Jan 21, 2015

Fresh Start // Goal Setting

I've struggled with goal setting in the past because I never fully understood how to approach it, or how to go about it.  I was caught somewhere between "trying to control my future" and "sitting back and letting God do all the work."  I think finding the perfect balance between these two is the perfect stance for goal setting.  But notice I said I was caught between them.  I didn't necessarily understand how to live out either one, which was good because I was sure I needed both.  But I didn't understand how to have both, or how to find the balance.  This generally led to two outcomes.  The first one being, not to make any goals at all and simply sit back waiting for God to make a move.  The second one consisting of me making ten-page long lists of things I would accomplish during the year only to cross off three or four things and leave myself feeling discouraged.

featured in the photo are some of Lara Casey's powersheets
a great place to start if you need guidance in God-centered goal setting

The balance is this.  You cannot set goals according to your own will, or they will surely fail.  And you cannot sit back wondering why God is not working in your life.  He calls us to do the work and he created each one of us for a purpose.  We have to make a plan and continually pray over that plan, all while leaving our heart open to God to make changes.

"Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'"  JAMES 4:13-15

This is the perfect description of how we should be approaching goal setting with humility.  If we are setting goals to build our own kingdom, establish riches for ourselves, or any other selfish reason, we are not setting goals with the right heart.  All of these things will perish.  The goals we set should be based on heavenly things such as relationships, serving God, and building His kingdom.  And we should plan for these things, yet have an open heart willing to accept change as He gives it to us.

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."  PROVERBS 16:9

In other words, we can makes plans, and dreams, and ideas but God will ultimately accomplish his sovereign desires.  We must leave margin for change and for the unexpected.  Our heart must be open for God to change our plans or our dreams.  But that doesn't mean we should be inactive.

If the goals we have set are being drenched in prayer and supported with scripture, we can know these are God-centered goals.  God knows our motives.  He knows the reasons in our heart for why we set out to accomplish these goals.  Proverbs 16:3 says "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."  This means making goals that are centered around Him, not earthly things or selfish desires.  And even so, we have to trust that if the goals do no see the results we expected, it's because he has something better in mind.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."  MATTHEW 6:33-34

We do not need to worry about tomorrow.  We simply must focus on Christ.

// Read: "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he was enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'"  Luke 14:28

// Listen: Be The Change by Shuree

// Pray: Father, I pray that you would be lord over my plans.  That I would approach these goals with humility and an open heart.  I pray to see completion of the goals that honor you and seek to build your kingdom.  Please help me to rid myself of selfish goals and plans that build my own kingdom instead of yours.  I pray that my heart would be open to change.  Your sovereign Will is above all else and guides the true desires of my heart.  Lord, please help me to be actively seeking to live out the purpose you have given me.  Thank you for giving me this purpose, and for the plans and actions you have entrusted me with.  All the glory to You.

This post is part of the Fresh Start series:  INTRO  //  rest   //   quiet time    //   contentment + gratitude   //   goal-setting   //   home   //   wardrobe   //   hair, skin, nails   //   work habits   //   friendship + fellowship    //   marriage   //   wellness

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