Every new year brings a new set of expectations. In efforts to achieve these desires, we set goals to pursue our wildest dreams. But is goal setting wise and healthy for us as Christian women?
For the Love of Goals
My husband Chris loves to set goals. Notebook after notebook is full of goal-setting, task lists and scheduled to-dos. I just like goal setting. I can get into it a little bit, putting my colorful and creative spin on the monotonous list of coveted annual accomplishments. I even daydream about how I’ll feel at the end of the year, at some fictitious award ceremony in mind, collecting hardware for Best Writer that Finally Published Her First Piece and Best Healthy Meal Planner on a Budget with a Family of Five and Less than 30 Minutes a Day to Cook Dinner.
Simple things really, these goals of mine are. So I participate. I write them down. I date them, even take them for a spin around the neighborhood.
And that’s where the good vibes tend to end. Because while I enjoy setting the goal, I loathe trying to achieve the goal, especially the arduous ones. Which, by the way, are the only ones I ever set.
Because small goals don’t excite me.
Big ones do.
The unrealistic ones beckon for me to give them a chance. The delusional ones desire for me to believe that they can and shall be completed. The impractical ones yell fiercely, “Give me life!”
I do it. I just give in to their ill-advised influence. I succumb to the initial goal setting pressure but fall short of the inevitable just do it duty.
I don’t accomplish these goals I set out to achieve.
Lord, help me.
Every time I set my sights on a lofty goal, I get smacked off that peak of ambition down to the valley of reality, free-falling full speed down the steep mountain that is my unresolved dream.
Easy as 1, 2, 3?
I wish these dreams of mine were effortless, accompanied by a set of easy to follow instructions like IKEA furniture. Just do these 38 super simple steps and you’ll get the perfect design you desire.
Well…at least that’s how it’s supposed to be, right?
I have goals that I want to achieve this year. Goals that I’ve set before but seemed too difficult to obtain. Goals that I desire to accomplish and have what I need to achieve them, but there’s this one thing that stands in the way.
I stand in my own way.
Guilty as Condemned
I often question my desire to accomplish these goals for writing, double checking to make sure that I don’t want to write for the applause of women but for the glory of God.
And when I do these standard self checks, I begin to feel guilty about thinking that this interest may be the real reason behind my desire.
Paralysis hits. I stop writing. A wall builds up. And writer’s block ensues. And I tumble down the mountain, where there for sure is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Or at least gulping of coffee ice cream and devouring of chocolate chip cookies.
Either way, I stall out on my dreams because I’m condemned by the atrocities of my flesh.
Setting goals isn’t evil or self-righteous, if done out of a heart to please God. The Lord clearly directed the prophet Habakkuk to write the vision down so that everyone could read it and understand it. Goal setting from this place can be exponentially beneficial.
But condemnation cannot.
Condemnation Checks Out Here
Before we set our goals, we have to check our hearts. We have to ask the tough questions about our dreams.
Am I doing this for the applause of others or for the glory of God?
Am I secure in my identity in Christ or am I searching for validation outside of Him?
Am I following the leading of the Holy Spirit or am I grieving Him, constantly going against what He advises and directs?
Am I doing this out of a heart of service or a heart of being self-serving?
Am I setting goals to gain the world or to build the Kingdom?
Am I setting goals to have the pride of life or the fruit of righteousness?
Am I setting goals from the desires of my Heavenly Father or from the demands of the my wicked flesh?
We must check ourselves before we wreck ourselves.
Going to God with our Goals
We have to list our goals and then offer them to God, asking Him, “Lord, here are my goals for this year. Are they pleasing to You? Are they in Your perfect will? If they are not, Lord, remove these desires from my heart, and replace them with the desires of Your heart for me. Let my heart be aligned to Your will, and may my goals be pleasing and acceptable in Your sight. In Christ’s name…Amen.”
My goals for 2018 with my writing are as follows…
1. To publish one free resource every quarter of 2018
2. To publish my first eBook by the third quarter of 2018
4. To publish consistently on the Revelations of an Heiress blog each week of 2018
5. To develop a community of sisters in Christ that engage with the blog’s content and its resources
Now why? Why do I have these goals?
I truly believe in my heart that this is the plan that God has for me, to impact my sisters in the faith through writing. And these goals were birthed out of a desire to do just that. I also believe that my gift of writing that He has graciously granted me has the purpose of yielding spiritual fruit, not only in myself but also in other women. Lastly, I believe that to bury this talent would be a disgrace to God and a disservice to His Kingdom. I have done it many times before, and it’s been one of my biggest regrets. Instead of drifting into the lackluster abyss of an idle life, I desire nothing more than to be used by God in the ways He sees fit.
Maybe that’s the real goal. The one true goal that we should all have.
Maybe the desire to be used by God is the goal of Christ? Maybe the desire to be used by God was the eternal fame that burned in Paul?
Maybe the desire to be used by God is the difference between the joy we experience and the pain we hold on to?
Whatever set of goals you have in mind for your year, seek to be used by God above all.
So get off the treadmill, put the habit tracker away, and evaluate your goals? What’s stopping you from achieving them? What does God have to say about the nature of your heart in relations to these goals?
As you do your self check, remember that as the old creation, we were perpetually evil. But as a new creation, we have the mind of Christ. His mind! We have a new heart of faith and humility and righteousness. Out of the abundance of our new hearts, we can be fruitful in the work God has set for us to do.
So what are your goals for this year? What desires has God birthed in you to pursue? And how is your heart postured to achieve them?
Share your revelations below.