Shifting Goals

This is why I don’t condone New Year’s Resolutions: the offer to resolve to start again and set new goals is always on the table, regardless of what day in the year it is. These past 4 semesters at CU have been nothing short of an absolute mess. Without a doubt, I’ve learned and grown, but I’ve also lost friends and struggled in more ways than I can count along the way. Surprisingly, though, God’s brought me to a place where I can reminisce and smile.

I’m able to do that a lot more now – look back at the things I’ve lost, people who’ve walked out of my life, and memories I wish I didn’t have, and smile.

It’s taken 4 semesters of craziness for me to realize that every let down and struggle was preparing me to be right where I am now (and I know that before I graduate, I’m going to be saying the exact same thing). God’s been incredibly faithful in my story and sometime this summer I’m going to sit down and write it all out.

I’ve reached a season of joy.

And just as I typed that, I started tearing up a little, because I never thought I’d make it here. It’s seriously been a 2 year season of painful pruning. No, I don’t feel on top of the world, but I’m content and hopeful. I’m smiling a little bit more, I’m sleeping a whole lot more, and I’m happy to be alive. It’s weird, because although I’m always battling manic depression, I’m okay.

Part of it is coming from the strength I derive from knowing that God’s given me such a strong passion and direction to glorify Him through social work, youth ministry, and music. I’m at peace when I pray to Him about those aspects of our future together, because it’s one of the few things that’s clear. Sometimes, though, God decides to rattle that direction a little to take me deeper than I would ever have my feet wander.

When I found out that AmeriCorps was reconsidering my acceptance, I wasn’t crushed.

Shocker, I know, but at that moment, a few pieces of my brokenness fell into place and I noticed that I was prepared for this. I could choose to break down on my own or I could choose to trust in the fact that God has a plan even though it’s unknown. Since I’ve already broken down about 40 times or so on my own and made it out alive, I’ve learned that everything’s going to be okay with or without the breakdown. God’s teaching process is strange.

So yes, I know who God’s calling me to be, but I have a tendency to get way too caught up in the future. It’s definitely okay to dream, strive for greatness, and hope for better things for myself, but every time something in the future seems to feel too distant, my present suffers, because I try to fix things that haven’t yet fallen apart out of fear of the unknown (i.e. relationships). There’s probably a bunch of psychological and sociological factors that play into that fear, but in retrospect, my goal has always been to worry as much as I can about the future in an attempt to distract myself from and motivate myself in the present – that’s just not a healthy way to live, though. It’s a lifestyle that cannot be lived out with joy, because in a life devoted to a God who was, is, and is to come, one has no need to worry.

With good intentions I have focused my attention on the Donaven in the future, but I need to be taking care of the Donaven who’s here now. My goal is to no longer have my entire future planned out, but instead, to simply trust that God knows what He’s doing.

And because He’s God, He does.

Next semester is uncertain, but I’m not scared. I’m not even in the slightest way worried. I’m looking at back-up plans, of course, but even the back-up plans are in the God’s hands. Whatever this feeling is, it’s liberating.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Trusting God like this isn’t an easy or passive practice.

It’s aggressive (ignore the negative connotation).
It’s getting out of bed in the morning knowing the day’s going to be difficult.
It’s breathing deeply and whispering to yourself, with God listening, today is new, the old is gone, I can do this.
It’s reaching out to people when you’re struggling.
It’s getting on your knees beside your bed with “Oceans” blasting in your ears, because you know that some battles should first be fought with God.
It’s loving.

And that’s what this is. This feeling void of worry is love. He doesn’t ask us to be perfect. He knows that we think we’ve got it all figured out, yet, He remembers that we are dust and that’s evident in His grace, evident in the fact that He sent His Son for us, and evident through our every breath (He hasn’t struck us down dead, even though we totally deserve it).

Most importantly, He doesn’t call us to merely try, because we can and should live like we’ve already succeeded. Because He died, we’ve already won. I had a friend a while ago tell me that God doesn’t call us to try and my entire worldview was shattered, but I know what he meant, now. I get it. I’m living it.

Life is always going to be full of uncertainty and fear. It’s part of being human. Life can be extremely difficult, but since God is extremely good I’m moving forward. I’m going to continue to challenge myself to live and serve God fearlessly as sophomore year comes to a close and summer begins.

Speaking of summer, I’m changing my diet and working out (which terrifies me), but I think dedicating my summer to bettering myself spiritually, physically, mentally, and academically is what God wants me to do as I wait on Him to answer my questions about the Fall.

In addition to working on a healthy lifestyle, this new blog is hopefully going to serve as a healthy outlet and although I’m not a fantastic writer, I hope my readers will give me grace (especially with my overuse of commas), because I love doing it.

I guess I’ll leave you with a feeble attempt at a toast:
cheers to God-given joy and mid-year resolutions.

 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39, ESV).

With hope,


One thought on “Shifting Goals

  1. You are right Donaven. We don’t know what is in our future. Planning is great but being flexible might be even better. Bending to the way God wants you to go and not really understaning what is in store might be scary but opens up a world of wonder and hopefully a joyful life. Always here for you. G


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