If you’re on social media at all, you know #LifeGoals and #SquadGoals make fairly frequent appearances in the content extravaganza that is the social web. The onslaught of pictures and text (usually glamour, success, or travel related) that accommodate these hashtags, has caused me, recently, to pause and articulate what my life goals are.
I’ve known what they are for sometime, but because they don’t fit the glamour, success or travel model so commonly seen, they haven’t been easily Instagrammable or Tweetable. So they arrive below in good old fashioned, boring blog format.
Life Goal #1: Love God (quietly), delight in mercy, and love my wife into old age.
Love God Quietly. Coming from a charismatic background, where to be a Christian, was to flaunt your perpetual spiritual euphoria to the watching world, quietly, has become a key adjective in my Christian experience. It may not align with the latest Hillsong hysteria, filled with smoke machines, laser light shows, public displays of emotion and worldchanging hubris, but it does have frequent support from Scripture which is more than good enough for me.
Delight in Mercy. Psalm 37 tells us that “God delights in mercy” so mirroring this delight is far from a bad thing. It saddens me that our culture increasingly delights in the embarrassment and shaming of individuals or groups. As Paul the Apostle says, “Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but the truth.” Fail videos, catfishing/deception and constant, scathing, biting sarcasm have become the norm. This is not good.
Love My Wife Into Old Age. We’re rapidly approaching the 20 year mark in our marriage. I will focus on the small, daily things that have made our lives enjoyable to begin with. Coffee in the morning, random flowers throughout the week, spontaneous date nights, planned experiences (concerts, trips, etc), flirty texts, kissing when stopped at red lights. I will brainstorm additional ways to continue to love her and implement accordingly.
Life Goal #2: Raise 3 Men and a Woman
Gender confusion abounds, rapidly eroding the traditional virtues of manhood and womanhood. I may not be able to stop this destructive trend across our whole culture, but I can and will do my best to put forth into the world, four children who embody as many of these traditional virtues as possible. A few that come to mind: all aspects of the Trivium and Quadrivium, manliness, femininity, courage, respect, individual responsibility, compassion, a love for liberty and the benefit of self-governance, catechism as guardrails to pastoral charlatans. Over the last 14 years, this has resulted in several candid, yet beneficial, conferences with teachers and I’m sure there will be more on the horizon. However, so help me God, I will raise boys who know what it means to be men, and a daughter who knows what it means to be a woman. And they will do this, possessing the critical thinking, reasoning and argumentative skills to unashamedly live these traditional virtues in a world that increasingly loathes such things.
Life Goal #3: Spread Good Ideas
We talk about America’s $20 trillion debt a lot, and while very bad, I firmly believe America’s most glaring deficit is one of good ideas. Bad ideas multiply and cultural forces are unrelenting in shaming people into making these bad ideas popular. Candor, logic, courage, pith and a willingness to examine any idea are all needed to slow the scourge of horrible ideas sweeping our nation. In my estimation, some of these horrible ideas are (insert Millennial trigger warning):
- shouting = critical thinking or debating
- same sex marriage
- government as panacea
- abortion as a cultural good
- America as the world’s policemen
- groups can possess rights
- more than two genders
Again, I understand this opens the door for intellectually lazy (or even worse, intellectually dishonest) people to call me racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, intolerant, etc, but, again, I don’t care. Why? Namely, because math and reason are not racist, misogynistic, xenophobic or any other Millennial/liberal/tolerant/Marxist bullying label you want to sling at them. Pursuing this goal, without question, includes – even in instances when positions are diametrically opposed – respecting and remaining friendly with people you disagree with. The goal is to understand all positions with a longterm willingness to discuss, continually clarify and, where reason and logic demand, to (gasp!) modify your position accordingly. Admittedly, this approach is slow and boring and not easily hashtaggable, but it’s beneficial as it naturally disrupts the demonizing mob-rule that results from demagogues painting us all into our (and their predefined) respective corners.
Life Goal #4: Foster Humility
I think the catechisms are right, that the ultimate end of man is to glorify God, however, I think on the shorter run, in this life, the chief end largely consists of being humble (or humbled). You could argue that being humble glorifies God, however, I stress with our family that humility is an aim in and of itself. Why? First, because James says “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Second, because humans are infanticimally small. It increasingly baffles me, that in an era of the clearest mathematical understanding of the universe’s scale, that man’s hubris can continue to increase. We’re a speck on a speck on a speck times a quintrillion (and even that is a gross overestimation) and yet we think and behave as if we can “bind the chains of the Pleiades or loosen Orion’s belt.” Pure asininity for sure.
Life Goal #5: Create What Comes to Mind
I tell our kids all the time, “Life is a vapor and God is sovereign.” We are made in His image, and a quick look around at the created order, reveals astounding creativity, imagination, beauty and detail – both at the macro and micro level and everything in between. So why fear and fret? Why not exert the full of our energies into mirroring our Creator’s attributes by creating purpose where our natural interests and abilities lead? The biggest hindrance I have observed to pursuing this end resides in fearing other people and their (potentially negative) opinions of you. Cast off this fear, by anchoring your confidence in the vastly immeasurable God of the Bible, and you’ll discover a productive and creative freedom that will likely positively transform the rest of your remaining seconds on this size-insignificant, yet incredibly marvelous, rock called earth.