There’s nothing like a new year to renew our passion for growth and excellence.
I think, however, that in our haste to set new goals sometimes we miss careful evaluation of where we’re really at currently in some of the key areas of life.
Before you decide what goals to set, I encourage you to evaluate where in your life new goals are most needed.
The list below is one I developed several years ago during a challenging life season when I realized that I had not been stewarding the various aspects of my life well. While I was fully committed to Christ and His calling, I wasn’t managing my health, energy, and various areas of my life like I should have been.
This list helped me realign my thinking and planning. I hope it can be a help to you now as you begin a new year.
You may even want to score yourself on a 1–5 scale, or give yourself a letter grade in each area. Then choose a few areas in which you score low to focus your goals.
1. Walk with God—This is the single most important aspect of your life, and it relates to your most vital role in life—child of God. Anything you do to develop and enrich your personal walk with God is time well spent.
2. Identity—Identity and legacy have become buzzwords in our generation. As Christians, however, stewarding our identity means remembering that who we are and what we do is a reflection on Christ. In fact, the identity God has given us to steward is the very identity of Christ, for at salvation, He placed us “in Him.”
3. Family—Next to our salvation, our family is the most valuable gift God has given us. Cherish your spouse, and make time for your children. The needs of your family are as important as any other needs calling for your attention, although your spouse and children rarely press on your time with the urgency of other demands.
4. Time—Time is like money in the sense that we can waste it, spend it, or invest it. We all have the same amount of time, but unless we steward it for God, we will come to the end of our lives with nothing eternal to show for our time. The best way to steward our time is to invest it in that which makes a difference for eternity.
5. Health—We live in a fallen world and should not expect perfect health, nor should we make health an idol in our lives. But we should steward the health God has given us by taking care of our bodies so we can serve Him with as strong health as is possible.
6. Finances—The way we steward our finances indicates our most passionate interests. Wise financial stewardship begins when we recognize that everything we have belongs to God, and He has entrusted it to us to provide for our needs and invest in His work.
7. Relationships—God did not design us to walk the Christian life alone. He created us with a need for Christian fellowship to help encourage us in our pursuit of Him. A true and godly friendship is a precious gift from God, and we must intentionally invest in Christ-honoring relationships.
8. Faith—When God allows difficulties in our lives, He gives with them the grace we need to grow in faith and give that faith to Him. Growth in faith is something we should pursue in every season of life.
9. Thoughts—Left unchecked, stress and worry overcome our thoughts, rule our emotions, and compromise our health. Stewarding thoughts is a process of learning to think biblically in stressful times. It is the grace-enabled decision to fix our minds on Christ and allow His Word to filter our thoughts.
10. Leadership and Influence—Regardless of your title or your position on a flow chart, you have an opportunity to influence every life with whom you come in contact. Stewarding your influence is choosing to purposefully invest yourself in the lives of others.
11. Testimony—It’s not nearly as important what others think about us as it is what they think about Christ because of our lives. Stewarding our testimony is accepting the responsibility that comes with bearing the name of Christ. It is choosing to base our lifestyle and habits on the truths of God’s Word.
12. Witness—The truth of the gospel is a precious gift which God has committed to our trust. If we are not stewarding the gospel by sharing it with others, we are not stewarding our lives at all. Stewarding the gospel is, in fact, at the core of every Christian’s life purpose.
I’m sure none of us consistently hit the mark of perfect balance and growth in all twelve of these areas. But taking time to consider how we are doing in them is helpful.
And regular review of these areas helps keep us from getting tunnel vision in just one or two areas and to ask the Lord to help us keep growing as well-rounded Christians with a commitment to steward every area of our lives for Him.