Today’s Truth

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

Friend to Friend

Every year, many people set new life goals in January. I believe Christians should be goal oriented.

Setting goals is not about what I want to do with my life as much as it is about what God wants to do in and through my life. Someone once said that goals are the “rudder of our lives, and God’s wisdom is the wind filling the sails.”

God has always had plans and set goals according to those plans.

God created the world with a plan in mind. Can you imagine the bedlam creation would have caused if God had not had a set plan and goal?

God does not ordain chaos. He is a God of order and peace – not confusion and turmoil. He wants us to live with purpose and joy, and that means we must learn how to plan and set goals that please Him and line up with His Word.

Fitzhugh Dodson said, “Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”

I have a friend who believes that setting goals is a worldly habit. She has no schedule, makes no plans, and sets no goals. Why? She says she wants to be free to do what God tells her to do. She prays before making the smallest decision such as whether or not she should go to work or church or clean her house and then goes with her feelings.

Prayer is definitely an essential part of setting life goals, but there are a couple of problems with her way of thinking.

First, she is basing the leadership of God on her feelings. We cannot always trust feelings because they are fickle and can easily change with each circumstance. If Jesus Christ had based His life on feelings, He would never have gone to the cross. In the garden, Jesus asked if “this cup could pass from Me” (Matthew 26). He did not feel like being crucified, but He knew it was God’s plan and purpose for His life – and so He chose to endure Calvary.

My friend also assumes that God does not lead us to plan or set goals. The Apostle Paul constantly made ministry plans. So did Jesus and His disciples. Jesus planned to go through Samaria where He met the woman at the well. Paul planned trips to the various churches he served. The Bible is filled with accounts of men and women who made plans as God led them.

I have another friend who religiously follows her daily list of things to do to the point that if it is not on the list, then it is not of God. Having a rigid and inflexible set of plans or goals is just as wrong as having no plans or goals at all. God gave us a mind and a heart to use in setting goals.

Only God is omniscient and has our tomorrows under control. Matthew 6:34 (NIV) says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” My friend who makes no plans and sets no goals uses this verse to substantiate her position – but the opposite is true. We do not have to worry about tomorrow because we are living out God’s plan and purpose reflected in our daily plans and goals.

Setting goals is serious business. We should not be so anxious about life that we make rigid plans beyond our capacity to keep, nor should we be so lazy that we make no plans at all. The balance is found when we truly seek God and His plan, and then step out in obedience to make our life goals a reality.

I know you have heard the statement, “If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.” If you want to be successful, seek God’s plans and goals for your life.

Let’s Pray

Father, I need Your direction and guidance in my life. I really want to do what You created me to do. Show me the steps I need to take in order to walk in obedience and faith, and then give me the strength to take those steps.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

What one goal have you set for 2022? If you have not set any goals, now is the time to do so.

More from the Girlfriends

Looking for help to have a daily quiet time? Check out Mary’s devotion books, Life is So Daily (Volumes 1 and 2). They will encourage and equip you to face each day with God’s power.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website. Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email at

© 2022 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.

11 Responses to “Just Stick to the Plan”

  1. Krystle says:

    I love how you worded it goals and not resolutions! Goals seem so much more achievable and realistic! I like to figure out a word or 2 sometimes for the New Year and set my goals around that! This year my word(s) is devoted/committed! I feel like they really go hand in hand! I want to be more devoted to the Word, to prayer, my family, my church, and my friends! So I’ve set goals to read my Bible more, listen to sermons or podcasts! I’ve even set some health goals to be committed to: drink more water daily, walk/exercise, get more rest at night, spend less time in social media!

  2. Tabitha says:

    Yes, to read more scriptures, and to put more focus on my self, health & happiness

  3. Brandy Richardson says:

    Morning! My overall goal is to obtain a better work/life balance. 2020 brought some changes in some areas which knocked me off kilter in other areas. I truly believe God wants us to have balance in our days, so I plan to do better at seeking Him first and walking out His plan over my own.

    I have a spiritual goal of listening to the Daily Audio Bible each morning which will take me through the bible in a year. I like it because you can read along as it plays and there is a journal section for notes each day. Best of all it tracks your progress which is great cause I like to have those visuals.

    I have a fun goal of learning German through the Duolingo language app. I’m a caregiver for a German woman who rarely gets to speak her native language except when she talks to her sister once a month. Her 82nd birthday is the end of this month, so my 1st goal is to learn to sing Happy Birthday as my gift to her.

    Lastly is to end the year healthier than when I started. I’m not setting lofty weight loss goals or adhering to ridiculous diet plan rules. My daily goal is to move more (thank you FitBit) and learn to listen to my body (not my feelings) when it comes to what and when I eat.

    I used to be a lister and would get uptight if everything I planned didn’t happen. Thankfully God has shown me another way. His ways are not our ways so when things don’t go according to my plan, I trust that He has something better.

  4. Carol says:

    Thank you so much Mary for this New Year’s wisdom!
    My “goals” are going to be an extension of faith building with I started working towards this past fall.
    I’m praying for more patience with myself and others.
    More mindful, intentional actions, deeds and words ( this is a biggie for me!);
    and being a better listener (especially with Jesus).
    Lastly, I’m following the advice of Galatians 6:2, “carry the burdens of others and by doing so, you will fulfill the law of Christ”. This one becomes the actions done, are about someone other than myself.
    Jeremiah 29:11, has been a lantern for me. I know that God wants us to have the best He can provide for us! We just have to have the faith, and desire to follow through.
    I’m praying for you & the GIGs writers, for continued Godly wisdom and inspirations in 2022!

  5. Mari says:

    My goals are to truly believe Him more. And live my life as one who really believes. To trust Him more. And to be able to step out in faith. I want to love more. I want to engage more. I want to listen more. I want to hear more. I want to smile more. Goals are important. Thank you for a wonderful devotion for today. I love the ones that make me stop and think, which is exactly what this one did.

  6. Krystle, thank you for your words of encouragement. I agree – goals are better than resolutions. God bless you as you seek Him!

  7. Tabitha, thank you for your note. Stand firm in your faith. God will honor your commitment to Him.

  8. Brandi, what great goals! You go, girl!

  9. Carol and Mari, thank you for sharing your goals! Great start to the year. God bless you both!

  10. Kathy says:

    Acceptance of Gods plan, acceptance of letting god have my plans, acceptance of failing knowing I am human and god accepts me as I am, I should too

  11. Pamela Burke says:

    I need to learn to trust God’s direction in all of my relationships.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8