before you set any goals this year, check your motives. What's the real itch you are trying to scratch? Is it to be loved by others, to be respected, impress others, prove yourself, become more comfortable, ensure financial security, earn the love of God, find peace, experience fulfillment? Sometimes we unwittingly bark up the wrong tree while trying to satiate something that is unmet deep in our hearts. In other words, how sure are you that the goal you are working toward will deliver the experience you deeply crave?
I encourage you to slow down your mind, slow down your heart, slow down your body and think deeply about the real motivation you have for any particular goal. Then, go search the scriptures to see what they say about experiencing what you crave.
WARNING: Be particularly wary of religious goals (i.e., bible reading, prayer, serving the poor, church attendance, tithing, etc.) for the New Year. If those goals aren't rooted in a desire to know God better, draw peoples' attention to His greatness, and become more loving toward our fellow humans, you'll end up disillusioned and tired. But, if you focus on those outcomes, you'll get those things plus the blessing of peace, joy, and freedom as wonderful by-products.