One of the conversations that sticks out most to me was with my brother about goals for the new year, several years ago. When talking about things I would like to do in the coming year, my brother asked me, "what does your week look like?" I responded, "I guess I work, I exercise sometimes, I cook, I hang out with friends..." and he said, "Well multiply that by 52 and that will be what you do this year."
That was a shocking reality check! I thought taking it a week at a time was fine, but when I realized that how each week is organized has a larger impact on the entire year, it made me rethink how I prioritize activities each week.
It's important to start in the big picture: What are your long-term goals? In other words:
What are God-given gifts and desires that you want to use for His service over a lifetime?
That could be a 50-year plan, obviously impossible to know what it will look like, but we can figure out what kind of skills need to be polished to work in that direction. I was motivated even more after our retreat this weekend, being encouraged to work fervently, purposefully, and diligently in all things. We can only work hard with a specific goal in mind, so what am I working for?
An ongoing tug on my heart since at least 10 years ago: the population is less than 1% Christian in Japan, so I want to share the joy and hope of knowing God. At the very least, so people will know God's love and can then decide what to do about it. So, considering the family life I was brought up in and the skills I have now, that desire plays out like this long-term:
Paint the history of Christianity in Japan
Teach kids Japanese language and culture
1. Paint the history of Christianity in Japan
What needs to be done?
- Know the history
- Improve painting skills
- Know western art history to reference
For me, this means:
- Study the history (--> I went to grad school)
- Keep painting (--> I'm blogging and painting)
- Know western art history to reference (keep looking at art books and going to museums)
- Keep painting with different media so that I can incorporate western techniques into my Japanese painting... which is where this comes in: working on large oil paintings.