These days I am engaged in an online course on effective teaching methods for kids. It includes child development, child psychology, teaching methods, modern techniques in education etc…etc. and there is lots to understand and learn about a child’s world. It’s one of my efforts to teach my highly active 1st grader in the easiest way possible and also understand his unique learning stages and needs.
In one of the modules related to elementary learning, I came across an interesting fact about the motives and goals students have for their academic achievement. It uses the examples of three students who have different achievement goals.
The first student finds the subject interesting and is passionate about learning and excelling in it. This goal is called the mastery goal.
The second student however, is concerned less about the subject than about getting top marks on the exams and in the course. Here’s a performance-oriented goal because he is focused primarily on looking successful. Learning about the subject is merely a medium for performing well in the eyes of peers and teachers.
And the third student is primarily concerned about avoiding poor or failing marks. Here’s a failure-avoidance goal because he is not really as concerned about learning the subject, as the first student is, or about competitive success, he is simply planning to avoid failure.
As I moved on to read and understand about these goals and their outcomes further, a thought stuck me…..
At some point in our lives we often choose these goals in relation to our call.
The moment we dedicate our lives for God’s service and decide to live for Him and share His love with the world, we are so passionate and genuinely zealous to know Him more. We simply want to pursue Him out of our love and enthusiasm. We are like the first student who is willing to learn the subject out of interest and passion.
But as years go by and we don’t see our lives bearing as much fruits as we wished when we answered the alter call, we become more like the performance–oriented student, who isn’t concern more about the subject but getting a higher score to look successful in the eyes of peers and teachers. We want to keep up with others, maintain the work updates on social media and want to serve God not out of passion or love for Him but out mere performance.
By doing so, eventually we lose sight of our passion, our purpose and the very meaning of our existence in the midst of comparing our success with others which further results in the failure–avoidance goal; like the third student who is only concern about avoiding poor or failing marks. We begin to do the mission God called us for, out of the failure–avoidance goal. We don’t feel the passion anymore, we can’t measure up with others and we don’t want to look like a failure in the eyes of others. So we begin to live with a vacuum in our heart not knowing which way to go.
Can you relate?
Here’s the question!
But, what kind of achievement goal or success does God want us to have when we work for His kingdom?
God is more concern about what we become in Him than what we do for Him. He defines success by our obedience to His purpose for our lives and our willingness to do His work in His way. Success doesn’t mean how much you have achieved compared to others, but it simply means how much you have achieved compared to what you are called to achieve.
He wants us to seek Him passionately and know His heart. He wants us to genuinely feel the pain and the burden He feels for the perishing world. He wants us to get our focus and goals in His direction. He wants us to seek Him for what He wants us to be and not what we want to become.
Often times, we shift our focus from His ways of success to the world’s way of success. We strive harder, want to look successful among our friends, family and society and want to achieve the goals of our Calling in our way. Eventually we become less concern about what God wants from us and more concern about how we can measure up with others.
……and as I read about the outcomes of the different achievement goals the students had, the mastery goal resulted in excelling and deep-understanding of the subject, the performance-oriented goal resulted in failure to understand the subject well, and the failure-avoidance goal resulted in failing in the subject due to less interest and inadequate knowledge.
What is your goal of success in His kingdom work?
Do you want to know Him deeply, seek Him passionately and excel in your calling or do you want to work in His kingdom out of performance-oriented and failure-avoidance goals?
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the PRIZE.” 1 Corinthians 9:24