4 Essential Goals For The New School Year

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So long to the sweet smell of banana tanning oil, reading in the backyard, trips to Portland’s Salt & Straw Ice Cream shop (sometimes multiple times in a week… oops!), and the carefree mindset we associate with summer because school is starting again!!

After a relaxing summer I have time to reflect on what the new school year will bring. I tend to go back to school with a few goals such as, “this year I am going to really work on my confidence and I am going to put myself out there and join a club and make new friends,” and the list goes on. I set goals for myself and more often than not they are forgotten about halfway through the year.

Suddenly things like friend drama, feeling inadequate in challenging classes, stress, and rejection overshadow all the things we had planned to accomplish before the year even started! We feel lost as our end of summer excitement is a distant memory and we wonder what we were looking forward to.

However, I made a new kind of list for this year. I wanted my goals this year to be rooted in Christ and His will for my life. This is a list that I don’t want to get lost in the midsts of the trials and triumphs I may face, and I want to share it with you!




1. Be Consistently Thankful:

The Lord has revealed to me this summer how it is so important to be thankful no matter what circumstance we are in. Sometimes it is scary how wrapped up I can be in stress that I end up blinding myself to all the blessings the Lord has provided me with. At the most stressful of times, and the happiest of times we can thank God.

Take Jonah for example, he was thrown into the sea and swallowed by a huge fish yet he was praising and thanking the Lord for saving his life!

I pray that during the quiet times of the night when we feel that things are just too much to handle, and at the times of complete happiness that we thank our good Father. In all circumstances his love for us is unimaginable.

“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” // Psalm 34:1

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” // 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

2. Root Your Identity In Christ

Our identity and worth is not rooted in how many Instagram followers we have, how successful we are in a competitive class, our singleness or relationship, neither in validation from peers and friends.

Our identity is not made up of the constant lies the enemy feeds us every single day telling us we are not pretty enough or smart enough or worthy enough.

Let’s root our identity in the fact that we are dearly loved as God’s children. We each have our own purpose that is given to us from the Lord, our own gifts and passions, and we are here on earth to share His grace and goodness! He tells us that we are the light of the world, and we are here to further His work of the Kingdom!

“You are the light of the world.” // Matthew 5:14

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion,kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” // Colossians 3:12

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” // Ephesians 2:10

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for
the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)”
// Ephesians 5:8-9

3. Live by the Holy Spirit

I am the first person to run to my friends when I want advice, or when I need help making a decision. I am also the first person to take matters into my own hands when I feel stressed or anxious. I go into a tailspin of trying to make things happen on my own terms, and I push the Lord and His wisdom to the background in the midst of it all. I don’t listen to the Holy Spirit but instead listen to worrisome thoughts and act on my emotions.

This year I want be in constant communication with the Holy Spirit. I want to rely on the spirit and the Lord alone to guide me in all areas of my life.

Jesus refers to the spirit as an advocate, to help us and be with us forever. There is no reason for me to lean on my own understanding and “wisdom” when we allow the Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit, “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit”// Ephesians 1:13

He is patiently waiting for us to engage and lean on this promise at all times!

I pray that we take time every single day no matter how busy the day may be to read God’s word, so that we may be filled with the Spirit. That if the Lord is calling us to pray about something or for someone, we listen and pray when prompted. I pray that by living in dependence of the spirit our hearts would continue to transform, allowing God to work through us for his purpose!

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
// Romans 12:2

“And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.” // Ephesians 2:22

4. Rest In God’s Sovereignty

God has complete control over our lives. We may have our own plans and visions that we would like to see come to fruition, but ultimately God is in control. He already knows everything that has happened in our past and everything that will happen in our future!

My goal is to rest in God’s sovereignty and to remember that there is a “bigger picture” to whatever struggle or situation I am in. I heard a pastor say, “While we are waiting for the big thing God is always doing little things.” He knows the plans he has for us, and He is constantly doing work within us and in our lives even while we are waiting for “the big thing.”

“There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan
that can succeed against the Lord.”
// Proverbs 21:30

“You gave me life and showed me kindness,
and in your providence watched over my spirit”
// Job 10:12

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips
that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
// Hebrews 13:15-16

Maddie Owens // @maddieowens23