December 31, 2007

Reflecting and Thinking Ahead

Posted in hope, reflection, spirituality at 8:40 pm by jimazing

streamer-3.gif Looking at my post on January 1, 2007 , I expressed hope that during 2007 I would be come more of myself and more Christlike at the same time. I believe I have experienced some of that transformation. Now that I understand it better, I want to continue to live it on purpose. Jesus said that the most important thing is for me to love God and love my neighbor as myself. With God’s help, I plan to do that.

I went for a walk today and stopped on a little footbridge over a stream. The water was running hard from the recent rains and there were rocks in the stream that the water had to get through on it’s journey. The stream was bubbling and churning and the sound caused me to stop for a moment. The moment became two moments and three as I thought about all the great things that happened this year. I had some really fun times, but the great things that happened weren’t all pleasant… in fact the very best ones were downright unpleasant. These were best because, as my uncle recently reminded me, those unpleasant conflicts are where the real growth happens.

Thinking forward to this year, I was thinking about the futility of planning. I don’t have control of my life. There are so many things that happen to me that I have no choice over. My choice comes in how I respond or react to the things that happen. But reacting and responding is not planning. I know that I can plan. I can set goals that are worthy and yet unattainable. That seems futile… (read don’t want to go there). I can set goals that I know I can do because I will do them anyway. That is cheating for no reason. So with all that in mind what I want to do is set a few SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. These characteristics are pretty much self explanatory, but the last one is worth a comment. Timely, to me, means that the goals are not just for the sake of getting things done, but they are to help keep me headed in the direction I want to go. With that in mind, here are a few “cheaters”. They are already on the calendar, or very close to it.

  • streamer-1.gifHelp out at the Brian McLaren event at Area 15 (I gotta blog about Area 15 sometime)
  • Trip to Montreal with LaClef in February
  • Personal Coaching Training in February
  • Pass my 10 year anniversary with Wachovia
  • Turn 50
  • Celebrate 30 wonderful years with my sweetie.

And here are a few wishes that I want to turn into SMART goals. They aren’t completely there yet, but they express my desire for the next year.

  • Move my spiritual journey from one of “learning about” to intentionally expressing God’s love in a tangible way to people who are in need. (hurting (everyone), poor, hungry, homeless…)
  • Invest the time that Wachovia allows for community service work around Area15. (They actually allow me to invest an hour a week-on the clock-in community service work. Isn’t that cool?)
  • Become more involved with Area 15. (Outside of the community service time. Just hang out there and see where I fit in)
  • Blog about my spiritual journey. (Kinda like my Work Experience Series)

streamer-2.gif These are wishes and not goals because they don’t have a deadline (beyond saying that I want to do them within the next year. Anyway, it is a start and that’s all I’ve got right now.

A wish, a hope and a prayer.  I wish I could spend quality time with each of you every day to know you better and to love and encourage you the way God does. I hope your new year takes each of you further in the direction that you want to go, and I pray that each of you feels the Love of God in your life in a special way today and the next day and the one after that…


  1. curt said,

    I volunteer one bald guy to pray for you again in 2K8.Journey on!

  2. Well, you continue to amaze me with your determination to be who you are, to discard the generational baggage and tap into the spiritual heritage which is yours. I’m proud to know you and own you as my nephew/brother.

  3. ded said,

    I’m with you, Jim. Forward into whatever He holds in store.

  4. George said,

    You want to express God’s love in a tangible way to poor and homeless? OK, then do it! There are shelters in Charlotte, and they can use volunteers. Start alone, and maybe you’ll see how you can grow into the opportunity. My suggestion, tho, is to combine the tangible (food) with the intangible (respect and communication). Put the food on the plate after you ask how they’re doing. say hello, and is this enough? Find a pitcher, and serve drink refills where the residents are sitting.

    Maybe you’ll see that the food is not what you’d serve Jesus — and you are serving Jesus, right (Matt 25.32)? Maybe you’ll get the desire to upgrade the meal once a month. Find some people who want to share with you. Do a food drive at your church — get tortillas, refried beans, minute rice, drink mix. Find money to buy 40 lbs of hamburger — get it at Sam’s club in 10 lbs tubes. You can feed 200 with that — mix it with taco seasoning, buy some lettuce, tomato, and onion thru a restaurant or produce company, get some shredded cheese and sour cream. Maybe some cookies or brownies for dessert. Preparing this stuff is easier than you think. The key thing is to try it. You can do it.

    Is this “good works” that don’t save you? No, it’s good works that are made for you (Eph 2.10). Is it a program? It’s what Jesus recommended that you do — Luke 14.12.

  5. […] the beginning of this year, I set some goals for myself, one of which was […]

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