Have you ever given thought to the question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”? It’s somewhat of a daunting question really. There are so many areas to consider within that one question.
Where will I be in 5 years with regard to my career?
My living situation?
Not to mention that 5 years is such a VERY long time away. I have a difficult time thinking much past the next 6 months, let alone 5 years. My personality is not that of a detailed planner. Details get lost on me; I am more of a Big Picture Girl. So, the idea of trying to know where I want to be in the future or making a plan as to how to get there, stresses me out.
But I do believe that when it comes to my spiritual life, it’s more important to have a goal than a detailed plan.
Ultimately, my goal as a Christ follower is to become more like Jesus.
So, what’s the problem? Bob Goff said it best when he said this, “Our problem with following Jesus is, we’re trying to be a better version of us rather than a more accurate reflection of Him”. I love the way Bob Goff gets real with it, brings it home, and leaves me thinking.
His statement made me consider my goal. I was drawn to ponder my motivations. I believe that, as human beings, we are all naturally, and to some extent, people pleasers. Some of us struggle with it more than others, but to some degree, we all struggle with this. It’s human to want people to like us. It’s natural. I would go as far as to say that it’s not even wrong.
However, in my thinking and consideration, I’ve come to understand that the goal should not be JUST to be admired, or ONLY to be liked for myself. I desire to be liked and admired so that (and here’s the challenging part) I can have opportunity to more openly share with those in my circle, my story, my faith, and my purpose…
My purpose is this: to know Jesus and to make Him known.
In my flesh, and left to my own devices, I put ME first. I take care of ME. I want people to like ME. I want people to think I’M neato. I desire the admiration of others to make ME feel good. I enjoy attention and recognition. Innately, I am trying to become a better version of myself.
Thankfully though, I can also choose NOT to live in the flesh. I can reframe my thought life and get my purpose in check with His spirit. I can push toward becoming “a little more like Jesus, a little less like me”. (Zack Williams song)
Psalm 25:5 says this; “Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in You.”
It’s interesting to me here that the Psalmist says “all day long…” The implication is clear. You and I, as well as the psalmist, must continually (all day long) put our hope in God. I have limitations, I have faults, I have misguided motives. But when we choose to put our hope in the Only One who can give Living Water, when we follow Him, it is then that we know we are headed in the right direction. Because then we are doing what is counter to our natural human tendencies. On my own, I am selfish and inward focused.
But with Jesus leading the way, I can follow His example of caring for and serving others. I can better see when there is a change that I need to make, because I am looking to Him and asking Him to lead me and to teach me. I am more apt to go the right way and make better decisions in my life because I am following His lead, and not looking for others to esteem me. I am looking to please God, The One who matters.
“Be imitators of God as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Galatians 5:1-2. Scripture says that we are to imitate God, to reflect Jesus. To live a life of love that honors Jesus sacrifice. Not one that draws attention to self. When I consider the brevity of this life, I realize that any attention I get ends when my life does.
But if I choose to live my life, giving glory to God and sharing the redemption that Jesus brings, that’s what will last.
I am far more interested in my life mattering AFTER I’ve gone to be with Him than I am promoting myself here and now.
But if I’m honest, the struggle is real. Following Jesus doesn’t stop me from being human. It doesn’t mean that I no longer desire to be liked, or esteemed, or admired. But my desire is that if I am liked or admired, that I can sketch that piece of my humanity into the frame of influence. Perhaps, because I am liked, I have a voice and influence to share the hope that Jesus brings.
When I think about where I want to be in 5 years, my desire is still to be following Jesus with all I’ve got. To be a little further down the road of faith but walking even more closely with Him. To be asking for His direction earnestly all day long. To intentionally place Him in the center of all my decisions and motives. Because I know that when I do that, everything else will fall into place. Every 5-year goal, every motive, and every path I walk on will be right where He wants to me to be.
Spiritually. Emotionally. Relationally.
I no longer need to “figure it out”, I need to simply and completely put my hope in Him. My responsibility is to do the things that bring me closer to Him. Spending time in His word, lots of it. Spending time in prayer. Spending time actively pursuing my relationship with Him through worship, teaching and service. Not in activities that make me look good, but in secret, where only He sees. Places where He gets the attention, not me.
John 3:30 “He must become greater; I must become less.”
More of Jesus, less of me!
Lord, your word cuts me to the heart. It shows me the parts of my life that need to be more inline with your heart. Please take my life and make it yours. Lead me and teach me. And give me the courage to walk where you lead. Continue to show me how I can be a better reflection of Jesus, not just a better version of myself. I know that when I follow you, I am always heading the right way. Today, tomorrow, and in 5 years.