Next Steps

I hung out with some people yesterday afternoon chatting about resolutions versus goals. The primary distinction was that a resolution was an easy to fail commitment of doing or not doing something whereas a goal was something to work towards and mark as an achievement that allowed for wiggle room in the process. One of the girls had set a goal to run a 10k in 2023, and she hardly ran at all for the first several months of the year, but she completed the goal in November. If she’d set a resolution to run everyday, she’d have failed a hundred times over.

Personally, I haven’t done resolutions or annual goals almost ever in my life. I have done things like I read the book of Isaiah every month for a year, but it allowed me to read it in various paces according to my annual routine. I also started doing monthly challenges after hanging out with Jacqui five years ago. She was huge on setting these bite size goals for herself, and we’d come up with some together and encourage each other while spending a few weeks doing something new. They’ve ranged from reading the Sermon on the Mount every day to drinking the recommended amount of water everyday.

The thing I loved was that we set them to be a challenge but achievable. I really struggle with the lofty goals that become a discouragement because they are unachievable. The Australian physiologists I follow on social media recently shared the importance achievable goals are in ongoing quality of life for individuals with a spinal cord injury. You need to break it down into something that’s manageable for the moment before conquering the next step. It’s not saying you’ll never get to the full range of motion you want, but it is saying what are the eight or nine elements of getting there, and let’s target them one at a time.

My worldview still allows me to ask God for the miraculous intervention, but it also doesn’t excuse me to wait around for God to snap his fingers and restore my body. My worldview requires me to be responsible with the care of my body in it’s current condition, look for and engage in sustainable ways to improve function, and openhandedly expect God to show up in unexpected ways. The beauty of this worldview is that it doesn’t set me up for disappointment when God doesn’t show up yesterday with the full physical healing. Instead, I can be grateful for the friend who invited me to the pool party she was hosting because she deliberately thought through the layout of the house and knew it was step free access to get me through to the pool where everyone else would be hanging out.

I don’t know what the next ten days will hold for me as I emotionally prepare for the decade anniversary of my accident, but I know they will involve laying out the next steps of my holistic health as I look at what I’m physically capable of, what I’d been promised in the hospital (“no promises of ever walking again” were the surgeon’s exact words), and the quality of life I have living on mission and working with transitioning TCKs globally and young people in New Zealand. Those twenty-four things I’m looking forward to this year were fun to write, and I am excited about the opportunities to fill this year with more of what I love, new things, and unexpected blessings. Sure there will be hard days too, but I’ll look those in the face and give my very best in the moment.

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