Rethinking What’s Essential

Rethinking What’s Essential

When Your Current Goals Are Reduced to Zero

I’m the type of person that plans and writes things down. Every quarter, I draw and re-draw by hand my goals to internalize what my short-term and long-term goals look like. I allot time for brainstorming to set my annual goals, which feeds into my quarterly goals. I am careful to craft my days to align with my weekly goals. I am very methodical in my approach. I like being organized, coloring inside the lines, so to speak.

One day, I got wind of the rigidity of it all, just talking business all the time. When my kids interject in adult conversations, I involuntarily shoo and shush them like they have no part in it. Though they’re not directly contributing to the topic, they do want to engage in the way they know how – by presenting me their work: boasting the page their coloring, or asking how to spell a certain word because they want to write me a letter.

I’ve become this busy figure where there’s no room for spontaneous play. But do I want to be this person that neglects opportunities for deep connection with their kids? Of course not. Yet in more than one occasion, I’ve caught my response to contradict my intention. Good intentions are of no match to our actions.

Good intentions are of no match to our actions.

Shiela Bernardo

As if this lesson didn’t come clear enough; it hadn’t penetrated in my hard-cased head. I thought that it might be a good idea right now to pursue some new goals. I started mapping how these new undertakings will restructure my time. I was shooting for a new position within my company that’s considered a promotion for me, with the extra benefit of transferring to a work site closer to home that will cut commute time from 2 hours down to 20 minutes. After all, I’m doing this for my family.

While at it, I thought it made sense to boost my competitive edge and pursue a professional certification to acquire a knowledge base and an industry-standard title designation to boot, the letters ‘PMP’ after my name. Why not just complete my MBA instead? Better to take advantage of my employer’s tuition reimbursement program. The investment of time and effort has a direct correlation with my income, which would help our overall financial goals. After all, I am doing this for my family, and undoubtedly for myself too – for my own level of personal fulfillment.

But how does it all make sense in this season where I intend to go slow? My old self was not going to be hushed without residual reaction. It kept insisting on the old way of keeping busy. I did not know how to silence my personal desires. So it really hit me like a brick when one Sunday, I sat in the front row seat of service where I saw and heard Pastor Chuck Swindoll preach for the first time. He looked right at me delivering this point:

“Is what you want that important? Is your life bracketed only by your wish list? Or is there room for God to intervene at any point and say ‘This is what I want for you.’ Because He does have the right being our sovereign God of glory to interrupt us at any age, at any time, at any era, and carry out His will in our lives.”

Chuck Swindoll

It felt like I was the only one in that room, and this message was tailored just for me. I sweat in my seat with mixed emotions stirring up my soul like raging rivers. It all came together in a coherent lesson, as I’ve also picked up bread crumbs in prior weeks from the trail of Steve Farrar’s messages, leading up to this moment of conviction:

  • Self if the most popular idol
  • All things come not by chance, but by His Fatherly hand. He is in absolute control.
  • He’s not going to do your life the way you think He ought to do it.
  • Feelings can’t be central in my life. Truth should be. There is power in the Word of God.
  • There’s no possible way I’ll know, but He’ll make a way.

I struggled to digest this for a few more weeks because I am the type that wants to be in control. But I was surely humbled with the reminder that nothing is in my control; only God is in control. I could die tomorrow and instantly have these plans, which I spent so much time planning – to go instantly unrealized.

Whether we like to admit it or not, our days here are numbered. We’re transient in this world, not knowing when our time is up. Assess your true life’s priorities. It believe it always boils down to the quality of your most important relationships. For me, I’d like to say that I’ve had the best moments with my family. We cannot wait until the end of our days to realize what’s essential. Turn about right now if you’e walking in the wrong direction, and consciously decide to live life with no regrets.

♥ Shiela Bernardo is a budget nerd who is keen to stay on track with her family’s financial goals. She perpetually seeks to demystify how to keep the house clean with two dynamic young daughters. She is a self-taught computer programmer balancing a career as Assistant Vice President in a Fortune 100 company. She blogs about family, faith, and finances in her spare time.

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