Building Our House on Solid Rock: The Importance of Evaluation

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

I’m in the midst of writing a self-evaluation, part of the annual review of my work as your bishop. It’s always helpful, and often humbling, to take stock of all that has been done and left undone in reference to specific goals and larger aspirations with which one begins any significant undertaking. Later this month I’ll meet with a small group of diocesan leaders and receive the feedback they have gathered, and with them reflect on ways I might lead the diocese more effectively in the future.

I believe in evaluation, as challenging as it can be. For how else can we determine the fruits of our efforts and learn how we might improve? It’s also a bit daunting because life continues even as we try to take stock and consider the deeper purpose of all that we do. The pace of my schedule makes it relatively easy to avoid asking questions about the fruitfulness of my work and the constructive criticism from others.That’s why it’s important for me to make evaluation a process of accountability with those most impacted by work and in prayer, as I listen for God’s will in my life.

Someone posed a question this week that I’m still pondering: “If you could spend most of your time where you feel you could make the greatest contribution, where would that be?” That, in large measure, is what I pray the evaluation process can help me discern. How can I best serve Christ and the mission entrusted to us in the time I’m given as your bishop?

It’s not only in work where such evaluative questions are helpful. Our work does not fully define any of us. How and what are we doing spiritually, relationally, and as beloved children of God given but one life to live? How we fill our days is how we are living our lives.

If summer is a time that affords you a bit of breathing room, might you consider the same question: “If you could spend most of your time where you feel you could make the greatest contribution, where would that be?”

While there are many demands that feel beyond our control, surely there are ways for us to make small adjustments in the direction of greater fruitfulness and fewer regrets. I personally love the idea of striving to improve in life and work 5% a year–not big leaps, but small, cumulative steps. To that end, I pray that God will teach us all to number our days, that we might spend the precious time we’re given on what matters most.

 

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