New Year’s Resolutions have become so cliché that most people really don’t take them very seriously anymore. Then again, how could they, when the exact same resolutions are being made year after year with no real expectation of achievement? I mean, seriously, if I say every year for 15 years that, “I am going to lose 20 pounds this year,” and I make absolutely no plans for how I’m going to do that, then how can I expect anything but failure? And, with every year of failure, I feel more and more defeated and unable to reach that goal.
Well, I am very happy to say that, while I definitely have made some resolutions for 2020, losing weight isn’t one of them. Yes, I have a few pounds that I’d really like to see gone. But, my main focus in life isn’t my weight (anymore). These past few years, I’ve begun to ask myself real questions about what I’d like to achieve. The funny thing is, when I really think about the mark that I’d like to make on the world with each passing year, the number on my scale isn’t the first thing that comes to my mind (anymore!!!).
So, in this blog, I’d like to talk to you about setting goals. Governments set goals, businesses set goals, sports teams set goals, churches set goals, organizations of all kinds set goals… shouldn’t I set goals? – Shouldn’t you?
A goal, simply put, is something that you want to accomplish within a certain amount of time—like a calendar year, for example. Both the calendar and your goals are extremely important because you need to know what you are running toward, what you are stretching for, and when you believe you should get there. Even though what you hope to achieve may take longer, at least by setting goals for the journey you give yourself measurable steps that you can take to move forward, and you can always make adjustments to your timeline. You do, however, have to have a timeline, a goal, in order to have any kind of a roadmap to get you where you’d like to go!
Oftentimes, long-term goals need short-term goals in order to help you meet the long-term goal. For example, to get a degree you need to finish one year of school at a time. The degree is the long-term goal, and it is reached by meeting the smaller goals of completing one class at a time. The same principle is true whether your long-term goal is money, health, relationships, personal, physical, spiritual… you have to take steps to get there. Sometimes, these are baby steps. But, even those move you forward!
The Bible has a lot to say about setting goals. God doesn’t want us to just live with the “whatever is going to happen, that’s what’s going to happen” attitude. No matter what you may think, or how discouraged you may feel right now, God has great plans for you, for your life. He will give you goals and show you how to reach them. No matter what your past looks like, when you submit your life to Him, He gives you the hope of a future that is worth reaching for and worth pressing toward in order to reach.
“Brethren, I do not regard myself
as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind and
reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal
for the prize of the
upward call of God
in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:13-14 (NASB)
There isn’t anyone who doesn’t have a call from the Lord on their life. That’s not the problem. The biggest issue that we have is the fact that we fail to seek Him and His will for our lives as the most important thing. We live in a culture that places value on certain things and makes us feel as if we aren’t succeeding if we don’t fit into the box that everyone else is trying to fit into. I mean, how could you possibly be considered successful without a bazillion followers on Instagram and gazillions of likes on your every Facebook post? Right?
“But seek ye first
the kingdom of God,
and his righteousness;
and all these things
shall be added unto you.”
Matthew 6:33 (KJV)
Here, Jesus is talking about a goal that we should all have. He does not say to seek this only, but He does say we are to seek it first. And then, when we have some kind of a vision for what His Kingdom looks like, I believe we gain a better vision for what our own lives are supposed to look like. We begin to see more clearly what God called us, individually, to do.
In the face of Pharaoh’s decree to kill all of the babies, Moses’ mother had the goal to keep her son alive. Just like that mother, I believe that we are tasked to protect our goals. PROTECT YOUR GOALS, PEOPLE! For, there are those who would seek to kill your dreams. Because, dreams, hopes, and goals are gifts from a loving God Who created you to succeed.
What are God’s goals for you? You’re never too old to set a new goal. Moses was 80 when God told him to go back to Egypt and set His people free—and boy did he ever give God excuses for why he couldn’t do it. His own low self-esteem made him believe that he wasn’t qualified for the job. But, God comforted his every fear and offered solutions for his every frailty. God had a contingency plan for every conceivable problem that Moses might encounter, because the only possible outcome with God is success! He also has those kinds of plans for you. He will strike and defend and provide for you too.
So, this year, set long-term goals. Then, set short-term goals that will take you there. When you have sought the will of God, and been given a vision for your life, don’t argue with God about it. Trust Him, and obey, and you will see miracles. Don’t be satisfied to try and just live a “regular” life. Make plans to get to the endgame you want to have.
I know, for myself, I can’t just do nothing. So, I am seeking Him first this year, I’m listening and planning my steps—even my baby steps—and I’m keeping my eyes on the goal.
How about you, do you have any thoughts you’d like to share? If so, please leave a comment below and…
Let’s Grow Together!