We are all pursuing worthwhile goals. Here’s a list of just some of the general goals I’ve heard Christian women list recently.
Consistent prayer and Bible study
Improve family situations
Improve my marriage
At a minimum, we just want to see progress. Progress encourages us when we see it, and we’re definitely frustrated in its absence.
As we work toward achieving our goals, though, we often focus on the “How?” and the “What?” How can I improve? What needs changed? We too often fail to focus on the “Why?” In other words, what motivates and drives you toward that improvement and change?
Your “Why?” serves as a compass for achieving your goals. It’s the source of motivation and focus. And as we all know, focus determines reality.
As a Christian, knowing your “Why?” begins with focusing on your identity in Christ. When we’re motivated by — focused on — how Christ sees us, we discover an unending and unchangeable source of encouragement.
Our identity in Christ creates a “Why?” that serves to fulfill God’s will through us. Isn’t that what we ultimately want our goals to accomplish? Isn’t that at the heart of why we seek to continually improve?
Secure in our identity in Christ, we can move forward with a focus on progress over perfection. We can stay consistently motivated by obedience to our Lord, knowing we are accepted, secure and significant no matter what happens — or doesn’t happen — with our goals.
When Jesus is the root of our “Why?” we find the motivation and self control needed to make progress with the goals that fit within His will being accomplished through us. And as always, remember that this progress usually happens in small steps, and those steps add up over time to make a huge difference.
Many of us have set goals we want to accomplish in the next year. We’ve based them on what happened last year and on how we want the next year to be different. Hopefully, these goals were born during prayer and shaped by daily study of God’s word.
As we move forward in this new year, we’ll continually return to the goals we set. We’ll reestablish our focus on them, and we’ll recommit to them as needed. At least, that’s our intention.
While it’s good to make plans, to set goals, it’s also good, essential even, to leave God room to move within those goals. This may mean altering them in some way.
“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 4:14-15, NIV)
This verse shows us that making plans is good. It also indicates that turning those plans over to God is a part of the process too.
Our part in goal setting is to create goals based on what we believe God desires for our lives. Our part also involves then turning those goals over to God and letting Him direct our paths.
“A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], but the Lord directs his steps and establishes them.” (Proverbs 16:9, AMP)
Keep your goals in front of you. Then, keep your God in front of your goals. Let Him direct your path even if that means altering your goals. As you do this, your goals will turn into His will being accomplished through you.