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?

Do You Rely on Your Own Understanding?


IMG_3840Last week we talked about resolutions, goals and seeking God for direction.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

So how do we do that?

I see a few simple success guidelines here:

  1. Stop trying to figure things out. God sees and knows far beyond my capability so don’t rely on my understanding of things.
  2. Before I consider anything, acknowledge God and his wisdom first. Then ask him.
  3. Trust God with everything in me. Even when I’m uncertain about circumstances, I can KNOW that God is God and he’s in control. He’ll work it out.
  4. Believe that when I do the above, God will make every twisted thing turn out straight. Some situations can look pretty messy, but God sees a bigger view — like from on top of the maze we’re in.  Imagine him saying “go left, now right, okay five steps straight ahead” – you get the idea.

I believe God loves us and wants us to succeed.

Therefore, he’s wanting us to look to him, ask for his direction and follow him when he tells us which way to go.

For more on this, check out Pastor Kyle Jackson’s message here. I think he does a good job of explaining how to hear God when he’s directing us.

https://subsplash.com/nextlevelchurch/media/mi/+vvvbzf5

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?

 

 

Setting Up for Success


Here I am again on a Thursday realizing that I missed my self-imposed Wednesday posting deadline. What’s the deal?? Good thing this deadline isn’t a publisher deadline. Phew…but maybe if it was, I wouldn’t miss it. Ahh…there’s something to consider.

So, as I began to berate myself for my lack of consistency, I examined the reasons why I am so remiss at writing, when as we’ve already established, I love to write. It occurred to me, as I reviewed my day yesterday with it’s appointments, touch of illness, emergency trip to the dentist with my son and the completion of created Christmas gifts that needed to be shipped to Australia days ago, that I have actually been setting myself up for failure. Wednesday is my busiest day every week. It is the day that I end up at 11 p.m. longing to be in bed, but remembering that I’ve yet to produce my blog for the week. Ugh! Takes the joy right out of writing.

Changing my posting day seems like a simple enough answer. Especially since I’m the one who created the deadline in the first place! But, I find that a sense of failure looms over me. Isn’t that the way of it? I fail by not meeting a deadline, or I fail if I change the deadline to accommodate my schedule. The truth is that by doing the second, I set myself for success rather than for failure. Hmm…

In how many areas of my life do I set my self up for failure? Or do I set up for success? Do I do the same with others too? If I create positive, attainable boundaries that can be met, then success follows. Right? But if I expect myself to meet deadlines that can”t be obtained without great duress, I’m bound to fail. Goals=good; unrealistic expectations=not so good.

New posting day – Fridays. End of the week. Open day. Should be workable. What a set up for success!

A simple shift in perspective which means this post is actually early, not late.

Thank goodness.