So What About the Goals I Set?


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I don’t often do this.

While I’m always honest in sharing my heart here, I don’t always give all the details of my life. Usually, it doesn’t serve a purpose to talk about me apart from what I’m learning that may be helpful to others.

But this post is different.

On occasion I read back through my journals to see what God has done, how I’ve changed or where I still need work on something God’s been teaching me. This week I had some time to do that and found some words I had written that I felt God had spoken to me.

 

Words about goals, plans and schedules.

It seems so appropriate for this time of year when we’re all struggling to get a handle on our New Year’s resolutions or goals for the year. When maybe we wonder what we were thinking when we planned on that situation being accomplished or expected a particular thing to work according to plan.

Here’s what I believe God told me…

“Set a schedule, set goals, make plans, but let Me rule and lead you within that. Those things aren’t wrong, but they can’t consume you so that you forget your God first. So I will destroy your goals and plans and anything you set as more important than me – your marriage, life, children, business, books, job, etc.

When you can live intentionally while letting me direct you, you will find peace and success.

I want good for you. I have good for you, but I must be first and you must allow your goals and plans to fall or bow to me. I will restore you because I restore. I will provide because I provide. If you look to your goals and plans as security, it will come to nothing.

I know you try to put Me first. You give Me first fruits. You spend time with Me and in My presence. You ask for wisdom and for Me to lead you. All good – BUT then you look to your plans and despair if I lead you outside of them.

And you ignore Me when I speak. When I tell you what to do, you decide what you want instead or what you “feel” like doing or not doing. That is not letting Me lead you. When you disregard your plan for your own whims, that is not allowing Me to lead you either.

But if you are completely submitted and surrendered to Me, you don’t have to be afraid. I will lead you in ways that are good.”

My response?

I’m so sorry, Lord. Please forgive me. I feel my prideful heart rise up with objections. “I don’t.” “I’m not.” “I didn’t.” But the truth is clear and the fact that resentment comes means I’m doing exactly what you say I am.

When I don’t heed your lead, I’m lost indeed. 

The truth is, I can’t ask God to lead me and then question His leading and pull to do my own thing.

Goals and plans are good. Even God tells us to make plans. God is a planner. He planned for the temple with great precision. He gave plans to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. And He planned for his son, Jesus, to come to us to make a way for us to have relationship with him restored by his planned death and resurrection.

Now there’s a plan!

But God’s plans prevail. God makes our plans succeed. God is the one who goes ahead of us and behind – he was and is and is to come so he’s already been where we are and where we’re going. Why wouldn’t we ask him to clue us in and lead us in the best way?

I didn’t plan to write this today.

But God must believe that someone out there can be helped, blessed or encouraged by God’s words to me. So I’m going with his plan today.

From my heart to yours.

What are some ways you keep surrendered to God and focused on his plans?

What Are Your Next Steps?


Mt Hermon Canopy ToursWe’re well into the new year and everywhere we hear about people failing in their resolutions.

How discouraging is that?

It’s as if we expect to dive in for a few weeks and then abandon our resolve until next year. Setting ourselves up mentally for failure doesn’t seem like the best way to tackle the new year. I’d like to know my forward momentum will carry me…well, forward.

So what if our success isn’t so much about setting goals as it is setting our hearts in the right place?

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”    Psalm 73:26

How weak are our resolutions and will power? Pretty pitiful. But when we start with God as our focus, our steps will fall into place each day. Whether that is in our work, taking care of our bodies, changing our attitudes, or being a better parent.

We can set goals…

Or we can set our heart on God and let him direct our steps. Consider some of these wise words from Proverbs:

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” 19:21

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

“…a prudent man gives thought to his steps.” 14:15

I’m finding that when I wake each morning and ask God what he has for me today, he leads me through his word, circumstances, something a friend says, song lyrics, a nudge to my heart to do something or even whispered words in my head. And no amount of resolutions can top that.

I’m not saying goals are bad or wrong.

I believe in being intentional with our lives and goals are part of that. But I believe even more that God has the final word on what is best for my life and how best to bring good to others so by all means, we write down some goals for the year. But each day, asking him for direction fulfills more than just the resolutions.

Peace reigns in that place.

God reminds us in the Bible to “Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts… “(Col.3:15) and I’ve found that his peace rules when I seek him first and let him direct my steps each day. No matter what happens, if I’m focusing on him, it will end up being successful.

