Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
(Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)
Friend to Friend
Watching our daughter introduce solid foods to our grandson, Justus, was an intriguing process to watch. The faces he made when that new food was first placed in his little mouth were hilarious. When he liked the new food, his eyes got big and he grinned and made a big smacking sound as if to say, “Where have you been keeping this stuff?” However, a few foods elicited a very different reaction. He scrunched up his face, turned his head away, and promptly spat out the offending food. Danna quickly learned the art of mixing foods in a single bite. She also learned that the food Justus refused to eat on Thursday was often eagerly consumed the next time she tried. When it comes to goals, God only reveals what we can understand, perceive, apply, and digest at the time.
Attainable. Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”If you have seen the movie, “Miss Congeniality,” you will remember when each contestant was asked about life goals. “I want to achieve world peace” was the popular answer. World peace is a great goal, but not attainable by one person. Perhaps a better individual goal would be to make peace with your neighbor. Reaching a life goal requires action. We are called by God to not only hear His Word, but to put it into practice – to do something about it through setting goals.
When I was in college, I sensed God leading me to take organ lessons. I had played the piano for years, but suddenly had the desire to play the organ as well. After a few months of lessons, I was asked to play the organ for a countywide crusade to be held at the convention center of the small town where I grew up. I was terrified but began to practice the organ every spare minute of every day. By the time the crusade came, I was able to play each song that was handed to me. It was definitely “a God-thing.”
Realistic. Hebrews 11:6 “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”
It is easy to establish a goal that is totally unrealistic. In doing so, we are setting ourselves up to fail. I once set a goal to read and memorize at least two chapters of the Bible each week. It was a great goal, but it was also an unrealistic goal for that season of my life. I had two small children and was directing the women’s ministry of our church. I taught a community Bible study, had 20 voice and piano students each week, and was traveling and speaking for women’s events. When I did not reach that goal of memorizing two chapters of Scripture each week, I beat myself up with guilt. A more realistic goal would have been to memorize a few verses each week.
At this point, it is good to brutally examine motives. Are the goals I am setting from God, or are they from our own selfish desires? Consciously decide in light of Scripture which goals you will prioritize, or you will most likely end up surrendering to the tyranny of the urgent.
Timely. Ephesians 5:15-16 “Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity … “
Deadlines help me achieve my goals. When someone books me to speak for an event, I always ask them to give me a deadline for submitting handouts and slides, shipping resources, etc. I then record those deadlines on my personal calendar. If I don’t, I often find myself scrambling to get books shipped in time for the event or I have to download slides onto a memory stick to take with me to the event. If you give yourself a deadline, you will get more done.
Write out a list of things that would need to change in your life in order to reach your goals. Without having the ability to review goals regularly, we tend to lose our focus. Before we know it, a month or two has gone by, there is no progress, and we are frustrated that we are no closer to the realization of our goals.
Pray! Ask God to give you direction to create goals and help you reach them. He has a plan and purpose for our lives. Success and purpose come when we find out what they are and wholeheartedly go after them.
We need to order our lives in a more conscious way. Set forward-focused, spiritually sound goals, and be delivered from the futility and defeat of a life without purpose.
Father, I want to follow Your plan for my life. Please lead me and guide me in Your ways. Give me Your wisdom and truth and show me the purpose for which I was created. I will seek You first in my life. I will trust You with my whole heart and do whatever You ask me to do.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read and memorize Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
Record these verses in your journal.
Circle each action word.
In your own words, define the action words you circled.
How can you apply each directive to your daily life?
More from the Girlfriends
One of the most important parts of setting goals is bathing each goal in prayer. He is waiting. We just need to ask. If you struggle with understanding how to pray and how to hear the voice of God, I encourage you to get Chair Time, an E-Book written by Mary’s husband, Dan. It will absolutely change your life!