Map-Making & Wandering with Purpose // Finding Goals

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When you were five years old, scribbling the creations of your imagination with crayons, someone may have asked you, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" Perhaps you excitedly replied a doctor, an actor, or  the president, or maybe you confidently answered an astronaut, a parent, or a princess. Many of us find that once we are actually "grown up" though, we draw a blank. Our childish confidence sputters out into silence, and we are left waiting, wondering what our next move should be since all sense of direction has been lost.

This great unknown looming before us can result in paralysis, but life keeps moving, leaving the goalless person in its wake. Like any trip, life is a lot easier when we have a map. Here's the thing though, there is no preset map. Maps change depending on the terrain being explored and the purpose of the excursion. In the same way, there aren't template goals that you can google and fill in your own interests because everyone's life looks different, and therefore, while a map may be necessary, it may not be easy to find.

Instead, we often have to make our own maps. At different points in our journey, there will be summits we want to reach, views we long to see, or trails that just seem interesting. To make it to these spots, we set goals , accepting that we may fail but knowing that there will always be another chance or a new view to aspire to see. Thus, even if we don't know where we are going, goals ensure that we will have a fulfilling and breathtaking adventure ending up there. How do we find these goals along the way though? 

Redefine Goal

Here's the thing. Most people have goals (even if they don't think about it with that terminology). A goal is simply something you want to do. Want to go on a road trip? That's a goal. The things that you want to see, do, and achieve in life have to be reached, and a goal is a practical way of creating a trail to get there. This often takes the form of smaller, less aggrandized goals.  For example,  to go on a road trip you may need to set a goal to save so much money which may mean you need to get a job. All of sudden you have a ton of goals. 

Pursue Your Passion(s)

Ask yourself what makes you happy and feel fulfilled? When do you feel most like your true self? Is it when you are drawing or writing, when you are babysitting your nephew, or when you are cooking a meal for you family? Do more of whatever you find that makes you feel truly human, and you will naturally develop goals. 

Take Opportunities

At the same time, sometimes opportunities fall into our lap that we had nothing to do with. We often fail to take advantage of opportunities because we think we know ourselves, or we are scared. Take every opportunity you are even remotely interested in, and you just might find some goals, a passion, and a calling. 


Think Big Picture

 If you are still having a hard time naming some goals, think of the bigger picture. What is it that you ultimately want in life? What type of person do you want to be? Maybe you really care about having a family or a fulfilling career. Maybe you want to travel the world, or you want to serve others. Once you have your big picture priorities in place, you are a lot closer to finding a path to wander on. 

Pray and Seek Wise Counsel

Lastly, seeking guidance from God and wise people in our lives can point us in the right direction. Sometimes we can't see our own gifts so asking those to whom we are the closest can be enlightening. 

In closing, remember: 

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
— C.S. Lewis

Nolie, the novice map-maker

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