As the sunny holidays draw to a close, and the endless stream of Youtube videos fades like a dream to the buzzing of the school bell, there’s a variety of emotions in the air.
For many, the impending start of school is met with a heavy heart and an even heavier school bag. On the flip side, others are feeling excited; eager for the new opportunities and experiences that a new school year promises.
Whatever you’re feeling, there’s no denying that this year has much in store for each and every one of us. What will each future hour be filled with? Each minute, or second even?
Stressful exam prep?
Fun times with friends?
Arguments with parents?
More social media scrolling?
But before we embark onto whatever the future has in store for us, there’s something many of us might do.
New Year, New Goals
Making goals has always made its recurring presence all throughout my schooling life, and even outside of it. Whether its the lofty goals of a future career or dream uni, or the everyday struggling will to achieve the tasks I’ve set for the day, this seemingly simple art is definitely much harder to do than write. Even in school, I’ve repeatedly been provided a whole list of guidelines and suggestions to aid in crafting a ‘personal best’ goal for the year.
But why exactly do we make goals in the first place?
If you search this question up, there’ll be pages and pages of different articles and websites attempting to answer the question (believe me, I tried). Most (if not all) make valid points; setting goals gives surges of motivation, keeps us accountable, and puts us on that road to success.
But what I’ve found in my own goal-making processes, is that the goals we make (as long as we make them of our own volition) reflect what we prioritise.
What we value.
What’s important to us.
As someone who favours my English class over all others, it makes sense that I allocate majority of my time on studying and advancing my skills in that subject. If an exam for a certain subject is coming up soon, such as Math, it makes sense that I’ll prioritise studying Math over, let’s say, Geography.
Whatever it is that we consider important, even if it’s just for that moment, it’s going to be what drives our decision to make a certain goal.
So, as Christians, what do we consider important?
Our Heart’s Treasure
If you’ve grown up in a Christian household, I’m sure you’ll likely have heard this verse before.
“..Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
It’s pretty well-known, and it certainly seems straightforward. It makes sense that someone who loves, say money, would find their (certainly temporary) happiness and hopes on the amount of green bills stuffed into their bank account.
But, if we are God’s children, who else can our treasure be? God is the sole owner of that throne in our heart. It’s God who matters in our life – His presence is our source of joy (why else do we sing ‘Joy to the World’ as we celebrate His first coming every December?) , and we know that we can find our hope and strength in Him (Isaiah 40:31).
And if God is our treasure, then there our heart should be.
And not only our heart either. We’re called to “‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Mattew 22:7). That means giving all of us – no reservations and keeping back.
Just like how the classic hymn goes,
“Let me burn out for Thee dear Lord,
Burn and wear out for Thee.”
A Worthy Goal
If God truly becomes what is most important in our lives, it’s then (and only then) that His calling will become our goal. He has set work for us in this world that’s still full of darkness, no matter how bright and shiny sin and suffering may seem from the outside.
Now then, what is He calling us to do?
He gives us a mission; to spread the Good News to all people, whether it be in our actions or our words, “till all have heard at least once of Calvary”. He works in us to bring His Kingdom here on earth through the ministry and community of the church.
Because that is exactly what’s at the core of His heart.
That is what’s important to God.
It’s finally back to the old and battered school desk, as the 2023 school year rushes to a start. No matter what the school year brings, let’s not lose sight of what our goal is – what’s the ultimate priority of our actions, words, and choices.
It’s a new year, and with it, new opportunities.
Why waste them?
Elaine (Anggi) Tambunan (14) is the editor and one of the many teens that write in RE Generation-Z. Through her articles, she aspires to remind more teens to live lives as lights in the world. She can be easily identified with a spectacled face buried in a thick novel or doodling.