Listen, I know it is a Friday, and we are in holiday hangover mode, and that I am stepping in a pile of blogging and religious poo by asking that thar question above, but it’s something that’s been nagging at me.
Are Life Lists unchristian?
More specifically, are having goals to better yourself unethical in a world where lots of people have barely anything to eat or drink, when homelessness and lack of affordable healthcare are problems in even the richest country in the world?
If you think about it, the human race is pretty self-absorbed. Racism might be the symptom of a greater disease. What I mean is, as a human I am flawed in that it is difficult for me to consider others before myself. It feels like I have to fight against this force, this current within me that, more often than not, wants to avoid serious issues and please myself, buy things for myself, feed myself, entertain myself, and all of that. All I’m saying is that if we, as a species, could fix our self-absorption, we could end a lot of pain in the world.(40-41)
So, there is that. Self-absorption. Goals are about being self-absorbed, about being, as the great Oprah puts it, “living your best life.” But what about other people’s lives? Are we really here to further only ourselves? I am constantly telling my five-year-old, who dawdles in the morning, “It’s not just about you! When you do something, it affects everyone here!” And sure, I’m talking about taking too long for a preschooler to go poop, but it also applies to life lists and goals. Are my goals considerate of others? Am I helping anything or anyone but the hungry little need monster inside of me that is my ego?
But when I think about my goals, I think, “But God put me on earth to do some of these things.” It took me a long, long time to reconcile with God that He wanted me to write. I am not always a fan of it. But I do think that’s what God wants me to do, and most of my goals are oriented towards that. But honestly, having a successful blog and publishing contracts and being financially self-sustaining as an author? It doesn’t feel like it’s going to help anyone but myself.
There is also the point that if I cannot help myself, then I may be no good to anyone else. Maybe the best thing to do is to better myself. But then, am I doing it with my goals? Are they meaningful and purposeful?
So I’m asking you: am I being unchristian? Are my goals like owning a pair of expensive flats*?
*And yes, I realize calling out other people’s life goals might be unchristian, too, so please feel free to address that as well. Part of me would like to hide from calling other people out, but the other part of me says very clearly, “But they put them out there!” So. I don’t know. I put mine out there too, and I don’t know if there’s anything very ethical about wanting to hike the Appalachian Trail. It might feed my Need Monster.