How are your resolutions coming?

 

 

Is It Worth It?


Today I share the words of a young scholar.

He wouldn’t call himself an author even though I am featuring him as such. As a matter of fact, English is his least favorite subject. He didn’t write the following for me, he wrote it to encourage a couple of friends. But when numerous people read it (on Snap Chat) and began responding with resounding thanks and “I needed that,” he showed me.

My featured author is my fourteen year old son, Blair, dsc_0031who composed this late at night in the shower taking a short break during a study session. But I’m not sharing this because he is my son. I’m sharing this because it shows that even at a young age we can consider what it means to take our lives forward. This is what my son was thinking about the other night when he was tired, wanting to be watching television, sleeping or playing a video game instead of studying.

“Is this really worth it? All this stressing? Is it really worth it?”

I really thought about it.  Yes, it is extremely worth it. We dream big. We set out goals way out of our reach to test us. And we make them. We want to go to a good college to get an education and play sports to prove something.

But it starts here.

With these late nights studying. We will go far because we set our goals way too far. We don’t want mediocre. We don’t want to be okay with where we are.

We want to be great.

We want to be completely and fully satisfied with where we end up. We can only do this with the power of God! Let him work in you and through you, and you will go far and accomplish your goals.

Blair’s friends were encouraged, he was encouraged and I hope you are too.

Don’t give up.

As we end the first month of this New Year, look at the steps you’ve already taken and applaud yourself. Even a baby, barely standing and reaching out a shaky foot to take a tiny step is celebrated.

  • Find your celebration.
  • Recalculate your direction and the steps needed to get you there.
  • Evaluate the good and the not so good. Set your goals out there so you have to reach.
  • Be great because God has greatness for you. He will strengthen you and uphold you.

Now go tackle the next eleven months.

Shared with permission. =)

10 Ways to Take Our Life into the New Year


Resolutions. Hard work. Expectations. Failure.107

Sometimes we feel like we have to work so hard to make life work or to be who we think others or even God requires us to be.

But it’s actually simple.

God’s done everything for us already. Psalm 104 & 105 reminds us that he set boundaries for waves, made mountains and every creature that dwells there. He’s given us plants for food and makes each thing suitable to the place he’s put it. He’s forgiven us and given us his spirit to help us live.

So what are we stressed about?

All we need to do is respond to his love and care for us.

Here’s 10 ways to do that:

  1. Give thanks to the Lord
  2. Call on his name
  3. Make known what he has done
  4. Sing praise to him
  5. Glory in his holy name
  6. Let your heart rejoice
  7. Seek the Lord – his face – get up close and personal with him
  8. Look to him for strength
  9. Remember the wonders he has done
  10. Shout for joy!

Not a hard list, is it?

Let’s try it for a couple of days and see if our day goes more smoothly. Or even try it every day for 1 week and see if you notice your days shifting to less stressed, more positive and happier. Try it for 3 weeks to make it a new habit.

I can’t wait to start.

Let me know how you’re doing by sharing your experiences here in the comments or by emailing me at laurabennet14@gmail.com

 

Let the New Year Begin!


Since we’re all about taking life forward, we’re ready to embrace the New Year, right?DSC_0033

I’ve posted mostly about our emotional and spiritual well-being, but something I read recently grabbed my attention, and I wanted to share it.

The article was in AARP magazine.

I know, the magazine for old folks. Don’t freak out. The information is great and appropriate for most ages. (You wish you were over 50!)

What I loved was that the article, Younger Next Year, adapted from the book by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D., with the same title, gave us great insight on how to live well.

It’s taking life forward physically.

Even if you haven’t crossed the 50 year line, starting now will put you in an even better place then. Following this team’s guidelines has helped millions and can help you too. They have 7 rules to stop aging that include exercise-both cardio and strength, living within your means, eating fresh food, and being committed and caring with others.

Clearly their plan also includes ideas to nurture your emotional life too which benefits us physically. None of us know when our time is up, but we can live the time we have to the fullest. Jesus said he came to give us an abundant life!

Now’s the time to evaluate where you want your life to be headed next year. You have choices for every area of your life. Each step leads in a direction that can take you where you want to end up.

God’s best is waiting for you.