Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that my interests are wide and varied. I love talking a good bit of theology. I love talking about youth ministry, which in my mind is one of the best places to create laboratories for theology. I love talking about cycling, which is where I go to get away from theology and youth ministry. I love talking the Penguins, though not so much lately. There are really all kinds of things that steal my attention.
Lately though I’ve been on this big kick of studying self-improvement. It started a while ago with the Youth Ministry Coaching Program, which if you haven’t signed up for yet you really really should. Spending time with Marko as well as with my own coach, I saw the massive amounts of potential to become a better version of myself. I don’t know that I’ve yet crossed the line into living the best version of myself yet, but I’m tracking that sucker down. I’ll catch him soon enough.
Lots of what I’ve been focused on is just pure productivity. I have now two podcasts, a few video series that haven’t been off the ground, a blog, a church blog, a youth group that needs constant teachings, the occasional sermon or worship service planning, and just for fun I have decided to go back to seminary for a certificate program (more on that later). In short: I have a lot of balls that I’m juggling right now, and being unproductive is not an option.
So I’ve been working on little steps along the way. I try my very best to limit when I answer e-mails and do other correspondence, because that tends to be a time suck that gets in the way of better goals. I really do my best to clean my desk each and every night before I go home, because coming in to work at a crowded workstation is demoralizing and deflating. I have been working on reading as much as I can to try to expand my mind, so that those teachings are sharper and I have more to say. I even have pre-described workflows for sermon writing and Bible study prep to make sure that I’m staying on track. I’m nowhere near a master of this, but I feel like if the current version of me met myself from 10 years ago, we’d see a drastic improvement.
And yet, I’ve found myself asking a question about self-improvement lately. It’s not that I’m against extra productivity, or healthier habits, or anything like that. My question that has been driving me is to ask what kind of person I’m becoming. If I’m a productive jerk, does that really add any value to the kingdom? If I can get my work done at an alarming rate, but I’m not there for my friends, what does that say about me?
And so here I am back at the beginning, thinking about theology. What exactly is the theology of self-improvement? What does it say when a noted and practiced sinner decides to make a change? Is that change even possible? What does Christ have to say about improving ourselves?
This is a topic I want to explore in a whole bunch more detail. But for now, what kind of person do you want to be? Who do you aspire to be?