Goals, Schmoals
By Sara Davison

I’m tempted to sign off here, to end in the immortal words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that,” but it occurs to me that a little more explanation may be required.

It’s January. And, as always at this time of year, just about every author I’ve talked to recently has mentioned their writing goals for the year, and asked me about mine.

The first time this happened, I admit my initial response was to gulp. Goals? Should I have made a list of goals for the year that I need to strictly adhere to? Is this why I haven’t made it onto the New York Times Bestsellers List yet? I booted up my laptop and opened a fresh page, determined to forge this list, to “vision-cast” if you will, an act clearly destined to change my life and career immediately.

But then, as so often happens when I am staring at a blank screen, I froze. After several, unproductive minutes of this, I powered the laptop back down and closed the lid. This goal thing may require a little more thought than that, I decided.

And so I thought about it. And thought and thought and thought. And here is what slowly crystallized in my mind: Not only am I not sure I do have goals for my writing, I’m not completely convinced that I should have them.

As important as being a writer is to me, what is far more important to me is being a follower of Jesus Christ. And as a Christian, I decided it might be a good idea for me to turn to the Bible to see what it has to say on the topic of goal-setting. What I found is that it has surprisingly little to say on the subject.

In fact, Ecclesiastes 5:7 says, “Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:7).

Now there’s a goal I can get behind. Stand in awe of God. Do whatever it is you are called and gifted to do in order to further His kingdom. That’s it.

Now, I’ve been raised in the Oprah/Dr. Phil/Anthony Robbins generation; I’m as indoctrinated as the next person in the belief that I should set goals and have a vision and craft a mission statement for my life, my work, my family, and my future. As I pondered this topic, though, a suspicion began growing in my mind. The suspicion that maybe, as a Christian, I’m not actually meant to follow the Oprah/Dr. Phil/Anthony Robbins manifesto for how to live my life.

I’m not for a moment suggesting that God would prefer me to flounder about aimlessly with no clear direction on how to live my life. Just the opposite. His direction is crystal clear: whatever I do, do it all in the name and for the glory of the Lord. For me, at least, spending copious amounts of time making and doggedly pursuing lists of things I absolutely must do in 2016 in order to reach my goals and achieve my dreams in my life and writing career doesn’t necessarily make that direction any more clear. It may, in fact, distract me to the extent that I lose sight of that direction entirely.

So here, after much soul-searching and consideration, is the sum total of my writing goals for 2016:

I will write.

I will pray and seek the will of God for my writing—and for every other aspect of my life—and always, always be open to His leading and guiding, even if He takes me down paths I didn’t anticipate, foresee, or even desire.

I will pursue excellence in my writing, as though I were doing it for God, and not for other people (including agents, editors, reviewers or readers).

I will use the gift of writing that I have been given to glorify God in every possible way and at every possible opportunity.

And that is all I have to say about that.

About this Contributor:

Sara Davison has been a finalist for three national writing awards: Best New Canadian Christian Author; Best Column – Single; and Best Novel – Mystery or Suspense. Davison is a member of three different writers’ groups, two of which she helped to found. Her favourite way to spend the days (and nights) is drinking coffee – a running theme throughout her novels – and making stuff up.

Visit Sara’s website: Choose to Press On
Twitter: @sarajdavison
Facebook: Author Sara Davison

Leave a comment