Goals, Approval, + Love / by Kate Brightbill

I haven't written a lot this week, but I've been thinking a lot. And sometimes that's a better place to be. 

I've been thinking about goals and motivation and what in us creates these expectations for ourselves.

There are so many goals I've developed through life. There are goals to get married, have babies, live in San Francisco- I've done these things earlier than expected. There are goals I had at 22 to visit all the states before 30, work as a creative in marketing or styling, learn to sail, learn Spanish, sing with a band.. the things that never came to be (for the better!). We create personal goals to eat healthier, work out more, and maybe they'll be met sometimes, sometimes not. Goals are good.

But goals can also be unhealthy.  

There's a verse that says "what good is it for someone to gain the whole world, but forfeit their soul?"  (mark 8:36)

Since I read this essay last week, I've been wondering the same thing. When is what I'm doing enough? And what is the motivation behind each goal of mine? What really matters? 

Here's my example: I'm working out these days. It's healthy at this point; I've gone to Pilates multiple times a week and on most off days, I take a three-mile run. When I run I think to myself about how I can just push a little harder, and get a liiittttle more fit. It's good and it's bad. I do want to be healthy, but what is my motivation? Just to be healthy? That's great if it is, but I know I want the acknowledgement that I'm in shape, and I want people to be proud of how I work. WHY does it matter? It doesn't. Really though, it doesn't. So I can reach a certain point where I'm an accomplished health and workout machine, and gain the "whole world," but to what end? My runs this week have been more healthy and more enjoyable, because I've been spending the time in thought and quiet prayer, rather than "ooh, it'll seem I never ate those bagels because I ran so far."

When I think of what I want my girls to see in me- do I want them to see a go-getter? A goal-oriented mother who can accomplish what she sets her mind to do? A healthy woman? Yes, I do. But is that the most important thing for them to know about life? No. 

The things I want my girls to know?

I want them to know first and foremost that they are loved by God who created them. I want them to know that they are loved by their mom and dad. That they are enough the way they are. That the expectations of people are unrealistic and that they don't have to be everything to everyone. People may or may not be impressed, no matter how hard we try. Working hard is important, but working hard to maintain relationships- to forgive, to laugh, to cry with others through good and bad times- is equally important. That people will let them down, that good health is not a given, no matter how nutritious we are, that circumstances will come that are not peaches and posies, but they will become stronger for them. I want them to love people and adore their Maker. I want them to be humble and confident. I want them to feel, I want them to experience. I want them to be gentle. 

I don't want them to spend their moments searching for approval from others... because it may never come. 

I want my children to spend their days thinking of how they can make OTHERS feel confident and beloved. Show others that they are valued and loved as well.

I know what I want for them... now I need to spend MY days showing them... and believing with all my heart that I am enough, not concerning myself with seeking approval from people, and loving others without restraint.

The trickiest part about teaching is learning it myself first. ;)